Design in society: Residential Areas

Coventry City Centre, aerial view

The layouts of residential buildings such as apartments and houses are designed in ways that create comfortable environments where the residents feel safe and protected from the outside of the residential complex.

Apartment complexes are arranged in a zigzagging pattern so that a foreign observer is unable to see all buildings at once from one perspective. This disadvantage of an outsider to survey the whole apartment complex creates a sense of security of the residents. In Davis, CA many apartment complexes are arranged in this manner. Pinon’s apartment complex, for example, is arranged in an asymmetrical matter. Buildings are randomly clustered so that a stranger unfamiliar with the complex cannot easily navigate this residential area. Although some buildings share the same wall, each building is given a fence surrounding bottom floor of the two-story building, accentuating the privacy of the resident. Temescal, another apartment in Davis, exhibits this same layout. Winding paths surround the apartment complex as well as a plethora of trees which blocks an outsider’s view of the complex.

Houses along particular streets are positioned in a similar manner. One house is often built close to another and they are located relatively far from commercial offices or large streets. If a house is built next to a street where many cars travel fast (it sometimes happens), the resident would not feel as comfortable as he or she would in a secluded area. The noise and pollution created by the traffic, along the sense of being observed by an indeterminate crowd stirs anxiety. Houses that are distant from potentially public places also give the residents a sense of privacy and convenience. Residents are also given the opportunity to communicate with their neighbors since houses are built closely, encouraging a tighter community. A sense of kinship is created by clustering buildings with the same purpose, in this case, supporting and protecting homes. The residents feel stronger bonds with each other and feel safer.

The desire for a protecting and private living space is naturally desired by all people to some degree. The frequent, complicated design of residential areas is beneficial to people who want a comfortable home.


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