PlaceMakers Webinars

“Pocket Neighborhoods”: Scale Matters

Featuring Ross Chapin, Bruce Tolar

$15 > Now available on-demand as a recorded session

Massive demographic shifts, changing market demand, rising energy costs and new economic realities for families and governments at all levels will impose an entirely different context for development and redevelopment than the one that has driven housing and neighborhood trends over the last half-century. We have a lot more isolated, supersized, energy-sucking housing than we want or can afford. And we have a lot less compact, close-in, energy-efficient neighborhoods than we need. The push for right-sizing neighborhoods an uphill battle.

Ross Chapin and Bruce Tolar are pros at re-introducing small-scale neighborhoods in infill locations. In this webinar, they share key practices for getting it right. The insights they offer can make the difference between building a beloved contributor to the community, and starting an all-out war over home size and local character.

The missing scale between the house and the wider neighborhood — Ross Chapin’s pocket neighborhoods or Bruce Tolar’s cottage squares — is where the details of placemaking make a huge difference in the health, safety and vitality of our communities. In several Transects from rural to urban, these smaller scale homes foster spontaneous conversations among nearby neighbors while respecting the need for personal space. The details make a difference! When we get them right, these micro neighborhoods can engender a sense of belonging and care among neighbors — which is why they are building blocks of resilient communities.

Architect and author Ross Chapin has gotten the attention of international press from USA Today and Wall Street Journal to Fine Homebuilding and This Old House for his wonderfully scaled and richly detailed pocket neighborhoods. His joy is evident in designing places for people that are both functional and beautiful. Alive, vibrant, authentic, and soulful places nourish the individual, support positive family relationships, and foster a strong sense of community. Ross is acclaimed author of Pocket Neighborhoods: Creating Small Scale Community in a Large Scale World.

Bringing the experience of decades designing and building commercial and residential structures on the Gulf Coast from Florida to Texas, Bruce Tolar was among those who shaped early designs for Katrina Cottages in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. After the historic design charrette that produced recovery and rebuilding plans for coastal Mississippi, he formed a development team to turn cottage plans into real structures in real neighborhoods. He created the Cottage Square model community in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, and, by 2012, had supervised the design, site plans and construction of some 80 units in three “pocket neighborhoods” in transit-oriented, infill locations along the Mississippi coast.