Jewel Box Homes in Pocket Neighborhoods

The "Jewel Box Home" Pocket Neighborhood Concept

Whether it is re-establishing neighborhoods or establishing affordable housing to build communities, Jewel-box homes using the Pocket Neighborhood concept is a sustainable approach.

While an attractive approach to owners wishing to down-size or have the ability to relocate frequently,  current wave of "tiny homes" is not normally in the best interest of communities.  They may require reductions in or exemptions from local zoning and codes. While tiny homes built in cities can be connected to a sewer system for modern plumbing needs, many owners choose composting toilets so they can move anywhere without worrying about  connections.  For those who use the toilet full-time, a couple living in a tiny house may need to clean it out about once every 6 weeks.

Financing is another consideration, particularly during recovery. For those who can’t afford to buy or build a tiny house for cash, getting a loan is more challenging than it is for other home buyers. It usually isn’t possible to take out a mortgage loan because banks don’t consider a tiny house to have enough value to make good collateral. Some tiny house buyers are able to finance their houses with personal loans while others borrow money from friends and family members. There remains some question if Federal or other grants will cover the cost of these tiny houses.

Perhaps the greatest impact is on the communities themselves.

Tiny houses normally accommodate one to two persons, are portable by their nature, and have limited space. They are not conducive to families that are the foundation on which strong communities and economies are built.  The limited space reduces the storage of consumables and does not accommodate major purchases in terms of appliances and other household items.  The impact on local community businesses is that their customer base is a "tiny purchase one" that cannot sustain development of small businesses in the surrounding area. Statistically, there is a higher turnover of single bedroom homes and apartments than any other units so full featured one bedroom or two bedroom structures attract populations who stay to build the community or move to larger homes within communities as they build their careers. "Houses" are for transient and temporary populations.

In short, "Tiny Houses" are living spaces while "Jewel Box Houses" are homes where people plant roots then build families, communities and economies.

Jewel Box Homes

Tailored to the owners' way of life, smaller "jewel box" homes suit a variety of demographic groups, including newlyweds, young professionals, empty-nesters and retirees — the last two a fast-growing segment of the population. A JEWEL BOX HOME is a small home designed with top-quality materials, upscale detailing and custom finishes. The term JEWEL BOX HOME is not new. Famed architects Louis H. Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright used the term to describe some of their favorite designs.
The central idea behind Jewel Box Homes is simple: provide high quality design, construction and finish in a moderately sized home that is well-located to the everyday amenities demanded by empty nesters and young professionals. Portland has an abundance of both resources: interesting old homes in vibrant urban neighborhoods. They are also ideally suited to leverage Green building techniques and features, especially solar.
Jewel Box Homes do not need to be expensive.  In the CAI's concept supporting these areas, it means that high quality materials are used to construct sustainable housing that forms sustainable neighborhoods while meeting current codes and with the ability to withstand the next natural disaster. As such they are ideally suited for applications ranging from affordable housing to build communities economically to rebuilding after communities are destroyed in order to preserve their social networks and ensure they are better able to withstand the next natural disaster.
Jewel box Homes facilitate sustainable communities.
Pocket Neighborhoods
A Pocket Neighborhood  is pattern of housing that fosters a strong sense of community among nearby neighbors, while preserving their need for privacy. Examples can be found across the spectrum, from small towns, to suburbs to urban areas.
Pocket neighborhoods are clustered groups of neighboring houses gathered around a shared open space — a garden courtyard, a pedestrian street, a series of joined backyards, or a reclaimed alley — all of which have a clear sense of territory and shared stewardship. They can be in urban, suburban or rural areas.

These are settings where nearby neighbors can easily know one another, where empty nesters and single householders with far-flung families can find friendship or a helping hand nearby, and where children can have shirttail aunties and uncles just beyond their front gate.

A pocket neighborhood is not the wider neighborhood of several hundred households and network of streets, but a realm of a dozen or so neighbors who interact on a daily basis around a shared garden, quiet street or alley — a kind of secluded neighborhood within a neighborhood.
In a pocket neighborhood, neighbors have a shared stake in the common ground they live next to. Because of their watchfulness, strangers are taken note of and children are free to play.
There are many other social and economic advantages to this concept in terms of the people attracted to these neighborhoods, their benefits for children, growing families, young professionals, the  elderly and those with disabilities. They are also affordable.
For further information on how this concept can meet your needs, please contact the CAI.