Front porches

Posted on 19. Sep, 2012 by

I came across a story in USA Today this week about the rise in the number of new homes being constructed with front porches. The story said that this trend “hints at a shift in the way Americans want to live: in smaller houses and dense neighborhoods that promote walking and social interaction.”

Interestingly, the story points out that the trend of back porches or decks seems to be declining.

Now the story is mainly talking about urban areas. Out here in Wise County and other more rural locales, the front porch (and back porch) is alive and well.

Still, it could indicate an interesting trend. With all of the technology at our fingertips, actual face-to-face social interaction has seemed to decline in recent years. Could we be seeing the beginning of a shift back to more “human” interaction?

From the USA Today story: “The front porch acts as a social mechanism,” says Christopher Leinberger, president of Smart Growth America’s LOCUS, a coalition of developers and investors who promote walking over driving.

“You sit on the porch and talk to people walking by without having to invite them in. It’s outdoor space without taking up too much space.”

I guess the reason the story caught my eye (other than the fact that I’ve been spending more time on my own front porch during recent evenings with the cooler temperatures) is the fact that we’ve talked in newsroom meetings in the past about doing such a story locally. I think our photographer, Joe Duty, has even scouted out some local front porches he’d love to shoot.

But a front porch itself won’t make a story. The people who use them have the stories. So how about it? Anybody have some favorite front porch stories to share?

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