Rock Street Pocket Housing

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Rock Street Pocket Housing | Notes of Interest

Rock Street Pocket Housing (RSPH) is an affordable housing project that serves as a catalyst for redevelopment of Little Rock’s struggling Pettaway neighborhood. Once a vibrant 20th-century streetcar neighborhood, Pettaway has since taken a turn for the worse. By clustering 4–16 homes around shared outdoor commons and infrastructure, pocket housing is ideal for leveraging quality in an affordable housing setting. Pocket housing provides desirable housing options between the scales of the single-family house and mid-rise flats—what planners call the “missing middle,” because such housing has not been built since the 1940s.

Missing middle housing types—from the duplex to the triplex and fourplex, bungalow court, mansion apartment, townhouse, live-work, and courtyard apartments—are all high quality medium-density options that meet the density thresholds for viable transit neighborhoods and can be easily financed. Missing middle housing readily meets the demand for urban livability within walkable neighborhoods and can effectively drive revitalization efforts in struggling first-ring urban neighborhoods.

Pocket housing delivers affordability through shared amenities such as community lawns, playgrounds, shared drives, storm water management infrastructure, frontages, and common building templates. By pooling resources otherwise isolated on individual lots, pocket housing offers two key benefits. First, since the industry has nearly optimized construction discipline in the single-family dwelling, the next frontier for achieving affordability with high livability returns is design of the neighborhood template—the shared spaces. Second, RSPH externalizes the benefits of its common space, enhancing neighborhood identity within the larger context.

Additional Credit

  • University of Arkansas Community Design Center Students

Photo Credit

  • © University of Arkansas Community Design Center

Rock Street Pocket Housing

Jury Comments

This is a great integration of inventive architecture and sustainable urbanism into a traditional, low-income fabric. The project does a very interesting and successful job of comingling variations of public and private space. By creating variations in the housing typology, building placement on the site and landscape treatments, the development proposal has appeal to multiple household types, creates private and shared space, and it completes the urban context of the neighborhood.

It is thorough, achievable, and detailed with a fresh design approach that is also supportive of the context. The individual house designs do a remarkably good job of negotiating fronts to both the street and the communal space.

More about Rock Street Pocket Housing.

2013 Institute Honor Awards for Regional and Urban Design Jury

  • Mark Shapiro, AIA, Chair
  • Mithun, Inc.
  • Seattle
  • Ellen Dunham-Jones, AIA
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Atlanta
  • William A. Gilchrist, FAIA
  • Place Based Planning
  • New Orleans
  • Toni L. Griffin, AIA
  • The City College of New York
  • New York City
  • Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
  • U.S. Commission of Fine Arts
  • Washington, DC

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