We have Liftoff!

At long last, this website and blog about Pocket Neighborhoods goes out to the world! 1/11/11 — seems apropos for beginnings. Or, as it may be, the beginning of a new arc in the spiral of an idea that goes far back in time.

Our hope is that these ideas enter into national and local conversations as viable possibilities for the way we can live — meeting personal needs in the context of community. Fifteen years ago, when we first started experimenting with pocket neighborhoods, it seemed like this pattern of living should have been common — it is so simple, so applicable to a variety of settings, and so seemingly needed in our society. Unfortunately, the charm of a ‘home of one’s own’ has taken us on a track away from our innate human nature — that is, as gregarious, social animals. We believe that a balance of privacy and community is not only possible, and it is desired by vast numbers of people across all generations. We have shown viability for pocket neighborhoods in the marketplace; now we want to see pocket neighborhoods embraced by city planning boards, developers, architects, neighborhoods and buyers.

This website and blog are designed to augment the Pocket Neighborhood book, adding live links to resources, summarizing its key concepts, showing a range of examples, and bringing in further commentary and dialog. I hope you take time to explore all its sections.

The book describes pocket neighborhoods in much more detail. It is filled with stories of the pioneers who blazed their trails, as well as the people who live there, and the progressive planners, innovative architects, forward-thinking developers, craftspeople and gardeners who helped create them. If you’re a visual person, there are a LOT of photographs (mostly mine, with a few from Ken Gutmaker, Grace Kim and others).

We hear that the first shipment of books is now heading this way on a slow boat from China. In a few weeks you will actually be able to hold the Pocket Neighborhood book in your hands. That will be a cause for celebration! Pre-order it NOW! And if your order it from this website, I’ll sign your book before it goes out.

To push a metaphor, we’re the “new kids on the block”… Can you help us get connected with your world? Tell your friends, neighbors and colleagues. Show it to your city planner and mayor. Tell your architecture professor. Link this site to your website. Let us know who we should know about. Join our Facebook page, sign our email list, tweet us, post about us, and share this.  AND tell us what you think — What do you like?  What could we do better? Tell us if you hit a missing link, found a glitch, grammar mistake or speling errer.

Lastly, this is a good time to thank all the people who helped carry, nudge, and cheer these ideas forward — including my staff at RCA (especially Karen DeLucas), Peter Chapman at Taunton Press, Sarah Susanka (the Not So Big House champion), Jim Soules, Linda Pruitt (The Cottage Company), Deborah Koff-Chapin, and so many others unnamed. Thank you.

Let’s now turn the page to the next chapter . . .

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