Their Front Porch View
How looking out and looking in can be both similar and different for people in poverty
June 24, 2022 | Behind the Scenes
In the U.S., when you think of a front porch, often the entryway to the heart of a home, what images or memories come to mind?
Maybe you picture a covered structure whose shade gives respite on a warm summer day, or a beautiful view to sit and enjoy with a cup of coffee while the sun rises. Was it a place where you were asked to “check your shoes at the front door?”
It was probably a place where flowering plants were nursed to bloom in spring, where music, lyrics and learning were developed from the swing, where business was conducted, neighbors gathered to visit, and daydreaming and storytelling were always at their best.
Though the American front porch became an integral element of culture and architecture beginning in the 19th century, evolving from a symbol of status to one of functional design, the concept of the porch is very much an international creation. From the columned porticos of ancient Greece and Rome to the covered stoops of the shotgun houses of West Africa (a narrow, rectangular style of house also common in the American South), the concept of the porch is almost as old as time.
The view from within and without may look different for families in poverty around the globe, but many things remain the same. By any name — porch, veranda, portico, stoop — it is still a place where we “gather,” to make music, complete tasks, learn, find community, witness beauty or contemplate perspective.
Here are eight “front porch” views of the Unbound community across the globe.