Way back in 1920's, one of the worlds greatest thinkers in the history of architecture, freed the plan. Le Corbusier, released the constraints of a classical understanding to give us, amongst a range of things, columns instead of structural walls. This one calculated but simple act, freed the design of the residential ground plan by removing its barriers, literally, to created an unrestrained interior. Truth is though, he did so much more than removing structural walls and replacing them with columns. In a stroke of genius, he also freed the constraints of a social norm, and introduced a new way of thinking to what was a stayed, yet classically delightful palate of architectural design and construction. Unshackling the antiquated accepted, Le Corbusier did what all great design thinkers do. He saw the potential for residential architecture, to offer more, aesthetically, functionally and socially. He thought about the constraints of the everyday, and he designed those constraints for a modern era. Boldly, we thought if Le Corbs can do it, then why can't we?
Has anyone else noticed that by and large, the model for suburban space planning, the design of our residential communities is business as usual or to put it another way, the same as it has always been? Clever renders or lifestyle pics sell a renewed and refreshed experience of suburban occupation. Images are so convincing that as a society we know that the next master planned community with its integrated walkways, bikeways, parks, promenades and signature mature aka immature landscaping will offer us a unique suburban slap happy and healthy existence in a ready made community of our choosing. However, in all our space planning greatness of integrated human habitats, conducive to green and healthy occupation, we keep churning out much of the same, except each year the blocks get smaller, dwellings consume sites - boundary to boundary, and the green edge? What green edge! Its like someone has turned off the tap on how to thinking smartly, how to take the antiquated suburban experience and offer it differently.
Just as Le Corbs freed the plan, and reaped the rewards offered by adding a new structural integrity to residential dwellings, we've taken the accepted suburban normal and freed it from its inherited suburban constraints. We know it works because just like Le Corbusier, the action of doing means we reap the rewards through a suburban structure that understands the complex needs associated with the ecology of sustaining life. Needs that stretch beyond the monocultural, but vastly appealing lifestyle must have list of suburban space planners and amenity makers to include the must have list of hierarchical human essentials. Abraham Maslow coined it his hierarchy, and the provision of food sits proudly as a fundamental key. But for the want of keeping it all very simple, our suburban reality pars back the structural complexity of the food lifecycle by introducing the residential corridor to the inclusion of integrated edible suburban landscapes that in all their flavour-hood glory, are public in nature.
We do suburbs differently and just as Le Corbusier saw it necessary to free the plan, we are freeing the suburbs of the antiquated understanding associated with creating active, engaging and green suburban habitats for human occupation. Le Corbs freed the plan, suburban food landscapes free the neighbourhood!