A serviceable place is one where you can find the basic services of life within walking distance in your neighborhood, and the people serving you those services can afford to live nearby as well. We've made great strides with putting homes, businesses, and other services back together in recent years, but there is more left to be accomplished with nearby affordable housing.
Desks & Shelves
You can find a desk in almost any hotel room, but a desk plus shelves allows you to really unpack and set up shop, transforming the smallest of cottages or rooms into live/work units. This suite is only 14’ x 24’, for example, but the workspace would foster working for weeks at a time.
A place can become serviceable the hard way… by cultivating businesses over the years that cater to the citizens of a place. Daryl Davis heroically cultivated over a hundred businesses at Seaside; Orjan Lindroth created markets in the Bahamas where none existed before. Or it can harness a strong economic engine that provides the services needed by the place. The classic example is an assisted living center, where the cafeteria can be a sidewalk cafe for the town; the mail room can be the post office; the meeting hall can be the town hall, etc. Here’s a story of how it can work.
Dedicated office and retail spaces come into a new neighborhood relatively late in the game, after there are enough customers living nearby to support their businesses. Live/work units, on the other hand, are much more resilient because everyone expects to pay for where they live; the fact that it comes with a place to work is a bonus, whereas a dedicated shop or office is burdened with paying the mortgage or the rent. The live/work unit shown here, for example, was the first building built in the entire neighborhood.
A single-crew workplace like this one makes all sorts of things possible in the early years of a neighborhood or village that are considered impossible today because it’s small enough to be run by a single crew. Here’s a post on how single-crew workplaces make amazing things happen.
A tiny cottage like this one doesn’t have to be used as a place to live. Because it’s so small, it can be adapted to many uses. An architect or engineer could run their small practice out from here, as could businesses like a small homebuilder. It could be an artist’s studio, a musician’s studio, a photographer’s gallery, or so many other things. And buildings that can be many things inevitably help a neighborhood become a more servicable place.