A followup on the SimpleTwig article ‘Time, Not Distance, Determines Development of Cities‘ we need to take a moment to review the existing density of New York City, as an example to show that people reside in the area that physically puts them closer to where they work, in this case Manhattan. While this is probably obvious to most, one can not assume everyone understands the organic growth of cities.
While it would be nice for everyone to live and fit in Manhattan, or for that matter in a location that has a view of it’s beautiful skyline, it isn’t always possible given the cost of property, and, the lack of availability of housing stock. This means, with an ever growing population, alternatives must be addressed.
Time, that is the time it takes to travel to a job, determines where people focus on in their search for a place to live. Thus a city like New York City has it’s own CBD (Central Business Districts) of Midtown and Downtown, with extensions on the upper East/West Sides and infill throughout, along with growing CBD developments along the river banks of the Hudson and East Rivers, especially with regards to Newark, NJ and Downtown Brooklyn, NY.
When it comes to choices for a residence, there is a curve of acceptable ‘time to commute’ for a particular job. Those on the outskirts of this curve might travel 2 or 3 hours each way, not because they want to but only as a necessary evil in their life to pursue their own interest and priorities. This is why the current commuter system fails, in that providing express service is just not enough to harness the potential of land just beyond the more acceptable half-hour commute, and why there needs to be ‘super express’ service to new core areas to help increase housing and opportunities while providing the ‘time connection’ people demand for their daily lives.
We all love to see images of luxury homes, don’t we? But what about the other 98% of the human population? What kind of world do they live in? There has to be better minimum acceptable livable habitation requirements for the modern adult, to help them succeed in life. This can be accomplished with the right home programming, ensuring that the inhabitant’s needs are met in an efficient function environment that also raises their ‘positive spirit.’
There are so many different configurations for bedrooms and their associated closets, often the context in which they lie dictates its ultimate layout and size, but what if one looks at each element alone to establish what the smallest bedroom dimensions should be, that is, comfortable in size for a typical adult, to help establish a minimum guideline Architects, Developers and Home Owners should achieve as a minimum when programming a dwelling design.
This type of analysis is fundamental to dwelling design especially related to basic urban dwellings in townhouses, renovations of suburban homes, apartments, condos, co-ops or even designing layouts for housing projects if one cares enough about those who may have to occupy the space provided. This analysis is what Architect Nick Buccalo of SimpleTwig Architecture sets out to do with regards to two basic components of the dwelling, a bedroom and its closet. Future articles will address other programming requirements of dwelling, programming refers here to the basic room names one knows and how those rooms relate to one another.
For this study, we assume the requirements for one adult, which, as adults we all know or hope, the rooms are flexible enough to accommodate two people.
We’re working on a new prototype residential dwelling. It is a single family dwelling, defined as having one kitchen. Attached to the core kitchen and living area are several sub-living/bedroom suites.
The suites have everything anyone would want in an ideal apartment including a full bath, a large living/sleeping area (open concept), plenty of closets, and a private entrance. The pods, consisting of two floors, provides the upper unit with a private roof top terrace while the ground floor unit has their own yard.
It isn’t enough to talk about buildings, or streetscapes, or general urban planning directions to achieve success. One has to understand that it is imperative to provide opportunity and positive attitudes in Newburgh in order to attract ‘new money’ and investment in the community, ideally translating into new residents who can help sustain the economic minimums for individual households and thus result in new sales and property tax income for the city. Without a change of attitude especially with regards to violent crime including burglary (which undermines a sense of security) people will not feel safe and thus will not risk their own lives to live in Newburgh. This isn’t to say Newburgh isn’t filled with so many wonderful people, festivals, events and even a symphony. It’s to say that the urbanism of the CBD is clearly suffering and needs the kind of focus to make the kind of change happen that will help those who feel stuck in what is sometimes referred to the Newburgh slums. References to ‘slums’ must stop, and those who use the term should be informed to understand how it is doing more harm to families living in those communities than doing good for the sense of ‘coolness’.
There are nice looking buildings, and unfortunately ugly ones. The ramifications for creating an ugly building means that communities have to live with the results for decades. This simple fact distinguishes Architecture from other professions where a product can be used for a much shorter period of time and then discarded. Because of the financial investment in building, being careful on what you allow to be built is critical to a building’s life and community.
Here’s an example of a horrible developer and designer, who was probably a structural engineer or a very unskilled architect. One can just read this residential building and hear the conversation. “Keep it as cheap as possible, but lets add balconies to be a feature that will get people to purchase the units.
This townhouse renovation project in Brooklyn, NY is for a young couple with a need to secure their financial future, and, start a family. With this in mind, SimpleTwig suggested creating two rental apartments in addition to their Owner occupied unit. This would allow them to maximize extra income into their savings, giving them the option of combining units in the future when their family expanded.