Reinventing the Cul-de-Sac


As was obvious from comments to our post on the End of the Road for the Cul-de-sac, people who live on them love'em, and did not take kindly to them being called "cesspools of self-absorption and pettiness that turn their backs on the wider world" But there is no question that they do not permit higher densities are are pretty much car-dependent, and unlike grid systems, do not lend themselves to redevelopment and change.

Or do they? Malaysian architect Mazlin Ghazali notes that "In developing countries only the very rich can afford to live in quarter-acre single-family houses located in a cul-de-sac. How can the cul-de-sac be made affordable for more people and for the environment? Can we have cul-de-sacs without sprawl?" He then builds on traditional Muslim tessilated designs to turn them into honeycombs with duplex, triplex, quadruplex or sextuplex units.


"The Muslim craftsmen in Spain in the 15th century created beautifully complex visual effects by tessellating a small basic tile pattern. Intricate and complex designs can be built up from basic tile patterns in a simple way by this process."


"First, we improve the cul-de-sac by making it bigger to be able to fit in a public green area in the middle because local planning regulations require 10% of any residential development to be open space.

Then we create an interlocking arrangement of cul-de-sacs such that each building lot would face at least two cul-de-sacs. If the buildings in this layout were detached houses, they would be in the top range of the market.

In Honeycomb housing, we sub-divide the building lots into 2, 3, 4 or 6, to create duplex, triplex, quadruplex or sextuplex units."


"As we divide the lots, the land area and the built-up area become smaller; the number of units in the layout and the density of the development go up. The standard of finishes of the units can also be reduced.

All these make the housing units less expensive. Yet every building lot still retains a public access. Furthermore, the quality of the external environment is not compromised; only that more units share it!"

The first Honeycomb Development in Pahang, Kuantan

Interesting idea; perhaps our suburban cul-de-sac can be rebuilt at a higher density and survive after all. Squidoo Lens ::Not the usual neighborhood layout plan and ::Tesselar