Professor in Residence, Department of Architecture, GSD, Harvard University, Cambridge MA, USA
City dwellers have historically fled to the countryside to escape disease but returned when it was safe. US cities have experienced growth for decades, but that trend is slowing and, in some cases, reversing. Increasingly, millennials are leaving cities for the suburbs to combat escalating housing costs and lack of family-friendly amenities, and the current pandemic has sped up that rate of exodus. Urban dwelling is a very sustainable lifestyle, so how can we provide healthier and more sustainable qualities of suburban living in the city to entice people to return and/or stay? This research/design project, proposed to fill large vacant blocks in cities, produced a (sub)Urban hybrid housing model that combines qualities of suburban housing with the benefits of urban dwelling. The resulting design, based on the Charleston house typology arranged in a checkerboard pattern, provides a south-facing side yard with access from most rooms to sunlight, fresh air, shade, photovoltaic panels and a private, green, social distancing space not found in the common urban row home typology.