The Brook Knolls Cooperative Housing Community: a case study for resident design of public open space

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The Brook Knolls Cooperative Community in Larimer County, Colorado, U.S.A., a low-to-moderate income mobile home community was used as an experimental case study project to test methods for generating a user-specific design for common grounds. Two theoretical components, an educational approach, and an anthropological approach, integrate to create the framework for the research. The educational approach attempts to make residents aware of design possibilities and facilitate their involvement in the actual design process. Residents were shown many design ideas in order to activate their imaginations and make them better design participants. The anthropological approach aims to understand and inform the professional design team as to the residents' subculture, specific lifestyles, and concomitant needs in order to guide appropriate design solutions. The major lesson learned with respect to this case study is that prolonged dialogue and activities centered around the conceptual design stage are less productive than more tangible efforts. The most successful means of involving these low-to-moderate income residents was design during actual site construction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-295
Number of pages13
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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