Response to the Neighbourhood Unit

989 Words4 Pages
It was interesting to see Banerjee and Baer claim that the neighbourhood unit was not necessarily an original conception by any one person, but was actually a concept deeply rooted in historic communities. He of course goes on to say that that very history is not sufficient for developing the neighbourhood unit today where the needs and desires of people vis-à-vis their lifestyles is completely different. So they almost deny the importance or relevance of history in the context of the neighbourhood unit simply because the neighbourhoods of today are neither developed organically nor are they seen as means of segregation. Of course the idea of creating segregation, or protecting the rights of certain communities over others, was an idea that did in fact continue deep into the 20th century, and perhaps negating our history as a predecessor of that may not necessarily be fair. That is to say that this segregational behavior is deep rooted in human culture; and neighbourhoods, whether the ones of today or of the yesteryears, were perhaps physical manifestations of that behavior. Most of the readings declare Perry as the pioneer for formulating strict guidelines for what a good neighbourhood should be, and for him the neighbourhood was a ‘geographical unit’. It was a ‘closed system’ which includes parameters based on size, boundaries, open spaces, institutional sites, local shops and an internal street system. He talks about how all these basic units which make the neighbourhood need to be predetermined so as to create a healthy neighbourhood fostering good morals and values. Unfortunately, this closed system envisions no potential for growth. The elementary school, for example, would be designed for a fixed number of students, a number out of which an architectural form can be arrived at. But what happens when the families grow? The ‘fixed’ neighbourhood can now no
Open Document