Even in quiet, leafy suburbs there are developments that were built before current regulations were enforced requiring defensible space and communal amenities. Within the city itself, many residents only have a balcony or a window, and the weeks of confinement now appear to stretch longer proportionally to how little access to the private outdoor amenity residents have.   

As people are weeks into an enforced lockdown, the advantage of owning a private outdoor space has become apparent now more than ever. They symbolize new kinds of freedom — to embrace social isolation without feeling trapped, and to enjoy fresh air without worrying about breathing in the virus. Looking ahead, it is clearly evident that future developments must address the need for private outdoor space, and embrace this consideration in a socially conscious manner.

Potential solutions include: a terrace, roof garden, courtyard garden or balcony. Setting aside allotment spaces as de rigeur on urban projects and giving priority to residents that only have balcony space, larger balconies and patios for affordable housing schemes, and larger defensible spaces on courtyards and podiums could be possible outcomes. Private open space should be practical in terms of its shape and utility, and care should be taken to ensure the space offers good amenity.