A design approach to solve loneliness in urban sprawl

London has always had a reputation of an alienating and lonely city; a place where most neighbourhoods have no real sense of community and residents are clueless about who lives across the street. According to a BBC London poll, over 25% of Londoners said they felt ‘lonely often or all the time’, with a third admitting ‘they felt they did not know their neighbours’.

So how can architects change these social structures through design? Housing schemes and social projects with the aim of uniting communities are constantly being set up. But many, such as the highly criticised multi-dwelling units (MDU), fail to succeed. It is quite obvious a different approach to design is needed.

Perseverance Works resident Henley Halebrown Rorrison, the award-winning architectural practice, have finished a co-housing project in London, the first of its type in the city. Situated at 1-6 Copper Lane, the development consists of six separate homes on one large piece of land with shared facilities such as a communal dining room, laundry and garden space. The design joins individuals in a social and supportive network, while also allowing personal time and privacy when needed. This balance between private and public creates a sustainable, friendly and modern way of living in a potentially alienating city.

To learn more about the project, listen to an interview with Ken Rorrison, the co-founder of Henley Halebrown Rorrison, on Australia’s ABC radio program here.