Project: Third Street Cottages
Architect: Ross Chapin Architects
Developer: The Cottage Company
Enclosure and Permeability

Enclosed space taken to the extreme is not good, as in gated communities. A shared common space should have appropriate openness or permeability to the surrounding community. A healthy community ‘breathes’ with its surroundings. That said, in a dangerous environment like an urban alley, a gate can offer a level of safety to allow surrounding residents to open to the alley (see Chapter 24 in the Pocket Neighborhood Book).
The economics of nature is all about extravagance and giving. If anything or anyplace is cut off from this flow, it will cease to grow and thrive. At the same time, everything and everyplace must have enough distinction from the world around it to have it's own soul, life-force energy, and distinctive gifts to give. In nature, as well as in the built environment, health and wholeness can be achieved when there is a balance of enclosure (distinction) and permeability (exchange).
Tom Bender, architect & author