Shared Spaces & ‘Hood Builders

Community Living Room


2002 to present

The Community Living Room project grew out of a challenge familiar to many urban communities: How can the quality of a neighborhood be improved without opening it up to gentrification? In 2002, Steve Rasmussen Cancian’s Shared Spaces Landscape Architecture and ‘Hood Builders started working
with local community members in several low-income California neighborhoods to explore the question. Drawing from the tradition in many predominantly black neighborhoods of locals gathering on stoops and street corners, often improvising seating from crates or scrap wood, the designers created groupings of outdoor furniture that make neighborhoods better for current residents in a way that might also make them less attractive to gentrifiers. They have realized dozens of outdoor living rooms in Northern and Southern California.

Community, Economy, Pleasure, Sustainability
25 - 10,000
4 hours to 6 weeks
2 - 10
Problem - improve neighborhoods without displacing residents
Solution - nurture micro street culture