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Houses Face the Street

In heritage suburbs the homes provide a transition between the public realm of the street and the private inner realm of the home. Depth and interest are supplied by architectural details such as bay windows and verandas, and by views into the front garden over a low fence. The design of these houses and their intimate relationship with the street provides opportunities for interaction with neighbours and people passing by.

The transition between the public realm of the street and the private realm of the home is managed carefully at the design stage.

Houses on Hobsonville Point facing the street

Viewing the streets as an opportunity for social interaction, and not just a carriageway for cars, and applying these principles from the heritage suburbs has created a unique character for a new development. Front yard dimensions provide a variety of setbacks, while front fences, gardens and porches and balconies change in level so that all houses engage with the street. Many also have laneway access creating shared community spaces front and back.

Because the houses overlook the street and the opportunity to bump into your neighbours is designed into the fabric of the place, crime is reduced and residents’ satisfaction with, and sense of belonging to their neighbourhood, is increased.

Laneways are landscaped and paved.

Houses facing the street on Hobsonville Point

The design encourages interaction between neighbours.

Houses face street in Hobsonville Point

Success Strategy: Reduce Car Dependency

Hobsonville Point’s streets are designed for people, not cars. They double as community spaces and are safe and enjoyable to negotiate on foot or bike. With the exception of the spine road, they are single carrieageway and their narrowness and the extensive use of street trees provides a traffic calming environment that reduces speed.

Small lots and narrow streets keep the neighbourhoods compact so that nothing is too far away, which makes walking, cycling or taking the bus an easy and obvious choice. The masterplan ensures that 85% of homes are within 400m of a bus stop and all of them are within 800m to encourage bus use. Key amenity such as the schools have been placed at the centre of the township so that they are an easy walk from homes. The open space network links with the streets to provide alternative scenic routes and shortcuts for walking or cycling around the community.

Many residents have reported anecdotally that they dropped from a two-car to a single car household since moving to Hobsonville Point.

Raised pedestrian access-ways, street trees, and narrow carriageways elevate the status of the pedestrian over the driver.

Next week we look at how a diversity of building typologies at Hobsonville Point makes for a stronger community.

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