I’ve been reading some books on Neo-urbanism and have found the movement pretty fascinating. The idea is a throwback (with improvements) to the pre-war urban planning which consisted of a much higher population density than we currently have. The result was more efficient use of space, more nearby amenities and a closer sense of neighborhood. This is why I like and we enjoy the loft district on Washington Ave. here in St. Louis, though it’s only our temporary home. It’s the ultimate counter-weight to sub-urban sprawl.
A result of packing more people and amenities into a smaller area is that the community is more intertwined, for better or worse. Last night we got the experience of the ‘worse’ part of the close proximity of the loft district. At 3:30am the attached Copia Urban winery and restaurant caught on fire. This forced our entire loft building and another building to evacuate immediately for fear the fire would spread to our buildings. Living on the 8th floor we were a bit freaked out since we needed to take the stairs down the entire way w/ our dog in tow. Fortunately it all worked out, though we were freezing outside and inconvenienced for a number of hours.
The experience did bring to light the comfort we’ll have when living in our own home which is separated by at least 5 feet on each side. During the wait we also become more acquainted w/ our neighbors and we look forward to having them over some time soon. The upside was that everyone is sharing the same problem, so you’re not alone.