Prairie Gardens development is a senior independent living community funded with federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2 grants. The housing development is designed as a pedestrian scaled, community centric neighborhood of sixteen cottage bungalow style duplexes organized around a communal green space. The accessible central green space provides amenities such as walking paths, lighting and benches, among native grasses, communal gardens and a community gathering pavilion that together with the cottages and the landscaping creates a well-defined, secure neighborhood and home that is pleasant, enriching, supportive and a fully accessible.
Prairie Gardens is accessed by a gently curving private lane that slows vehicular traffic and establishes and organizes the various pedestrian scaled design elements that foster both public interaction and provide a private retreat. Inspired by the best attributes and principles of traditional neighborhood planning the development minimizes the detrimental impact of vehicular access and parking while providing each unit with a private, attached garage and encourages pedestrian scaled spaces and interaction with neighborhood through well-defined elements that provide boundaries for and gradations along a public versus private scale.
Each uniquely designed cottage provides design elements that support public interaction, from garage doors that are recessed and subordinate to protruding and prominent traditional front porches, with ‘front’ window and entry doors and front gardens that overlook the entire neighborhood and communal spaces connecting in some way one resident to another. The heart of the community is the garden gathering pavilion set in the communal green.