Just Big Enough-- small lots | small units | BIG IDEAS is the City's overall effort to encourage development in the most sustainable areas of the city, the places where people can walk to live, work, shop, and play and lots everywhere in the city designed to increase affordable housing and preserve critical open space. This effort was enshrined is the City's Sustainable Northampton Comprehensive Plan and our most recent zoning amendments.
The Just Big Enough- Green Housing for ALL design, was a design competition to highlight how we can create very small very green housing that is affordable to people left out of the green housing market, and find a design solution to some surplus city-owned lots.
We do hear from residents who are concerned that encouraging development can change the character of their neighborhood. Interestingly, as family size has dropped in Northampton and the amount of space per person has gone up, we have found that even when new housing units are added to a neighborhood, overall population in existing neighborhoods continues to decline. The city has looked at neighborhoods and found that in many cases, the neighborhoods with the greatest density are most desired by the market. Design may be more important then density in determining what makes a neighborhood great.
As part of that discussion of density and good design, the city and Western Mass AIA sponsored the small lots | BIG IDEAS design competition, which had 23 entries on showing great designs on small lots. As part of the design competition, the city sold a lot it owned at 1 Garfield Avenue for a small house on a small lot.
Discussion has begun on what will happen at the Lyman Estate on Fort Hill when Smith College sells most of the property. How will this site contribute to the City?
Increasingly, we are seeing the kinds of small lots and small dwelling units that this project envisioned being created in Northampton. See new small lots for examples of recent Northampton projects.