The spaces leading up to the front doors of our homes – porches, front gardens, access decks and communal lobbies – are as important as locks and bolts in providing us with a sense of security. They form a permeable barrier between the public street and the privacy of the home, but they also need to be welcoming and attractive: an area of transition to stop and chat to a neighbour, greet the postman or where children can play safely.
These areas provide the threshold where people's private realms meet the street, balancing security and welcome: designed to encapsulate the sense of 'coming home'. They provide an intermediary space where individual lives are expressed and celebrated in public – so that even the most standardised housing designs are personalised by those who live there.
Humans are sociable animals, but having a space in which to meet and talk to neighbours immediately outside our homes is also important in giving a sense of shared ownership of our local neighbourhood. Today, with people living increasingly mobile lives and with those who make up our local community often changing, it is even more important that the design of our homes provides easy and comfortable places where we can interact with and get to know each other.