Gradient Strategies: Reconciling the Public and Private Realms in Suburbia
Last century saw significant changes in the way we occupy land for living. Technological advances in individual and mass transportation has both extended city peripheries and effectively claimed the suburban public realm for the automobile. Analysis of historical residential development models reveals that our traditional neighbourhood characteristics and qualities have deteriorated as a direct result of this shift. The urban expansion and resultant neglected street environments are two imperatives for change which lead to the core focus of this research; the reconciliation of the public and private realms within suburbia. A holistic approach to design recognises the benefits of considering community and individual needs simultaneously. This is reflected in the design of a residential subdivision seeking alternative street patterns and use hierarchies, both aimed at stimulating the public realm. Under this premise a robust place-based perception of ‘community’ is important to the idealised functional operation of the public suburban street requiring an effort from the entirely private domain of the suburban house. A graduated transition from public to private is the means used to mediate the pre-existing tension. Through the acquisition of a series of strategies a gradient between public and private is achieved to successfully facilitate and manage the connection to the street from within the house. Thus, the urban responsibility of housing is realised and addressed allowing the private house dweller to participate in the activation of the suburban street.