Why do we need social architecture and what is it?
Social architecture is the conscious design of an environment that encourages a desired range of social behaviours leading towards a specific goal. “Social architects” want to change the way people behave through carefully designed buildings and can transform the way people live, work and play.
Never has a home been more important than the last 16 months or so. After spending so much time inside we’ve all realised just what makes a home, what is important and what isn’t. Lots of people realised their homes were unsuitable and more realised that they didn’t really know who they were living by.
In the past most people knew their neighbours, street parties were common and people were there to help if necessary. Nowadays it’s more common to never even utter the word “hello” to your neighbour, let alone enjoy a drink and some food together, and this was realised during the various lockdowns as we had to spend more time at home.
Ben Treleaven, Managing Director, said,
“This is why social architecture is so important. Our mission is to change the way people connect, especially during the pandemic – the buildings we design help build inclusive communities where people feel as though they belong and can engage with one another. We are sociable beings and whether we’re building a home, an office, a retail space or a bar, we want people to feel connected.”
It’s as simple as designing flats so that doors are facing one another, encouraging people as they’re leaving to speak to each other and say hello, or designing large areas where people can meet. When designing a development, we need to think about what people need in and around their home. Lots of green, outdoor space, places for meeting and places where children can play. If designed this way, buildings can make a positive impact on an existing community and help bring people together, rather than keep them apart. You also need to think about what’s around the home, are there places for children to go to school and are the shops within walking distance?
It’s not just about designing a space to bring communities together physically. It’s also about making buildings accessible to all. If you’re designing a housing development, you need to make sure that you’re building homes that are suitable for everyone whether they’re a family, a young couple or maybe those who are a bit older. If your buildings are accessible for all then you’re building an inclusive community and making sure that everyone feels as though they belong and they’ve been catered for. It’s as simple as designing spaces that are a little bigger than usual or leaving room for wheelchairs to move around.