Active ground floors in residential buildings and their impact on the community

Active ground floors in residential buildings and their impact on the community

When it comes to the spaces in which they live, people need clear boundaries between them, but also a smooth transition between them, so their daily activities flow harmoniously. In addition, as long as they live in urban areas, the access to a wide range of human resources compensates for the challenges and shortcomings of this lifestyle.

Migration to cities places a great deal of responsibility on urban buildings to perform more and more functions. Mixed-use development, the physically integrated combination of residential, commercial cultural and transportation functions, consolidate the activity into a neighborhood-type structure. In our ever-densifying cities, the careful adoption and execution of mixed-use buildings is a must.

This type of diversification helps to maintain the living space permanently occupied. At the same time, multipurpose buildings inside them encourage developers to strategically invest in ground floor spaces or non-residential use. In this context, they will be inspired to find sustainable opportunities to ensure their energy efficiency, proper ventilation, favorable light and durability.

How the design of a block of flats influences the community spirit

A new concept, layering, is approached in apartment buildings that help people to socialize, to better appreciate belonging to a community. Layering places different functions and types of use, one on top of the other, within the same building and makes the most of the differences between the spaces. On the other hand, layering, specific to a very large number of conventional apartment blocks, places the same functions and the same types of use on top of each other. The advantage of layered buildings is that the ground floor can be accessed without having to climb stairs, observing from the outside, with the help of shop windows, the way the activity is carried out in that space.

Most of the time, depending on the non-residential utility given to the ground floor, its main concern will be to invite visitors to step inside. This level can be extended at any time to obtain a larger area, which otherwise is impossible for superior floors of an apartment building. In fact, the destination of the ground floor can be adapted to the needs of the community. In a residential complex, apartment buildings can have a wide range of active ground floors with various uses, these being often spaces that bring a lot of benefit to those who live in that neighborhood.

Active ground floors and their valences

h4l, home 4 life, neighborhoods that bring joy into life, h4l HOLBAN

As mentioned above, the ground floor has the potential to be more useful, more versatile and more flexible than other parts of the building, being able to accommodate very different types of uses and users. With the help of these spaces, people have the opportunity to spend more time on the street level and connect to city life. More than that, due to careful layering of the function, ground floor is activated thanks to natural light and proper ventilation, joyfully sensing the passers-by and making them linger for conversation. The setups of active ground floors visible from outside, support their active mobility, making walking a more interesting activity. Ultimately, people are able to meet a number of needs at the same time, thanks to the placement of multiple services and goods along their daily routes, which are particularly relevant for housing, workspaces, and other services.

h4l, home 4 life, neighborhoods that bring joy into life, h4l SEBASTIAN PARK

Potential functions of ground floor in residential buildings

The active ground floors have different sizes and, depending on them, the way they will be used is outlined. For example, the smallest of the can support the display of goods, but can also allow the placement of a built-in bench, leading to the creation of a small but active recreation space for those who look at the exhibits. It can easily be suitable for a fiction or newsstand, inviting people to read. As the depth of the ground floor can be used to a greater extent, an interactive coffee stand or pastry shop can find its place here. As more space is gained, the ground floor can be transformed into an environment conducive to creative and craft workshops, showrooms and galleries, being ideal for a work office or a community hub. Their specific dynamism will ensure social connection, visibility, accessibility, but also security.

So zero level can be more than just a store. As a home, the ground floor comes with convenient spaces for families with children, who can use the small garden in front of the building as a place to relax, play or store children’s bicycles and toys.

In other words, the ground floor can successfully serve as a special needs home. For people with disabilities, it provides interactions with the community around you, spending time outdoors and better mobility at ground level. Medical, dental or therapy offices can also enjoy good access to this level, being easy to find.

On the other hand, the ground floors are also perfect for carrying out activities of beauty salons, gyms, activities for children (nurseries, kindergartens, libraries), being handy and easy to access by those who live in the neighborhood. Residents of neighborhoods with active grounding will feel blessed to have plenty of services near their home, which makes their life considerably easier, saves them time and makes it easier for them to organize their routine.

In the h4l apartment building neighborhoods, the ground floor area is interactive, having even over 1700 sqm, while, in h4l apartments with garden and TOWNHOUSES neighborhood, each house has its own generous garden. Through them, we want to bring joy into life, bring people together and encourage them to enjoy each other in animated spaces, perfectly designed to provide them with simple but meaningful human experiences.


  1. David Sim, Soft City