Room for Thought: Rethinking Home and Community Design

By Avi Friedman. Toronto: Penguin Canada, 2005.

This collection of 21 essays by Avi Friedman, prolific author and Professor of Architecture at McGill University, provides insight into various aspects of North American housing and communities. Drawing upon his experience as an architect, planner and educator, Friedman explores issues as far-reaching as the motivations behind the kinds of homes we purchase to the landscape and urban design elements that create successful communities. In Friedman’s own words, these essays “are about the points where design touches life, and about the big and small things that make us appreciate, or become discontented with, our homes and neighbourhoods.” The essays are divided into four sections: the focus of the first is on the home and domestic issues; the second concerns neighbourhoods and cities; construction methods, energy efficiency and sustainability issues of home building are examined in the third section; and finally, Friedman’s personal experiences as an architect, homeowner and parent drive the concluding segment.