Density, or compact design, is a concept that is once again gaining traction across the country, including here in New Hampshire.
Basically, by putting buildings closer together, and/or including a mix of uses in one, open spaces may be preserved and money can be saved. In downtowns, neighborhoods or other development, density can also be achieved by infill – filling in spaces amongst what is already there, rather than, say, taking more open land.
We usually think of this as being a big-city or larger-town thing, but good examples exist in our smaller communities, too. Think of Harrisville, or Center Ossipee: in each, one can walk to different destinations. The photo above is that of the Greenfield (NH) Meeting Place, with a little restaurant on the ground floor and living spaces above and around.
And this is not a new idea. Most of our “traditional” New Hampshire and New England towns have relatively dense, or compact town centers and neighborhoods.
Plan NH and the NH Housing Finance Authority are continuing their partnership to identify good examples of density in towns of all sizes across the state.
Examples are compiled and are being entered into a database (in development) that will be available to anyone. Developers, planners and residents alike will be able to see what well-planned density can look like here in New Hampshire.
We invite you to participate: look around where you are. Are there good examples of compact design? It may be a new neighborhood or an older, established one. You may have a town center where the Post Office, Library, and general store – and maybe even a school – are in close proximity. Or you may live in an older neighborhood with houses close to each other.
Please, show us what you have found. For more information and submission forms, go here