For many who stay in city facilities, navigating life throughout COVID-19 has meant rethinking use of inexperienced areas. Pre-COVID, the native park, courtyard or well-designed yard could have been a nice-to-have amenity, however the pandemic delivered to gentle the significance of accessible inexperienced areas for each bodily and emotional wellbeing. From socially distant picnics and playdates to out of doors health lessons and leisurely walk-and-talks, inexperienced areas have turn out to be an important antidote to isolation, with many metropolis dwellers rediscovering the thrill of transferring leisure actions outdoors.

Because the nation heads into summer season ‘21 with a strong COVID-19 vaccine rollout underway and a majority of states transferring in the direction of full re-openings, inexperienced areas proceed to stay in style from each a utilization and planning perspective. The zeitgeist shift, particularly a renewed want to spend extra time open air, appears to be like to be right here for the foreseeable future. Moreover, data exhibits measurable well being advantages of accelerating city inexperienced areas, main architects and designers to conceptualize new methods to extend entry to the pure world within the context of high-density residential residing.

We just lately sat down with architect David Hovey Jr., President and COO of design-driven actual property growth agency Optima, Inc., to be taught extra about how his agency is integrating inexperienced areas into city residential developments. “Properly-designed inexperienced areas will proceed to be critically vital in any residential growth transferring ahead,” Hovey says. “COVID actually led to an immediacy to providing residents artistic options to have interaction with their pure environment. A brand new, or renewed, want to spend extra time open air was the catalyst for us to additional decide to out of doors amenity choices.” For instance, Hovey notes that, upon seeing the booming reputation in yard entertaining throughout 2020, his crew pivoted plans for a brand new construct in Chicago to include “new methods for residents to attach with the outside” corresponding to modifying terraces to equip them with built-in grills and fireplace pits so individuals can have a extra fluid indoor-outdoor way of life.

Hovey’s crew can also be incorporating lush landscaped courtyards and signature vertical landscaping programs into their constructing designs to “assist residents discover a straightforward approach to reinvigorate throughout off hours, or discover themselves impressed whereas working, one thing we anticipate many individuals will proceed to do remotely.” Along with connecting residents with nature, vertical landscaping is an efficient technique of filtering out pollution and carbon dioxide, Hovey explains, which is an added well being profit for residents residing in dense city facilities.

Hovey provided the next examples of Optima’s artistic implementation of further out of doors/inexperienced area into post-pandemic city residential settings:

  • At Optima Kierland, Optima’s signature vertical landscaping system creates a lush view from every resident’s terrace, whereas 100% underground parking permits for a further 5.5 acres of courtyards all through the neighborhood. 
  • Optima Kierland’s rooftop yoga studio is enclosed by glass with retractable partitions, so residents can open the wall and apply yoga and meditation from the roof – all whereas taking in mountain views and inhaling desert breezes.
  • Optima Kierland provides a rooftop operating monitor. Residents can run open air across the monitor with 360-degree views and the advantages of a inexperienced roof, which incorporates each inexperienced landscaping and bushes.
  • When designing two neighboring high-rise condo towers in downtown Chicago, the out of doors entry plaza was designed to ask members of the encompassing neighborhood to benefit from seating at its panorama planters whereas having fun with public artwork.

In accordance with Hovey, some of these deliberate inexperienced areas are going to turn out to be more and more vital in post-pandemic city facilities, as architects and designers proceed to seek out new methods to create “simply accessible inexperienced areas that give residents a chance to attach with their pure environment.”