Urban Villages are great inside buildings too.
Urban Villages is a network of small community groupings, each defined by an accessible center and a permeable boundary. Smaller than a neighborhood and larger than a street, an Urban Village contains a varying number of occupants between 200 and 500. Importantly Urban Villages are designed to support informal interactions between residents, which instigates and self-organizes the distinct co-evolutionary character of each unique Village.
Frequent interactions increase the emergence of civility and cooperation in Urban Villages.
Urban Villages function as an informal administrative unit providing camaraderie, relaxation, home base, and collective power. The Village Center is a recognizable place where repetitive interactions occur, supported by access to goods and transportation. Financial incentives and safety concerns specify a permeable boundary of any particular Village. Networked together with other Urban Villages, new digital management tools are used to coordinate political power, finances, security, maintenance, and unexpected common needs and issues.
For Houston's dynamic economy, Urban Villages would be larger than the section shown above, with multiple Urban Villages inside large high-rises.
These kinds of social places are increasingly relevant in today's corporatized, including corporate non-government organizations, operating environment. Last century’s City Planning strategies eliminated this administrative unit through the practice of Zoning-by-Function. Small-scale, mixed-function facilities were corporatized into more efficient structures: Mom&Pop’s corner store gave way to Digitized super-markets. Some efficiencies were excellent, however social norms have deteriorated. Urban Villages are designed to foster small-scaled and low-risk exchanges that allow for informal behaviors between freely acting residents.
Urban Villages inside large buildings might have cafes and small customer service shops. Gardens might have productive greenhouse functions or be purely aesthetic sky gardens.
Networked together, Urban Villages are able to coordinate ecosystems of different aspects of urban life. Urban Villages have the potential to upgrade political power, educational quality, business opportunities, and the quality of the environment in which people live. New digital administrative tools are great, yet many interactions remain informal, and informality is a necessary element of emerging forms of civility. Therefore, physical space contributes effectively to the success of Urban Villages. In higher density environments, such as those with access to Houston’s infiniteTransit Flyway, buildings themselves will have many Urban Villages with associated social spaces, facilitating community administration.
Some buildings might have public sky gardens.
Four ways infiniteTransit creates social Places:
Urban Villages have the potential to bring civility back into large urban metropolises.
Animate has been working to integrate the life breathing knowledge of Agricultural Cities into the creative social and cultural activities of social places since the 1990s. It is good to see more urban thinkers embracing Countryside energies:
"... a conceptual dissolution of the countryside-city divide"
"... as a thinking model for an architecture that fosters community... and new forms of love, education, and production."