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Thorne Group


What makes Urban Ridge so Special? (Part 2)

Even when l was younger, many of my memories are of Dad (Bob Thorne) working passionately on Urban Ridge. Even his leisure time in the weekends would be spent driving around, chatting to residents and watering the grass. Over time others started to take notice of the development, and a few years ago the Centre for Housing Research Aotearoa New Zealand commissioned a 25-page report to analyse just what made Urban Ridge so successful.

Aside from the design of the homes themselves (refer to Urban Ridge design blog), it was the tangible community spirit that appealed to many. A sense of connection to others, something that residents were seeking, in a natural, authentic way, without structure. Maybe it is because we exist in world where we tend to barely know those that live in our neighbourhood, that has people drawn to the opposite.

The following quotes from residents were included in the report.

“I would lend my car to anyone that lived here”.

“There are a few of us that would see quite a bit of each other. We meet for a coffee or have a catch up. I’ve really got really nice neighbours, so we see quite a lot of each other.”

Essentially everyone enjoys the feeling that they can depend on their neighbours in a crisis or have their neighbours keep an eye on their property while they are away. This sense of community is felt to be different from other streets/places where people have lived. People find it difficult to put their finger on exactly how this spirit has developed.

Urban Ridge Residents

In the March 2020 lockdown, when there were flour and toilet paper shortages, the residents rallied together, and the sense of community spirit was even more evident. Checking in on each other, cul-de-sac cuppas (or wines), just a chat or to deliver supplies to those that were more vulnerable. It functioned as all communities should aspire to be, like the communities of yesteryear, where connection to others was prioritized.

Urban Ridge Residents


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