sidewalk community :: yay or nay?

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!

Happy Thursday.



  1. I grew up in a suburban neighborhood without sidewalks, moved to the country where you need a car to visit your neighbors (and you wouldn't want to, because they're awful people), the house I'm moving into next month doesn't have them, and the place we're going after this doesn't either.

    And that makes me really sad. Because I flipping LOVE sidewalks.

    1. Y'all should just move east and live near us:)

    2. It IS east! Just Fox Point. So...no sidewalks.

  2. I'm a sidewalk fan myself, but those communities are SO hard to find these days!

  3. You are right on the money. New urbanism cropped up in the 80s ( http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Urbanism#section_2) to provide more pedestrian friendly community designs. I visited one of the first developments that helped spawn these principles and it was a great place to be. It was Seaside, Florida (which you would recognize as the place the movie "The Truman Show" was filmed)

    1. bwitty, love that you found that article. What made you visit Seaside?

    2. I have read many articles about it and it was a hot topic when I was in school. I have a few books on the architecture of Seaside homes which I have used for inspiration for a few designs. A few years ago we found ourselves with an "empty nest" between Christmas and new year and took the oportunity to go there. It was great. We spent the majority of our time walking around looking the architecture. Many well known architects have designed houses there.

  4. You should check out Greendale. Planned community. Sidewalks and walking paths everywhere. :) I couldn't tell from your post whether you meant sidewalks up to the door or just sidewalks running along the street???


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