Pocket Neighborhood Case Studies

We've been talking a lot about pocket neighborhoods lately...

A pocket neighborhood is a small-scale neighborhood that includes a cluster of houses or apartments centered around a shared common space such as a courtyard garden, café, etc. Pocket neighborhood communities provide the comfort of personal space with the option of creating neighborly connections. Each community member shares a sense of ownership of the shared space which helps to strengthen the fabric of the community.

The following mini-case studies were put together for a project we're working on for Madison County, NY, which is hoping to pilot a 'Canalside Pocket Neighborhood' in the Village of Canastota along the Erie Canal. We examined existing pocket neighborhoods to gain an understanding of the size, amenities, and demographics that surround these developments. The case studies were located in areas of varying median household incomes and median home values, indicating that pocket neighborhoods can be scaled to suit different types of communities.

Cottages at River Hill

Located in West Newbury, Massachusetts, the Cottage at River Hill a 24-acre fully occupied pocket neighborhood. The neighborhood offers countryside views overlooking the Merrimack River, shared barbecues, fireplace within the pocket park, walking trails, and community garden for growing vegetables.

Homes within the community range from 1,200 to 2,400 square feet with two and three-bedroom layouts. Each of the 32 homes offer luxury amenities including high-end fixtures, kitchens, baths, front porches, and attached garage. Home sales ranged from $483,000 to $602,000 in 2016.1 For more detailed information on the Cottages at River Hill, West Newbury community please visit: http://cottagesatriverhill.com

Cottages at River Hill are located within the Town of West Newbury, Massachusetts which has the following socioeconomic figures:

  • Median household income: $128,658 (2017)
  • Median home value: $585,878 (2017)
  • Neighborhood price range: $483,000 to $602,000 (2016)

Source: The Cottages at River Hill

Cottages on Greene

The Cottages on Greene are located in the Town of East Greenwich, Rhode Island. The community is a comprised of 15 mixed-income condominiums located on a 0.85-acre lot. Units range from single units, duplexes and townhouse structures with floor plans ranging from 850 to 1,100 square feet. The cottages are centered around a common green and gardens, with small bridges and boardwalks creating a walkway over ponds. The community shares a communal garden and linear court. The community is also equipped with storm water management systems, including retention ponds and rain gardens, throughout the site’s walkway network.

The price point for units aims to accommodate a mix of incomes, with five units deeds as affordable housing and ten units at market rate. Sale prices for the Cottages on Greene range from $240,000 to $290,000.2

Cottages on Greene are located within the Town of East Greenwich, Rhode Island which has the following socioeconomic figures:

  • Median household income: $93,850 (2017)
  • Median home value: $457,463 (2017)
  • Neighborhood price range: $240,000 to $290,000 (2018)

Source: Union Studio

Aurora Pocket Neighborhood

The Aurora Pocket Neighborhood is located on Aurora Street in Ithaca, New York. There is a total of four units within the community, each unit is energy efficient with bio-mass boilers and solar panels. Housing units range from 1,350 to 1,550 square feet. The landscape surrounding the homes are gardens with fruit tree, berry bushes, nut trees and vegetable gardens, offering food for the residents to share. There are also composting facilitates and shared tools and equipment for all community members.  Home purchase prices range from $280,000 and $350,000.3

The Aurora Pocket Neighborhood is in the City of Ithaca, New York, which has the following socioeconomic figures:

  • Median household income: $32,349 (2017)
  • Median home value: $198,216 (2017)
  • Neighborhood price range: $280,000 and $350,000 (2018)

Source: New Earth Living

Third Street Cottages

The Third Street Cottages was the first ever pocket neighborhood, constructed by Ross Chapin in 1998. Located on Whidbey Island, Washington this community paved the way for all pocket neighborhoods by confirming there that there is a market for small homes designed for one and two-person households. The community focused on key elements including layering public and private spaces, nested houses, common areas, placing parking away from houses, mailbox clusters, small cottage size, porches, and quality materials. As a result, the community received national coverage and recognition.

The Third Street Cottages community consists of eight tiny homes surrounded by a community garden. All cottages have less than 1,000 square feet of space. They are mainly occupied my singles and couples between the ages of 40 and 65. Professions ranger from computer software, artists, musicians, attorney, and retirees.

In 1998, the cottages sold for approximately $142,900 each.4 Since its development in 1998, the cottages have been resold for as much as 250% the original price.5

Third Street Cottages are located on Whidbey Island, Washington in Langley City, which has the following socioeconomic figures:

  • Median household income: $48,843 (2017)
  • Median home value: $429,798 (2017)

Source: Ross Chapin Architects

Inglenook of Carmel

Also designed by Ross Chapin, Inglenook of Carmel is pocket neighborhood in Carmel, Indiana. The neighborhood has 27 cottages that range from two to four-bedroom designs. Cottages range from 1,200 to upwards of 1,900 square feet. The cottages focus on warmth and charm and are complete with large windows and front porches to create a bright atmosphere. Designs also include an array of space saving bookshelves, nooks, and alcoves. The community itself shares central green spaces and alleys which provide access to home garages. Cottages were sold at numerous price points ranging from $295,000 to $460,000.6

Inglenook of Carmel are located within the Indianapolis metropolitan area in Zionsville, Indiana, which has the following socioeconomic figures:

  • Median household income: $116,911 (2017)
  • Median home value: $371,349 (2017)

Source: Inglenook Cottage Homes



[1] Maloney Properties, Inc Real Estate Brokerage

[2] Zillow

[3] Ithaca.com “Aurora Pocket Neighborhood open house will showcase design, co-housing model”

[4] Redfin

[5] Ross Chaplin Architects

[6] Zillow

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