I picked up A Pattern Language again and I had a bookmark on this pattern 36. Degrees of Publicness
People are different, and the way they want to place their houses in a neighbourhood is one of the most basic kinds of difference.
Make a clear distinction between three kinds of homes- those on quiet backwaters those on busy streets, and those that are more or less Inbetween. Make sure that those on quiet backwaters are on twisting paths, and that these houses are themselves physically secluded; make sure that the more public houses are on busy streets with many people passing by all day long and that the houses themselves are exposed to the passers-by. The inbetween houses may then be located on the paths halfway between the other two. Give every neighbourhood about an equal number of these three kinds of homes.
I have no idea why past-me found it interesting, but I know why present-me does. Working at LinkedIn (and anyone working on almost any consumer website these days) I have to consider degrees of publicness. Facebook was initially lambasted over what has become their most popular feature and now the model for their redesign: the newsfeed. The newsfeed is the equivalent of the town square where you can hear everything that’s going on with everybody and chat about it. Some people want to live on the town square, so they don’t miss a thing. Others would like to live at the edges of town, away from both prying eyes and overwhelming updates. Design of feeds tends to be one size fits all. A challenge will be figuring out intelligent and subtle ways to allow people degrees of publicness (including shelter from other people’s publicness.)