[ ARCH 372, LA 236/338, UP378 Spring 2003 ]

Good Neighborhood Project

South End as Retreat Neighborhood


The retreat neighborhood meets the needs of the individual rather than that of the community. It provides a quiet comfortable living environment, so one can enjoy the surroundings in their own manner. Housing in a retreat neighborhood is unique, focusing on self-sufficiency. The house itself satisfies most daily needs. Additional needs can be met outside of the community. Residents are friendly, though not outgoing towards neighbors, therefore privacy is of primary importance. Views throughout the neighborhood are vital to screening certain elements and framing others. Commercial development is not critical to a retreat neighborhood, as the residents have access to outside resources. Any commercial development will be centralized in a small area.

Vision: The South End aims to reinforce the individual, ownership, and personal space by creating a self-contained setting where residents can find rest, healing, and comfort.


Streetscape and hierarchy are some of the most vital aspects of the retreat neighborhood. These control and restrict the flow of outsiders into the community, as well as provide the major aesthetic atmosphere for the South End. The role of streets in the South End is to control traffic and aid the peaceful atmosphere. Forcing traffic to use certain streets will allow other streets to become more residential. A hierarchy of streets allows traffic to be constrained to Bond Street, Piggott Avenue, 15th Street, and 19th Street. Through manipulation of the existing grid pattern residential streets will be redesigned through four proposed methods and provide a calm streetscape with enclosed lots. Particular streets would be removed and adjacent streets would terminate in cul-de-sacs. Split lane streets and shared drives are other options to control views from the street and reduce views from within the lots.


The home is the building block of the retreat neighborhood. Houses reflect individual tastes and lifestyles while streets and landscape features assure privacy. Single-family housing lots will become wider, increasing yard space. They will have individual garages, and the front doors of each home will be recessed. Increased setbacks from the streets will also be introduced. Gates and fences around the home will foster safety and security, and plantings will be used to create more backyard activity, as well as to buffer views from streets and neighbors. Existing multi-family housing will include pedestrian lighting, and courtyards will be defined by fencing. The courtyards will also be developed for residents' enjoyment and privacy.


Parks and open spaces are excellent places for residents of a retreat to enjoy peace and public beauty as well as activities with neighbors and friends when they choose to. Lincoln Park and the railroad right of way are two open spaces that will provide recreation and serve as a retreat for residents. Lincoln Park, however, will experience minimal change. A meadow will replace two baseball fields to provide a place to walk and enjoy scenery. The rolling landscape reflects the unique architecture of the Mary Brown Center. Wrought iron fencing around the outside of Lincoln Park provides an attractive form of security for the residents. Both the elevated railroad tracks and the tracks along the southern edge of the neighborhood will undergo change. The supports for the elevated tracks will be painted for visual appeal. Sculptures will be placed along the railroad right of way to create more views. Prairie grasses and trees will be planted along the southern tracks to screen the railroad from residents. A bike path will also be introduced as a new activity along the tracks.


Retreat neighborhood lifestyle tends to be more inwardly focused. With less activity outside the home, the streets will become safer because there are fewer areas of interaction. (refer to board 2) Some minor changes that focus on safety include the fence surrounding Lincoln Park, pedestrian lighting, fenced in yards, and creating a cleaner environment around the railroad tracks. All of the effort for community service is focused on Lincoln Park, specifically the Mary Brown Center. (refer to board 3)