Introduction – You hear a lot about “mixed use” or multi-use facilities. Is a 3CFortress similar to these facilities? A resounding yes! A 3CFortress site or complex uses office space (corporate), housing units (apartments and condominiums), retail stores and a hotel as base units. Be aware that not all mixed-use facilities can be a 3CFortress. I say this because you don’t see mixed use with the base units found in a 3CFortress. But today I want to review some of the base elements of a 3CFortress stand alone or as part of a larger city.
Main Essay – Mixed-use, simply is great to see as a developing trend. I see the trend as a move toward mixed-use facilities. It opens the door for the 3CFortress idea to take off.
It is ironic that very close to the first mixed-use area that a typical sprawl type building is set up. Most of the time this is a large apartment complex with nothing next to it. Nothing in it that fits my “living triangle” or 3CF theme. People living there have to get in their vehicle in order to get food, eat out or go for some recreation. Most of the time a walkway or path doesn’t exit to connect this facility to anything. That is why I call it sprawl or at least poor urban planning.
I wonder what the city planners thought when the designed townships inside counties across the nation. Townships could be boroughs or any other division of a county within a state. Where I think we missed the boat on planning is how the cities and businesses would operate and be set up inside them. The other problem in older areas is removing old structures that have long since lost their usability. Why should old houses somehow be made into retail and office spaces? Talk about a location issue where parking and going to the next business might mean getting back in our vehicle. This would never happen if they tore down the old facilities (which requires jobs to do that) and build a 3CF complex.
New areas looking to incorporate or become a village should seriously consider the 3CF theme. A 3CFortress can become the nucleus of a complex area that is self-supportive (another 3CF base idea). It isn’t a freestanding castle and it can incorporate individual houses into the complex. It all depends on what can be supported and if that support level is exceeded then a new 3CF needs to be started to correctly handle the growth.
Not sure if there are guiding principles for mixed-use but they do “mix” housing and retail with a restaurant or two throne in for good measure. What they are missing is a grocery or farmers market and a hotel tower. With all these together they are not 3CF. Without all these together they are not sustainable in the long run. A 3CFortress has to be self-supporting or very close to it. The basic needs of water and food have to be met and create a walk able “living triangle”. Again, that is being able to walk from home to work and recreation sites. On a side note, think about how much time and energy this saves. It is possible to live in a 3CFortress and not own a vehicle and pay the associated taxes and insurance.
What the 3CFortress concept is trying to do is satisfy those leaving the city (for whatever reason) and those uncomfortable with living in the remote suburbs or country. By offering office spaces to work from and retails store jobs a person can live and walk to work with ease. When it comes time to relax those living in a 3CF can walk to eat out or a park for some recreation/exercise. If you have people staying over or visiting then they have the hotel option to consider.
As the 3CFortress grows or is planned to grow, then the complex can be part of a city renewal or expansion. Many of the old town squares are having trouble adapting to the times. Incorporating a 3CF into the town square and the city proper is definitely a way to consider.
Another future topic is about “Garden Cities” and starting your own Village. Garden City is a great concept that somehow missed its chance in history. There are a few areas where they retain this Garden City theme and do it very well. As a 3CF is scaled up it can continue to be a Win-Win for everyone involved. It can be a profitable enterprise and provide the needed business continuity to over come a crisis or emergency situation.
Check It Out – Another related trend is all about “micro-apartments”. Agora Financial recently wrote out this in one of their 5 Minute articles. Micro-apartments are about 225 square feet. Wow! The article talked about the transformation of the Arcade Providence in Providence, RI into a mixed-used facility. What a great way to take a failed mall on the historic register into micro-apartments. Each has a bathroom, bedroom, storage and tiny kitchen. Developer Evan Granoff figured out how to make it happen. Stay tuned for a future article “Architecture and Architect” as they play a key role in making a 3CFortress become reality.
Quick Tip – Think about living in a micro-apartment. How is it different than a loft apartment? Could you do it? Can you see yourself living and working in a 3CFortress?
Look Who’s Talking …about Ebola quarantines. One of the medical risks is dealing with a pandemic. Until recently other pandemics were more likely (Flu) but Ebola has become the number one concern of late. A 3CF should have some type of medical facility in it or close by. Can you imagine that it would be much easier to secure a 3CFortress and still remain in business? It is much easier to control who comes in and who goes out if you (the community) have the “living triangle” area secured.
What Do You Think? The feedback is growing and all I can say is keep it coming. Time to start getting 3CFortress to the “Buzz” stage.