Community Cohesion and Longevity
In Roseto, a small town in Pennsylvania, USA, an unusual phenomenon was observed in the 60s. There was an unusually low rate of myocardial infarction in this Italian-American community compared with the typical American town. From 1954 to 1961, Roseto had nearly no heart attacks for the otherwise high-risk group of men 55 to 64, and men over 65 had a death rate half of the national average. Researchers attributed their good health to strong community cohesion and lower stress – the Roseto Effect.
Why is Loneliness Growing?
Right-Scaling For Community
Different scales of urban environment creates different social orders. A large-scale city environment favours less socially-conducive living, while a town-block scale environment encourages greater social engagement. Roseto was re-created in Pennsylvania based on the original mining town in Italy, starting from 1882 after twelve pioneering immigrants moved to the United States for better mining opportunities. The intimate human scale of the town was also re-created with streets names and landmarks such as churches in the same manner.
Pocket parks are good for getting to know the other users who tend to be regulars from the neighbourhood, thus creating a sense of belonging and ‘shared privacy’. Whereas a large open field makes it hard to relate oneself, and most likely remain as a wasted green space as it does not attract ad hoc users to inject life. Urban squares such as the People’s Park in Eu Tong Sen Street in Singapore is an optimally sized public space that strikes a balance between a sense of enclosure and porosity.
Right-Scaling For Mobility
Right-Scaling For Sustainability
Population Health and sustainable developments are also symbiotic. One of the greatest ironies of healthcare facilities is that being one of the most energy-intensive building typologies, they contribute substantially to the pollution and climate change in the world. These in turn deliver a negative impact to the very population that it is trying to help. Policy-makers and healthcare operators are wary of an indiscreet use on tertiary care and are working towards re-distributing care where they are best provided. While hospitals are designed for illness, cities must be designed for wellness.
As building blocks of any city, residential enclaves can potentially form a sustainable web of a healthy population. One approach is to develop enclaves centred on sustainability itself. The phenomenon of Ecovillages has started to sprout around the world. According to Global Ecovillage Network, these are traditional or urban communities that develop according to the four dimensions of sustainability – social, culture, ecology and economy.