David Baker Architects

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By Paul Taylor
SFDC News
Summer/Fall 2007

Folsom + Dore Supportive Apartments bring together people from all walks of life.

It's the most widely known of that essential group of nutrients that are vital for our health, well-being and development. Now the world of design seems to be getting a booster dose of Vitamin C too—a raft of trends representing new ways of living, including the following C's:

Conscience + Consciousness
Collaboration
Community
Comfort + Cocooning
Culture

Curran House, in San Francisco's transit-dense center, has no on-site parking.

Community
San Francisco architect David Baker has some very pointed views on factors that have contributed to a breakdown in the concept of community. His criticism is leveled squarely at the suburbs and the car.

"People may have originally moved to the suburbs because they had good schools and so were seen as better for the kids," says Baker. "But when the kids leave home, the parents become bored."

That's one reason he cites for the shift from the suburbs back into city centers: "People can feel too isolated in the suburbs."

On the flip side, he points to the city as having a greater sense of community. "When you throw people together, they have to interact," he says. "There are more chance meetings, when you run into acquaintances and friends. It's a more spontaneous feeling."

And that's where Baker's criticism of our overuse of cars comes in. It's not just the environmental impact, but the isolation and lack of interaction that comes from sitting behind the wheel for long periods each day.

But the design of the suburbs often means there's no choice. The distances between places forces you to use your car all the time. "You even have to use your car to go to the gym," he points out ironically. "And if you're always in the car, you don't experience those chance meetings."
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