We live in a village with sidewalks. Everywhere. It defines this little place. The homes are close together and a hop-skip-and-a-jump from the road, but having that little strip of concrete between our house and the street, well, it makes that neighborly conversation happen that much faster.
Hawk spent two semesters in an MA in Architecture program and for one of his first projects he researched how various front yard partitions increase degrees of privacy. When I am in a non-sidewalk neighborhood, I find I'm less likely (less bold?) to knock on the door if I'm coming from the road or driveway, but if there's a sidewalk it's like there's a preexisting invitation!
I'm totally sold on the sidewalk concept; I've made it a must should we ever move. We spend 90% of our outside time in the front yard and I'm pretty sure it's because we have sidewalks. We play in the front yard, sit on the stoop, water that lawn more, leave toys scattered here and there for neighbors to use, and race down to the other yards to play, chat, and toast the weekend. Or weekday (as yesterday would have it). The boys across the street run through three front yards with their Nerf guns, and someone always has a sprinkler spraying. A common addition to local homes is the front patio--complete with table, chairs, and bright umbrellas. There is an expectation that someone we know will be along shortly. Life seems to happen in the front yard.
But many of my friends live without them, and they would argue that I'm a little obsessed.
What do you think? Are they the way to go? Should more modern communities embrace them, or are they a thing of the past?
Can't wait to hear what you think!