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Suburbia, Redefined: Experimental Neighborhood Offers Density, Diversity, and Design

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This mix-and-match plan isn't your parents' version of suburban living

A former US army barracks in Mannheim, Germany, could be transformed into a next-generation vision of a suburban village. But don't let the mention of suburbia conjure visions of drab, conformist homogeneity -- this one's might break the mold.

Designed by ambitious Dutch architecture firm MVRDV in collaboration with homebuilder Traumhaus, Funari, a green patchwork of a neighborhood, is supposed to be a new model for suburban living. The 6.67-acre (27,000-square-meter) development would weave together pedestrian paths, private gardens, and numerous housing options, a holistic plan intended to attract diverse demographics.

The scheme includes five different categories of housing in various sizes and configurations, meant to appeal to everyone from students to young couples, growing families, and seniors. The village's plan would intentionally group together different housing designs based on a predefined ratio in a bid to promote interaction, with student apartments integrated into the same building as senior homes, or singles living next door to families or recently retired couples.

Visually, the varied designs help reflect residential diversity. The designers also built in a high level of customizability so each home can better accommodate desires for personalization and changing living circumstances.

A parking garage beneath the complex helps free up space for public gardens and sports areas while keeping the development accessible for commuters. The colorful structures recall a set of children's building toys, but they're a serious bid to create a diverse, tight-knit community in the real world.

MVRDV Partners with Traumhaus to Reinvent Affordable Living in the Suburbs [Arch Daily]

The Netherlands' Largest Market is MVRDV's 'Horseshoe' [Curbed]