Common Ground: Creating Sustainable Neighbourhoods by Making Communal Space Multivalent in Medium Density Housing

By Stephen John Pattinson.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Intensification is occurring rapidly in New Zealand’s main urban centres, resulting in significant reduction of both private and public open space. This paper considers how to achieve medium density housing that maintains open space. One design strategy is to make communal space multivalent, i.e. to have multiple uses, meanings and values. In New Zealand, little consideration is given to the multivalence of communal space in medium density housing, yet it is a key to using land more efficiently, creating quality living environments for residents, and fostering connectedness and a sense of community. This paper proposes five principles for making communal space multivalent. These five principles provide a spatial framework for creating sustainable medium density neighbourhoods.

Keywords: Common Ground, Multivalent Communal Space, Medium Density Housing, Open Space, Sustainable Neighbourhoods, Intensive Housing, Cluster Housing, Shared Outdoor Space, Univalent, Connectedness, Sense of Community, Collaboration, Participation

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 7, Issue 5, pp.79-104. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 7.769MB).

Stephen John Pattinson

Post-Graduate Research Student, Faculty of Architecture and Design, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand

Stephen is a Registered Architect (New Zealand Institute of Architects) with over 20 years professional practice experience. He is currently completing academic research for a Master of Architecture degree at Victoria University of Wellington. This paper summarises the key findings from Stephen’s research thesis which is titled ‘Common Ground–Multivalent Communal Space in Medium Density Housing’.

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