There are various studies which state that our mindset, habits, moods and life all together depend on the way our homes, communities and cities are designed and this is because we spend more than 90% of our time indoors. It has a much larger impact on the children that are exposed to these environments and shapes their personality as they grow up. The elderly who have been accustomed to living in communities also feel isolated as a result of today's society culture. Hence the built environment plays a huge role in affecting the health and well-being of us and our family members.
A study by the Harvard university suggests that Rapid urbanization is a major cause for decrease in open spaces for people to walk. To top it up, sedentary lifestyle at work place and working from home further minimizes the scope for body movement.
Metabolic rate in our bodies goes further down when we don’t move enough as the physical well-being is directly associated with mental and social well-being of ourselves.
If we analyze the journey of a person living inside a gated villa community, we depend on our automobiles (car or bike) to move around for essentials like groceries, gymnasium, salon, meeting neighbors, etc., This is more so the case for communities which are larger than 10 acres in land area. With busy lifestyles, saving those few minutes takes top priority, combined with lethargy.
Some communities have dedicated tracks and cycle parking spaces to encourage cycling but the what percentage of residents use it?
The question we asked ourselves is, how do we change the way people commute inside a community? How do we really encourage residents to use their feet? Can we nudge people to change old habits? Can pedestrian friendly design not be limited to a mere marketing USP?
If you look closely at the floor plans in any gated villa community, one can evidently observe that at least 10% of the usable land area is allocated for vehicular parking. It ends up not only occupying usable space and expensive real estate, but also blows harmful vehicular emissions consisting of carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), Sulphur oxides (Sox) etc., inside our homes. Inhalation of these toxic gases leads to long term negative impacts due to poor indoor ventilation, compromising the health of residents. There is only way to break this negative ripple effect.
So what if we removed the cars from the homes?
What if we created collective parking spaces located at a reasonable walking distance from our homes?
This design idea would potentially solve the problem of cutting out vehicular emissions from entering our homes and also allow us to use this space for productive landscaping, resulting in better health and well-being of the residents and community.
At Organo Antharam, each cluster has a walkway designed for people to walk & cycle, and electric buggies to transport residents. By design, the cluster walkway restricts vehicles from entering inside (except during emergency).
The residents park their cars in non-designated parking spaces in the cluster parking area and walk inside the cluster.
The maximum walking distance between the parking area and the home in each cluster is around 300 meters. As per Indian Green Building Council’s (IGBCs) rating tools, the maximum allowable walking distance is 800meters.
There is also another benefit through this design, as it fundamentally removes the fear of speeding vehicles approaching elders and children as they play inside the clusters. It brings back the old world charm of children playing and elders socializing in front of homes. Thus creating a naturally inclusive and safe community living experience for all age groups.