Pocket Neighborhoods” Author Ross Chapin to Speak in Asheville

Sorry for the short notice, I get these up as soon as I can!

Author of the book Pocket Neighborhoods, Ross Chapin, will host a workshop in Asheville, North Carolina on November 5, 2012 at the Lord Auditorium in the Pack Memorial Library located at 67 Haywood Street in downtown Asheville.

On his website Chapin describes pocket neighborhoods as, “clustered groups of neighboring houses or apartments gathered around a shared open space — a garden courtyard, a pedestrian street, a series of joined backyards, or a reclaimed alley — all of which have a clear sense of territory and shared stewardship. They can be in urban, suburban or rural areas.

These are settings where nearby neighbors can easily know one another, where empty nesters and single householders with far-flung families can find friendship or a helping hand nearby, and where children can have shirttail aunties and uncles just beyond their front gate.”

During this workshop, Chapin will offer a presentation on this topic for professionals and the general public, sharing stories of communities from around the world, their historic precedents, and the key design principles that give them vitality.

To get all the information visit the Local Plan website. http://www.localplan.org/2012/10/pocket-neighborhoods-author-ross-chapin.html

Ross Chapin

13 thoughts on “Pocket Neighborhoods” Author Ross Chapin to Speak in Asheville”

  1. Every time I see a huge lot waiting for yet another cluster of condo towers I wish something like this could go in instead. Curse those high land prices!

  2. A friend of mine lives in an in-town neighborhood in Atlanta with this setup. An entire city block is setup with a shared greenspace of at least an acre that they use for volleyball, picnics a shared garden depending on season. It is really amazing and at the cost of a few hundred square feet per lot. Here’s a google maps view of the area: http://goo.gl/maps/EU2V3 zoom out to see just how dense and urban the area is around it.

  3. A small house clustered pocket neighborhood would be amazing. Have to say that we have something (along those lines) here in our townhouse community in suburbia, when we’re not at the homestead cabin. It’s a 2 court community with a shared pond for fishing, reading at the gazebo, visiting with neighbors. We have a playground, huge picnic area (where community potlucks can be hosted) and nature trail that also has exercise stations. Last night, for trick or treating, our small group of friends/neighbors snowballed into about 30 or more. We ended up at another neighbor’s house that hosted the open house potluck with trays of food and desserts, soft drinks, many of the retired neighbors brought a chair out and had their own candy station for the kids, neighbors were encouraged to make a plate of food, grab a soda, sit and visit, introduce themselves to neighbors. It’s a much different lifestyle from our homestead with family members, which we also enjoy. We have a sincere appreciation for both worlds! However, there’s something extra special about having that sense of community, through smaller, close knit neighbors. In the end, it’s not the type of housing that matters.. but the people that reside in them that ultimately make it that ‘community’ Great write up and in the picture that he shared, it slightly reminds me of my uncle’s brownstone with courtyard in D.C. where everyone congregates in the courtyard, cooking out, feasting, visiting! They’re not single family yet the concept is very much similar to that photo. 🙂

  4. I’ve been a huge fan of Ross Chapin and his thoughtful, eminently liveable design for a long time. But make no mistake – this is the luxury end of the small house spectrum. Even just a few years ago, many of his simpler design resales started at 300K and went north quickly from there. These prices are certainly justified when you see the quality workmenship and materials, but since one of the attractions of tiny homes is the reduction of living costs, the actual pool of potential buyers has to be fairly limited. But, oh to dream!!!

  5. I have his book and love all of his designs. It’s a great idea and I wish more of us were capable of stretching our imaginations and implementing them ourselves.

  6. I will keep looking for some housing arrangement similar to this on in Ohio, NE or Columbus area, but for now I will be content in our older suburban neighborhood…friendly, cozy, old enough to have personality & we look after one another. Ohio has great seasons, no major weather problems & a large “mature” population…I wonder why this trend hasn’t taken off here.

  7. Is there a website available where I might look at a schedule. Way out here in Portland, Or., we have some similar community living projects. But this seems even better.

  8. This is an open letter to all who contribute to this blog. I could use your guidance, knowledge, expertise, and critique. I have a “vision” and a “mission” of what I want to accomplish and I don’t know where or how to begin.

    My Vision:

    A world in which home, land, and life are in balance for people to live a luxuriously simple and meaningful life

    My Mission:

    I want to create beautiful, safe, stable, secure, green, self-sustaining housing in a community land trust where mortgage-free 200 square foot to 800 square foot LEED certified homes are located in well-designed pocket neighborhoods creating a feeling of comfort, nourishment, stability, security, and stewardship of the home and land.

    The people I want to help:

    People who’ve lost their homes due to insurmountable medical bills.

    I believe a home is not an asset to build equity or an ATM machine to pay bills. Land is not a commodity to trade, sell, use, and abuse; land is for laying down roots for food and shelter; for beauty and harvest. Land is for people who want to plant a small footprint.

    I work in an environment where I’m able to see the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets from cameras placed throughout Southern California. The view is from above, and the ability to zoom in and out creates a disparate view of beauty (the natural environment) and the beast (a.k.a. the asphalt jungle of roads, highways, buildings, and cars.) There are several “planned” communities to alleviate the haphazard development in many parts of the state. As I travel through my own neighborhood I see buildings that “just don’t fit” and are “out of scale.” These “planned communities” are developed to alleviate this problem but many are “mis-planned” as they have a very sterile feel about them; as if they are too planned. These communities aren’t developed to experience life in balance. My ultimate goal is to take homes out of the hands of the banks; where housing is no longer a “commodity” or “market” but a place to live.

    I would like to create neighborhoods and communities where people don’t look at land as an investment to make money but are connected to it in a primal way as nourishment; where a home is viewed not as a money-maker but a place to lay down roots; where people can maintain a serene lifestyle, not a place to spend the rest of your life maintaining; where you have the freedom to make decisions based on what will make you happy; where you are able to find meaning and fulfillment in your work as the cost of living won’t be outpacing your earnings; where you will always have a home in spite of your circumstances. As of 2007, 62 percent of bankruptcies are due to medically insured people whose bills have outpaced their ability to pay. It’s worse now. What recommendations do you have for me to fulfill my vision and mission? Where should I begin? What direction should I take?

  9. I’m a senior who has lived in this home since it was built in 1975. After being flooded out in a flashflood on Onion Creek in Nov 1974 (similar to current news) we miraculously were able to purchase this new home. My husband died unexpectedly at age 32 exactly 2 years after the flood and four months before our third daughter was born. I have been fortunate (I think blessed) to have been able to stay in our home, raise our three daughters, and even provide a final home for my mother and my grandmother. Yes, five generations have lived in this house. After being retired for 10 years from the state, I am at a point that the taxes on this property are forcing me out. I wonder how many older people on limited, fixed incomes have had to sell out because the cost of their property taxes have forced them out? Your dream of a place to put down roots was mine and I think we achieved it, but now that I am alone, the appraisal district continues to raise the assessment on my home and hence the taxes keep going up. When we first bought our home (for $42,500 in 1975) our total PITI was $326/month, just slightly less than my monthly salary from the State of Texas! (Everything is relative, right?) But because of the popularity and promotion of the area in which I live, my taxes alone are now $800+/month. And the city just passed a multi-million dollar bond for “affordable housing” which I doubt will do little to help those in my similar circumstances.
    For many years I have considered the advantages of “pocket neighborhoods” or “garden communities” but have not been able to find any around here. Instead the developers continue to build McMansions and condo-high rises. Although my lot is large enough to add a tiny house or two in the back yard, our neighborhood forbids it. It does seem that all is oriented to making money…ironic since money cannot buy happiness, peace, or love. Best wishes in your endeavors. You might want to write a letter to Pres. Jimmy Carter and get his advice. 🙂


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