Do you want this in your neighborhood?

dwell_house.jpgIn response to my call for neighborly modern home architecture, Scott rises to the challenge.

He points us to an article and photos in Dwell Magazine which discusses this house built in a distressed neighborhood in Dayton, Ohio.

The builders of the home were warmly welcomed:

Luckily for the couple, there weren’t any stringent codes or angry neighbors with which to contend. “Dayton has some great older areas downtown that are strong historic districts,” maintains Mary Rogero. “But this was a very nondescript neighborhood, so it was easy to tweak the design in a direction that paves the way for modern homes to come in.”

But how would this go over in Fort Wayne? Would your neighborhood welcome such an addition to your neighborhood? I really think my neighbors wouldn’t blink at such a design, but would only be thankful that something new was being built. Tell me about yours.

The house of the past’s future

While we await some architects to respond to the last post and show off some neighbor-friendly modern housing that’s isn’t a throwback to the Victorian era, here’s an idea from the past — the 1971 fab prefab Venturo.

The advertising pitch, from Treehugger.com:

“A lake, land and sea, a beautiful valley, incomparably compatible settings for your individualized Venturo. This is real vacation living — and you get it instantly, maintenance free because Venturo’s exteriors are in fibreglass, anodized aluminum and glass.”

 

Plop one of these babies into West Central, and you’ll have the most popular fondue parties on the block. Read the groovy post over at treehugger.com.

Must New Urbanism look old?

Neal makes a valid point regarding my post, “New Urbanism blooming in Bloomington”:

A neat development in a neat town, but the main problem is that the new houses are old-fashioned looking. What part of “New Urbanism” says it has to look like the thirties?

I know the looks are a response to what suburban building looks like currently, but there is another direction you can take this in — new designs. I would be a lot more attracted to something more fresh looking.

Here’s some housing that’s definitely “fresh,” from useful + agreeable magazine:

uahouse1.jpg

But maybe an architect friend or two can point out some other modern designs that would work in an older neighborhood?

‘Good men are public blessings’

There is no such thing as piety that is only private. The following verse is from our public confession at church this morning:

“By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is overthrown.” Proverbs 11:11 ESV

If the upright remain hidden behind closed doors in a life lived only in a small, safe sanitized haven, then of course the city is not exalted. Matthew Henry, in his commentary on this verse, says, “Good men are public blessings.” (emphasis mine) Henry mentions three ways in which this is true:

  • God blesses the Christian: “By the blessings with which they are blessed, which enlarge their sphere of usefulness.”
  • The Christian blesses the neighbor: “By the blessings with which they bless their neighbours, their advice, their example, their prayers, and all the instances of their serviceableness to the public interest.”
  • And God blesses the neighbor: “By the blessings with which God blesses others for their sake.”

The result? “The city is exalted and made more comfortable to the inhabitants, and more considerable among its neighbours.”

If Fort Wayne, “The City of Churches,” is not in some way “exalted,” the wicked are not the ones to blame. Fort Wayne Christians must encourage one another to be good to our city, by blessing our neighbors. And in return, God promises to exalt our city.

New Urbanism blooms in Bloomington

 

A big hat tip to Urban Indy for this:

As a new development in central Bloomington shows, New Urbanism in many ways is just the old urbanism. This is from a story in the Indianapolis Business Journal about how new housing is being built to blend in with the existing neighborhood around it:

“The term New Urbanism is kind of absurd. It’s old living,” said resident Beth Schroeder, 54, who moved to the neighborhood with her husband from rural Monroe County. “It’s how most people lived until the sprawl of the fifties. It’s retro. We’re just getting back to what we know was good.”

I can understand how New Urbanism can get some knocks for being rather utopian. But what you can’t knock is the care this particular New Urbanist developer had for his neighbors:

(Developer Matt) Press held a series of meetings at a nearby elementary school to explain New Urbanism. It wasn’t until getting feedback from neighborhood residents that he and his architects sketched out the development plan. That he won the support of surrounding property owners spoke loudly to city officials.

“He had a core group of residents who were lobbying and actively engaging the city on the developer’s behalf,” said city Planning Director Tom Micuda. “Which just doesn’t happen in our profession.”

When it’s explained, New Urbanism makes a lot of sense to a good number of potential home buyers.

The real obstacles in Bloomington, and many other cities, were suburban-style zoning requirements that were relaxed and rewritten and suburban-oriented bankers who had to be convinced that such a project is financially feasible.

Read the story here and check out the slideshow of 10 photos.