Urban Cottages & Defensible Space Theory
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Small
“Smallness is essential to identity, so a mini-neighborhood should consist of a grouping of no more than three to six streets.
“ Urban Cottage developments are inherently small projects, slipped into spaces between existing neighborhoods.

Predominantly Single-Family
“The percentage of single-family houses versus multifamily housing on each street is also an important factor. This is
because in single-family houses, the front yard belongs to the family.”  All homes in an Urban Cottage development are
single family with small privately owned front yards.

Similar Architecture to Area
“A mini-neighborhood should consist of a grouping of streets sharing similar housing characteristics: building type, building
size, lot size, setbacks from the street, building materials, architectural style, and density.”  The homes in an Urban Cottage
development share these features, but also are designed to appear architecturally similar to the surround area.

Maximum control of exterior spaces
“Single-family homes space closely together and close to the street create the most secure exterior city spaces.  This single-
family home model, each exterior space is claimed by the occupants.  The smaller the spaces and the more they explicitly
belong to a particular housing unit more secure they are.” .In an urban cottage development every square foot of exterior
space is designated both legally and visually to a particular home so that no unclaimed spaces exists.  According to security
by design principles this is unquestionably the most secure type of exterior space and this makes this unit type particularly
suitable for urban transitional areas between typical single-family residential areas and higher density commercial urban
areas.

Maximum control surrounding Streets
The HUD study goes on to state that compact single-family homes are the most effective building model for the control city
streets. “Because of the close juxtaposition of the street to the private front lawn of each dwelling, residents are concerned
about ensuring its safety and act to maintain and control it. In actual fact, only the very central portion of each street is truly
public in nature. If the street were narrow, even the activity in this central portion would be considered accountable to
neighboring residents.”  The streets in Urban Cottage Development are as narrow as practical, to reduce traffic speeds and
promote pedestrian uses and control.

Definite Neighborhood Boundaries
“Mini neighborhoods should have definite boundaries.  It instills a sense of ownership, and enhancing proprietary feelings is
what Defensible Space modifications are all about.“  Urban Cottage Developments do not have physically restricted borders,
but have strong visual boundaries to establish ownership and identity.

Facilitate Access but Discourage Through-Traffic
“Mini-neighborhoods and their access arterials should be designed to facilitate access but discourage through-traffic.”  The
streets in Urban Cottage Development are as narrow as practical, reducing traffic speeds and through traffic.
CitySpace Homes
Urban Cottage developments are essentially mini-neighborhoods that embody
many of the essential principles proposed by founder of defensible space theory,
Oscar Newman.  
According to Newman, mini-neighborhoods are the most
effective method of creating defensible spaces and should have these
essential characteristics:
Defensible Space Theory
is a widely accepted urban planning
concept that seeks to understand how
the built environment can create
inherently safe communities in urban
environments
Urban Cottages
Planning Concepts

General Concepts

Key Features of  
Urban Cottages

Advantages of Urban
Cottages

Public & Private Zones

Defensible Space
Theory & Urban
Cottages

Comparison of Density
with other Building
Formats

Effects on
Surrounding Areas