Over the last fifty years, while the size of the average American house has more than doubled, the number of people living in the average home has actually fallen from 3.67 in 1948 to 2.55, today. (Check out this great animation of expanding home size.) The most recent statistics from the National Association of Home Builders show that the average American home grew from 983 square feet in 1950 to 2,434 square feet in 2005. Furthermore, in 1950, only one percent of homes built had four bedrooms or more, but by 2003, 39 percent of new homes had at least four bedrooms. Garages have become almost obligatory, with only eight percent of new homes built without a garage, as opposed to 53 percent built without one in 1950.
Think about your own home. How many people live in it? How many bedrooms does it have? How big is it? Does it have a garage (or two)? And most of all, does it connect or separate you from the community?
There's actually some cities that have designed building codes to increase community. In Celebration, Florida, for example, all new houses must be built with a front porch. Some towns ban garages, in other communities, all new developments must be built with sidewalks.
Go out and walk your neighborhood, interviewing neighbors, surveying the houses, apartments, and condominiums, and thinking about how your neighborhood impacts community. Document the aspects of your neighborhood (buildings, sidewalks, gardens, parks, playground, streets) that increase and those that decrease community. Draw a map of your home and your neighborhood with three tangible changes (like adding sidewalks, playgrounds, or reducing traffic speed) that would make your neighborhood more community oriented. In your post, reflect on the impact of the way we live on community connectivity.