Serving underprivileged families, Winnipeg’s Centre Village housing cooperative utilizes design to help revitalize a neglected inner-city neighbourhood and to provide its residents with a unique setting that inspires pride and encourages community-building. The site was an abandoned L-shaped lot zoned for six single-family houses. Instead, the project established a micro village of 25-dwellings within six, three-storey blocks that would be easy to build and maintain. The blocks’ arrangement both defines and animates two public spaces – a through-street and a shared courtyard – that weave the city through the project and provide amenities for residents and the surrounding neighbourhood. The landscaped courtyard offers a calm and protected place for children to play, and the new street is an informal meeting place. Each dwelling has its own entrance, either at grade or up an exterior staircase, thus reducing internal circulation and the size of the overall building, and also prompting residents to connect and get to know one another.
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