Matching Physical Diversity with Human Diversity
We are convinced that to live well, the richness, depth and diversity of the human community must be supported by an equally rich, deep and diverse built environment. Our team identified an apparent mismatch between the existing built environment in Sherman Park and the current community that inhabits it. To determine the “Vital Signs” of Community, we first conducted a simple land use analysis for the blocks surrounding the Jackie Robinson Middle School site.
The existing context around the site was determined to be:
- Green Space: 37% (Almost entirely private yards)
- Automobile: 30%
- Buildings: 23%
- Pedestrian: 10% (Exclusively public sidewalks)
This breakdown is an indicator of an unsupportive built environment that is both automobile-dominated and virtually devoid of common public space other than narrow sidewalks. Second, we took the graphic patterns of the existing land use and looked at them in terms of properties exhibited by living systems, particularly the property named “Levels of Scale” which encourages a balanced range of sizes for spaces and buildings. These two ways of examining existing conditions formed the basis for our solution.
Along Fond du Lac, we developed a garden space on one corner and a retail space at the other to attenuate the corners and announce to vehicle drivers that something’s changing. We suggested the introduction of a public walking space to bridge across Fond du Lac and the creation of on-street parking to support the retail. In order to match the diversity of the senior community as well as the entire community, we stretched the range of housing types available on the site from a 300 square foot hotel room to a larger apartment to a single family floor plan. A co-housing situation for elders is offered for those who choose to live within a large group of people and share meals and support.