Wikipedia identifies a village as “a clustered human settlement or community, larger than a hamlet but smaller than a town, with a population ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand. Though often located in rural areas, the term urban village is also applied to certain urban neighborhoods. “
While this might be true and a great textbook definition of a village, my impression of a village usually is surrounded more by the form and function of this special place and why these areas make us feel at home. I always find when someone asks me what my vision is for our downtown or any redevelopment area I often come back to them by saying, we are working to bring back a village setting.
Society and development have veered away from the classic idea of a village so much that it almost feels like discovering a foreign land when you come upon a village like setting. And while the small population making up a village might be a unique characteristic, to me it’s the interaction and mixture of public spaces, building orientation and architecture, streets as a place for more than just a car and how we interact with each other in these spaces that are what make great villages truly outstanding and memorable. This is true whether you are in Greenwich Village NYC, population 10 Billion, or a small village like the one I visited in Love Saskatchewan, population 100.
So next time you find yourself in a setting that makes you want to stop, get out of your car and walk around, I’ll bet you are in a village. So don’t miss out on the opportunity to discover these great places and try to uncover what makes each one of them unique and homey.