How architecture and design transform communities (people focused)

July 07, 2017

 How does architecture and design help to transform communities?  What do we mean when we talk about community? If these are questions that you have, lets discuss further.

When we talk about community there are several things that come to mind.  It can mean the industry we work in, the people we surround ourselves with, the city or town in which we live, work, and play and the people within it.  The common denominator for me in the "community" conversation revolves around people.  People make up communities, they make up the tribes in which we choose to live our lives.  

So when we talk about how  architecture and design help to transform communities, we are really talking about how they help to transform people and their experience.  Here are three examples of how this all comes together to make a difference.

Bringing life back to abandoned mills and converting them into mixed income housing developments, allows cities and towns toCapewell Lofts, Mill Conversion, Crosskey Architects increase their grand list. This helps to impact the overall economic development efforts of the municipality.  These positive economic results eventually make their way to the people of the town, through services offered by the municipality.  Additionally, mill conversions bring people of all different communities together, as well as, forming new relationships and new communities within the larger one.  The adaptive reuse projects are the fruits of complicated architecture and innovative design. This is necessary to truly transform and develop the new spaces that serve as a tool to bring people together from multiple walks of life.

Community Center, Mixed Income Housing, Crosskey Archtiects


Community centers and central amenity spaces in multi-family housing developments do the same thing.  They bring together people from different backgrounds, allowing them to transform their personal community into a more diverse environment.  The community space allows people to leave their apartments and spend more of their leisure time socializing and building relationships with other occupants.  The architecture and design of the spaces are critical to actually drawing people in.  The community center or amenity space should serve as an extension of your home/apartment. It should be well lit, uniquely designed and fun, allowing a high usage of the facility. 


Interiors, Crosskey Architects, Open Floor Plan

 Think about office design and layouts.  How have open floor plans, modern interiors, and co-working spaces changed the enviroment where we work?  Whether you are for an open plan or against it, they have clearly transformed our work communities.  Just by looking at co-working spaces , we see entrepreneurs coming together, working in open spaces while having an "office" experience. Rather than sitting in their family room by themselves working through their day, they are amongst like-minded professionals in a communal space.  This helps to open up for greater sharing of information, having a sense of belonging, and also allowing you to take minute to step away and talk  to another human being.  


 As you can see, the built environment is the playing field of our lives.  How things are designed and built impact how we interact with people both at home and at work.  Take the time to think about where you live or where you work.  What were the motivations that guided the design of your communities?  Do you think the designers and architects were thinking about the people?  Were they thinking about how their work may transform or impact how people lives their lives?  We certainly hope so!


Be Inspired


 ChrisD-4549-03.jpgBy Chris Duprey, MS 

Principal of Strategic Initiatives


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