RossChapinArchitect Ross Chapin is internationally known for his work designing modestly sized residences and creating pocket-neighborhoods where community can thrive.

In this two-part interview we explore a range of his big ideas including:

  • Zugunruhe* moments – using a concept that comes from the study of migratory birds to explore what we’re feeling as a society these days.
  • Finding your passion – and where Ross found his.
  • The beauty-mind – where we can access our deep sensing in our bodies and bring it to bear on our decisions and planning.

Part two:

    • How Ross has applies the ideas of architect Christopher Alexander to his work.
    • Questions that can support our thriving.

* To read the Zugunruhe book Ross refers to click here.

Find the complete two-part interview on ITunes by clicking here.

Here are my short reflections on the interview:

More on Ross

In addition to his work as an architect and designer, Ross is a student of community and what helps communities to thrive. He has discovered and written about how the design of pocket neighborhoods can lead to a big feeling of community in a relatively small space.

Inspired by the work of British architect Christopher Alexander, (A Pattern Language), Ross has been exploring what it is about certain places, houses, and communities that makes us feel good, and that brings out our best.  He applies Alexander’s concepts in tangible and beautiful ways.

Ross’ March 2011 book Pocket Neighborhoods: Creating Small-Scale Community in a Large-Scale World (Taunton Press) has been featured in hundreds of news outlets from USA Today to Builder Magazine to The Wall Street Journal, where it made the bestseller list.

He leads an architectural and planning firm near Seattle, Wash., and has been a development partner on six pocket neighborhood projects. These prototypes have received significant national media coverage, professional peer review, and numerous national housing awards. Additionally, he has designed more than 40 neighborhoods across the U.S., Canada and the U.K. for other developers.

Projects by his office have won numerous design awards including the 2005, 2007 and 2009 American Institute of Architects Housing Awards, and have been featured in Residential Architect, Builder Magazine, Planning Magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and more than 30 books, including Solving Sprawl, Superbia, Housing for Niche Markets, and Sarah Susanka’s Not So Big House series.

He lives on beautiful Whidbey Island, north of Seattle.  See his work at or

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