In Australia, there are low-density, car-reliant suburbs to contend with, which often miss out on the social opportunities a neighbourhood can reap when housing and public spaces mingle. One approach designers are taking to strengthen social ties here is diversifying the use of business districts, offering valuable communal spaces to workers and visitors who might not have these at home. Make’s renovation of a celebrated sandstone building in Sydney’s CBD, for example, includes reinstating the adjacent public realm as a vibrant, inviting city square.
In Hong Kong, it’s extreme density that’s exacerbating loneliness, with homes packed so tightly that many people don’t have space to invite friends or family over. This is compounded by the region’s low concentration of accessible urban green space, which leaves few places to comfortably socialise for free. One architectural tack is improving residential design to offer better connections to nature and more chances for social interaction. Views and natural light play a major role, as do shared social amenities – features that can be found in Make’s Luna and Dunbar Place developments, both of which strive to foster a community spirit that’s often lost in high-density living.
None of these examples solve the problem of loneliness on their own, of course. But as actors in an industry increasingly attuned to the human costs of the issue, architects can play a vital role in creating opportunities for meaningful togetherness around the world.
This post was extracted from our Kinship in the City report.