The design concept of the ‘Kitchen (work) Triangle’ has become well appreciated thanks to the popularity of home renovations and interior design over the past two decades.
The notion of the ‘kitchen triangle’ is entirely a matter of utilitarian functionality, on which the whole design is based: the ‘triangle’ includes the most used utilities …
* refrigerator – cold storage site
* sink – cleaning, preparation site
* oven/stove – cooking work site
This is one of the most common and well understood/accepted examples of ‘ergonomics‘: the study of effective and efficient design, according to human bio-mechanics.
I believe the ‘kitchen (work) triangle’ is an important analogy and model for the design of our communities – we ought to think of a ‘Community Triangle’ of our most important ’sites’: home, groceries, school … etc.
The conventional ‘rules’ of the kitchen work triangle have established a set (tool kit) of ideal distances, or ‘minimums’ and ‘Maximums’:
* each ’side’ of the kitchen work triangle should be within 4 and 9 feet (1 – 3 metres)
* the total of the three ’sides’ should be between 12 and 26 feet (3.5 – 8m)
* the ’sides’ of the work triangle should be clear of obstructions (cabinets, etc.)
* the work triangle should be clear of household traffic
Distances shorter than suggested result in uncomfortably constrained working conditions; while, longer distances impose additional wasteful ’steps’ and reach.
Consider, now, this same notion on a larger scale: the ‘Community Triangle’.
We know that appropriate, thoughtful design improves the functional effectiveness of a ’space’, and by consequence, overall pleasure/happiness (reduced stress), etc. These same ergonomic principles of the ‘kitchen (work) triangle apply to the design of our neighbourhoods and communities.
We ought to be devise an appropriate ‘tool kit’ of design parameters … such as:
* main ‘utilities’: home; groceries; workplace, community centre, school, etc.
* Max. distances according to walking speeds (slow, medium, fast: according to ability)
* free flow pedestrian mobility (walking, cycling ‘ways’)
In the future, (and hopefully sooner rather than later), perhaps the notion of ‘Community Triangle’ will have become commonplace and appreciated … as a result of our having ‘renovated’ our neighbourhoods and communities, just as we’ve renovated our individual buildings.
This is what Urban Transformation is all about … re-developing what we already have, to improve the functional effectiveness and aesthetics.
This is how we can achieve the resilience of a truly sustainable society.
Urban Transformation is the means to truly Thrive.