Living Spaces v Dead Spaces [Architecture]

12 April 2021

Urban planning and architecture are centered on the notion of creating living spaces that facilitate human interaction, ease tensions, and excite the senses. The value of these spaces is not in the building materials that comprise it, nor the planning controls that regulate it. Its value is derived from its ability to create events within it. The idea transcends from the smallest rooms to entire cities.

What is the difference between a living space and a dead space?

A living space is an area that incorporates living. Whether it’s a courtyard between the street and the front door to your homw which you pass through every day. There is an event that occurs which is you passing through it every day by which you build familiarity with it. A dead space could be a well-presented dining room. A room that you occasionally remember you have, but only visit after manufacturing a reason. It tends to gather dust over time from disuse. Living spaces fit naturally with their defining events and dead spaces force events unnaturally.

Suburbs known for their ‘lifestyle factors’ generally have great living spaces. It is an underlying factor contributing to the desirability and in turn the property prices of an area. What is the common denominator across some of the best living spaces in Sydney? Suburbs like Bondi, Palm Beach, Newtown, Surry Hills, Paddington, Circular Quay, Manly? The living spaces have naturally evolved with time with a central reason for the congregation (the event). For Bondi, it is the beach, for Paddington its mysterious laneways, boutique shops and cafés.

Where will be the next suburbs known for its lifestyle factors

I rarely speculate, I look at fundamental factors and make an assessment as to the conditions required that could lead to this outcome. From a property to property basis, look for front courtyards or front garden space which make the journey from the street to the front door desirable As from a street to street basis, look at streets that facilitate a desirable travel experience through the street, whether is a tree canopy, or a shaded path. From a suburb to suburb basis look at places where people have begun to naturally congregate. Usually it would be close to something where an event occurs. This event could be a sunset, a swim, a walk, a run, a sail, or a photo opportunity.

Alexander Gibson

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