Above: Here is a porch in a cul-de-sac filled with porches. See more of the porches here.
Homebuilders across the country have reported an increase in the popularity of front porches. That is the assessment of Arizona builder Andy Warren, who reported the trend in the the Explorer newspaper earlier this month.
Warren recalls 10 years ago when Phil Gordon, then the mayor of Phoenix, announced that he had identified a “secret weapon” in the fight against neighborhood crime, and that secret weapon is just what we have been talking about: sitting out in front of your house.
Back then, the mayor launched his Front Porch Bench Initiative to urge residents to buy a bench, place it in front of their homes, and sit on it as a way to interact with neighbors.
Notice that the mayor used the word “bench” rather than “porch” to identify his initiative. And that’s because so many homes all over the place, including Arizona, have no front porches. There’s just a walkway, a door, and SLAM, no more connection with the community.
We here at Front Porch Nation aim, of course, to correct that with our advocacy initiatives to encourage the construction and use of front porches as a way to strengthen communities.
For those without front porches, there often still exists what we call a “porch impulse,” the desire for connection and community. And we have documented that impulse here.
According to Warren, there are several theories for an interest in front porches:
- Post-recession, people are looking at their homes as a place to build memories, not just as an investment.
- Front porches harken back to a simpler time.
- Front porches add architectural interest.
- Front porches increase curb appeal.
- Home buyers crave a sense of community.
We’ll choose “all of the above.”
What do you think? Are porches getting more popular? What is driving that popularity?