Re: Re: What future for housing estates?

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Frank Taylor

@Graham Hickey wrote:

Frank you make a good point about communities fragmenting in housing estates, but then this is the case across the board if not more so with apartment living and higher density developments. Just the way people are nowadays.

You’re right, high density developments do not, on their own, lead to a greater sense of community and rural townlands can be very close-knit. However, I don’t agree that people have changed and become inherently more atomic. I believe the change in behaviour has come about as a result of higher levels of car ownership. With the car

  • there’s no need to shop or go to school locally – so you don’t meet your neighbours in the shops or through your kids’ friends’ parents
  • You meet nobody by chance during your journey so no catching up with your neighbours on the street
  • you have little sense of attachment to your area, it’s just somewhere you live off the N4

These things are not all bad: schools now compete over a far greater catchment area, ALDI and LIDL bring us low prices and too much community is a bad thing when your neighbourhood resembles Coronation Street where everyone’s ugly and nobody swears.

The county development plans are now starting to recommend architecture that ‘promotes a sense of community’. How is anyone interpreting this? You can’t and wouldn’t want to stop people owning cars, but you might design a suburb in a fashion that made car use very unattractive for short journeys or trips into town.

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