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#61 of 116 Old 01-05-2011, 01:05 PM
 
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I guess what I don't understand is, what's so soul crushing about having someone else's house having the same floor plan as yours?  Is it soul crushing to have someone buy the same outfit at the store, or the same make, model and color of car?  Why does it matter if someone's house looks just like yours?  Aren't the price, functionality and location the important things?  Why does it matter if the houses are "cookie cutter" if they work for the people living in them?  Does the stove in the kitchen not cook properly if it's in the same place for a hundred people in the same development?  Do Christmas lights not hang right if they are hanging in the same spot for a hundred other people too? 


Because if you are at all into architecture it makes walking through those neighborhoods completely mind numbing.  And if walking and looking is one of the big things you do for fun then soul crushing is not an overstatement.

 

So much the worse if its you neighborhood.

 

Price, functionality and location matter, yes, but so do beauty and historical value (the latter being the top of my list and the main reason I am willing to live in very small spaces).



 



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I must have much more resilient soul. I love architecture too, but soul crushing, seriously no. Child abuse is soul crushing, circumcision is soul crushing to me. While I love to be inspired by what I see, the term soul crushing is just well absurd in this context.

I'm with Arduinna.  Also, so many big ciities ( i am thinking san fran and chicago) have lots of neighborhoods with the same houses over and over. 

 

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://pics4.city-data.com/cpicc/cfiles5487.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.city-data.com/picfilesc/picc5487.php&usg=__hRWHyKrx-PQp34-OSL_zjWxScXY=&h=768&w=1024&sz=192&hl=en&start=0&zoom=1&tbnid=mHtexC_zAM_ogM:&tbnh=142&tbnw=176&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dsan%2Bfrancisco%2Bhouses%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26biw%3D1024%26bih%3D609%26tbs%3Disch:1&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=315&vpy=118&dur=1139&hovh=194&hovw=259&tx=168&ty=116&ei=n9skTZDkOcb_nAfHlaDUDQ&oei=n9skTZDkOcb_nAfHlaDUDQ&esq=1&page=1&ndsp=13&ved=1t:429,r:1,s:0

 

and

 

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.chicagomag.com/images/blogimport/DEB082207-1.jpg&imgrefurl=http://illinois.inetgiant.com/chicago/home/houses&usg=__lgQGYMD4N0uxDPtHHLOBsGEU3_A=&h=600&w=800&sz=110&hl=en&start=22&zoom=1&tbnid=LVUviXkx-SKDzM:&tbnh=132&tbnw=195&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dchicago%2Bhouses%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26biw%3D1024%26bih%3D609%26tbs%3Disch:10%2C1254&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=550&vpy=177&dur=240&hovh=194&hovw=259&tx=145&ty=125&ei=wdskTfWxG4jPngfp3O3QAQ&oei=utskTeSOMYbXnAeAv5TqDQ&esq=3&page=3&ndsp=13&ved=1t:429,r:11,s:22&biw=1024&bih=609
 



Having lived in San Francisco I can honestly say it is not soul crushing.



But look at all those cookie cutter houses!  ;)

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#62 of 116 Old 01-05-2011, 01:05 PM
 
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I guess what I don't understand is, what's so soul crushing about having someone else's house having the same floor plan as yours?  Is it soul crushing to have someone buy the same outfit at the store, or the same make, model and color of car?  Why does it matter if someone's house looks just like yours?  Aren't the price, functionality and location the important things?  Why does it matter if the houses are "cookie cutter" if they work for the people living in them?  Does the stove in the kitchen not cook properly if it's in the same place for a hundred people in the same development?  Do Christmas lights not hang right if they are hanging in the same spot for a hundred other people too? 


Because if you are at all into architecture it makes walking through those neighborhoods completely mind numbing.  And if walking and looking is one of the big things you do for fun then soul crushing is not an overstatement.

 

So much the worse if its you neighborhood.

 

Price, functionality and location matter, yes, but so do beauty and historical value (the latter being the top of my list and the main reason I am willing to live in very small spaces).



 



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Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post

I must have much more resilient soul. I love architecture too, but soul crushing, seriously no. Child abuse is soul crushing, circumcision is soul crushing to me. While I love to be inspired by what I see, the term soul crushing is just well absurd in this context.

I'm with Arduinna.  Also, so many big ciities ( i am thinking san fran and chicago) have lots of neighborhoods with the same houses over and over. 

 

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://pics4.city-data.com/cpicc/cfiles5487.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.city-data.com/picfilesc/picc5487.php&usg=__hRWHyKrx-PQp34-OSL_zjWxScXY=&h=768&w=1024&sz=192&hl=en&start=0&zoom=1&tbnid=mHtexC_zAM_ogM:&tbnh=142&tbnw=176&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dsan%2Bfrancisco%2Bhouses%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26biw%3D1024%26bih%3D609%26tbs%3Disch:1&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=315&vpy=118&dur=1139&hovh=194&hovw=259&tx=168&ty=116&ei=n9skTZDkOcb_nAfHlaDUDQ&oei=n9skTZDkOcb_nAfHlaDUDQ&esq=1&page=1&ndsp=13&ved=1t:429,r:1,s:0

 

and

 

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.chicagomag.com/images/blogimport/DEB082207-1.jpg&imgrefurl=http://illinois.inetgiant.com/chicago/home/houses&usg=__lgQGYMD4N0uxDPtHHLOBsGEU3_A=&h=600&w=800&sz=110&hl=en&start=22&zoom=1&tbnid=LVUviXkx-SKDzM:&tbnh=132&tbnw=195&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dchicago%2Bhouses%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26biw%3D1024%26bih%3D609%26tbs%3Disch:10%2C1254&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=550&vpy=177&dur=240&hovh=194&hovw=259&tx=145&ty=125&ei=wdskTfWxG4jPngfp3O3QAQ&oei=utskTeSOMYbXnAeAv5TqDQ&esq=3&page=3&ndsp=13&ved=1t:429,r:11,s:22&biw=1024&bih=609
 



Having lived in San Francisco I can honestly say it is not soul crushing.



But look at all those cookie cutter houses!  ;)

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#63 of 116 Old 01-05-2011, 01:07 PM
 
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I think soul crushing tends to have more to do with one's soul, than one's environment.  I mean, Nelson Mandela spent how many years in prison (unfairly) and his soul was not crushed.   Living in a neighborhood of cookie cutter houses can crush your soul if you let it, I guess.  But I think if you wanted, your soul could flourish there, as well.

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#64 of 116 Old 01-05-2011, 01:14 PM
 
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I guess what I don't understand is, what's so soul crushing about having someone else's house having the same floor plan as yours?  Is it soul crushing to have someone buy the same outfit at the store, or the same make, model and color of car?  Why does it matter if someone's house looks just like yours?  Aren't the price, functionality and location the important things?  Why does it matter if the houses are "cookie cutter" if they work for the people living in them?  Does the stove in the kitchen not cook properly if it's in the same place for a hundred people in the same development?  Do Christmas lights not hang right if they are hanging in the same spot for a hundred other people too? 


Because if you are at all into architecture it makes walking through those neighborhoods completely mind numbing.  And if walking and looking is one of the big things you do for fun then soul crushing is not an overstatement.

 

So much the worse if its you neighborhood.

 

Price, functionality and location matter, yes, but so do beauty and historical value (the latter being the top of my list and the main reason I am willing to live in very small spaces).



 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post

I must have much more resilient soul. I love architecture too, but soul crushing, seriously no. Child abuse is soul crushing, circumcision is soul crushing to me. While I love to be inspired by what I see, the term soul crushing is just well absurd in this context.

I'm with Arduinna.  Also, so many big ciities ( i am thinking san fran and chicago) have lots of neighborhoods with the same houses over and over. 

 

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://pics4.city-data.com/cpicc/cfiles5487.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.city-data.com/picfilesc/picc5487.php&usg=__hRWHyKrx-PQp34-OSL_zjWxScXY=&h=768&w=1024&sz=192&hl=en&start=0&zoom=1&tbnid=mHtexC_zAM_ogM:&tbnh=142&tbnw=176&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dsan%2Bfrancisco%2Bhouses%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26biw%3D1024%26bih%3D609%26tbs%3Disch:1&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=315&vpy=118&dur=1139&hovh=194&hovw=259&tx=168&ty=116&ei=n9skTZDkOcb_nAfHlaDUDQ&oei=n9skTZDkOcb_nAfHlaDUDQ&esq=1&page=1&ndsp=13&ved=1t:429,r:1,s:0

 

and

 

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.chicagomag.com/images/blogimport/DEB082207-1.jpg&imgrefurl=http://illinois.inetgiant.com/chicago/home/houses&usg=__lgQGYMD4N0uxDPtHHLOBsGEU3_A=&h=600&w=800&sz=110&hl=en&start=22&zoom=1&tbnid=LVUviXkx-SKDzM:&tbnh=132&tbnw=195&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dchicago%2Bhouses%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26biw%3D1024%26bih%3D609%26tbs%3Disch:10%2C1254&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=550&vpy=177&dur=240&hovh=194&hovw=259&tx=145&ty=125&ei=wdskTfWxG4jPngfp3O3QAQ&oei=utskTeSOMYbXnAeAv5TqDQ&esq=3&page=3&ndsp=13&ved=1t:429,r:11,s:22&biw=1024&bih=609
 



Having lived in San Francisco I can honestly say it is not soul crushing.


I addressed the bolded part in my post #37.  I just think there is more to the issue than "sameness" which I think was addressed by an earlier PP.  Sameness is one thing, inability to access a town center or inability to go anywhere without a car seem more pressing issues.  I'm not talking about mixed use communities, but actual 'suburbs' within the meaning of development of massive housing stock and strip malls.  While it may not be "soul crushing" I do think that it has relegated us to a certain lifestyle and reliance on cars.  That's what bothers me about those types of developments and planning.  As I mentioned in my post #37, I may live in an apartment building where all the floors are the same, but I can step out my door and be immediately engaged in my community.  This is very important to me and DH, but it is not so important to others, and I can understand that.  To me it is less about everything being the same and more about loss of the town center.  Again, I'm not talking about a lot of the 'suburbs' as we know them now, which in my mind are simply small towns outside metro areas. 
 


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#65 of 116 Old 01-05-2011, 02:02 PM
 
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Soul-crushing seems like such an extreme phrase to use regarding living in suburbia. I would have never described it like that, but obviously everyone feels differently.

I grew up in Northglenn, CO - so the suburbs north of Denver. My mom still lives in her 3-story house that is one of about 5 floorplans in the neighborhood. Except here's the thing, it is absolutely a walkable area (though it wasn't always). Grocery store, gas station, liquor store, schools, a huge park really, really close, beautiful paths and a stream, etc. It also is safer than living in the city - less crimes/gangs, better schools, more space to ride bikes and play, and it's a million times quieter and cleaner than where my youngest brother lives right in downtown on the 16th mall. Now that I type that, I realize my sister chose a well-loved city neighborhood and has an urban garden selling CSA shares, and my other brother moved to Greenwich Village - which I believe is THE desired place to be in Manhatten. So, maybe the suburbs were awful after all, as my siblings have moved on. None of them have children yet, though, so their priorities very well may change.

I happen to live somewhat rural - in the desert with half an acre and in a huge custom home where the neighbors are certainly not an arm's reach away. My kids have dirt roads and fields to explore, in an area that is again, a million times safer than living in the nearby city (especially downtown/central areas). My city living brother happens to pay more than 3 times what we pay for housing in an apartment that could fit in my formal living and dining room space. Sorry, but that honestly does not appeal to me at all. I'd much rather live in one of the "little boxes, little boxes" I've seen in nearby suburbs here than have a tiny living space and deal with tons of random people on a daily basis while I walk to catch the subway. That's just me, though, and while I can see the appeal to urban living, especially for say a single person or an artist (just stereotyping here), it's nothing I'd desire for my 6-person family.

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#66 of 116 Old 01-05-2011, 02:56 PM
 
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I think it definitely depends on the soul, and how a person has envisioned their ideal lifestyle. Being pulled to far away from your ideal can be pretty soul crushing. Especially if you feel like you can't ever get on track.
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#67 of 116 Old 01-05-2011, 02:57 PM
 
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I live in the suburbs. And yes, my house is quite cookie cutter. But hey, you live where you can afford. The only thing about my neighborhood that makes us particularly car dependent is living at the top of a hill. Its not a long walk to the store, but its an agonizing walk back with kids and a stroller.. yick. It'd actually be much worse if we were in the city. The hills there.. HOLY CRAP! Any steeper and it'd be impossible to get up them without rock climbing gear. There's tons of stuff I can walk to. Yes, a target, a barnes and noble, chain grocery stores and restaurants. But there's also a local mama owned/run indoor play area/cafe. LLL meets there, and there's a cloth diaper/natural parenting store within it! There's also a hanna andersson outlet, some great parks, natural health store, natural pet store, dance/gymnastics studios (a couple) really cute kids consignment store, some random non-chain restaurants, community center with a great sports field, a movie theater (sure, its a chain.. but who doesn't love a nice convenient movie theater, seriously?) there's a frozen yogurt place opening thats at least non-chain enough that I've never heard of it/can't even remember the name. Thats off the top of my head. I have all that and more available to me, and I can, and do, walk to it. 

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#68 of 116 Old 01-05-2011, 03:21 PM
 
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I guess what I don't understand is, what's so soul crushing about having someone else's house having the same floor plan as yours?  Is it soul crushing to have someone buy the same outfit at the store, or the same make, model and color of car?  Why does it matter if someone's house looks just like yours?  Aren't the price, functionality and location the important things?  Why does it matter if the houses are "cookie cutter" if they work for the people living in them?  Does the stove in the kitchen not cook properly if it's in the same place for a hundred people in the same development?  Do Christmas lights not hang right if they are hanging in the same spot for a hundred other people too? 


Because if you are at all into architecture it makes walking through those neighborhoods completely mind numbing.  And if walking and looking is one of the big things you do for fun then soul crushing is not an overstatement.

 

So much the worse if its you neighborhood.

 

Price, functionality and location matter, yes, but so do beauty and historical value (the latter being the top of my list and the main reason I am willing to live in very small spaces).



 



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Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post

I must have much more resilient soul. I love architecture too, but soul crushing, seriously no. Child abuse is soul crushing, circumcision is soul crushing to me. While I love to be inspired by what I see, the term soul crushing is just well absurd in this context.

I'm with Arduinna.  Also, so many big ciities ( i am thinking san fran and chicago) have lots of neighborhoods with the same houses over and over. 

 

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://pics4.city-data.com/cpicc/cfiles5487.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.city-data.com/picfilesc/picc5487.php&usg=__hRWHyKrx-PQp34-OSL_zjWxScXY=&h=768&w=1024&sz=192&hl=en&start=0&zoom=1&tbnid=mHtexC_zAM_ogM:&tbnh=142&tbnw=176&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dsan%2Bfrancisco%2Bhouses%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26biw%3D1024%26bih%3D609%26tbs%3Disch:1&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=315&vpy=118&dur=1139&hovh=194&hovw=259&tx=168&ty=116&ei=n9skTZDkOcb_nAfHlaDUDQ&oei=n9skTZDkOcb_nAfHlaDUDQ&esq=1&page=1&ndsp=13&ved=1t:429,r:1,s:0

 

and

 

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.chicagomag.com/images/blogimport/DEB082207-1.jpg&imgrefurl=http://illinois.inetgiant.com/chicago/home/houses&usg=__lgQGYMD4N0uxDPtHHLOBsGEU3_A=&h=600&w=800&sz=110&hl=en&start=22&zoom=1&tbnid=LVUviXkx-SKDzM:&tbnh=132&tbnw=195&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dchicago%2Bhouses%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26biw%3D1024%26bih%3D609%26tbs%3Disch:10%2C1254&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=550&vpy=177&dur=240&hovh=194&hovw=259&tx=145&ty=125&ei=wdskTfWxG4jPngfp3O3QAQ&oei=utskTeSOMYbXnAeAv5TqDQ&esq=3&page=3&ndsp=13&ved=1t:429,r:11,s:22&biw=1024&bih=609
 



Having lived in San Francisco I can honestly say it is not soul crushing.


I addressed the bolded part in my post #37.  I just think there is more to the issue than "sameness" which I think was addressed by an earlier PP.  Sameness is one thing, inability to access a town center or inability to go anywhere without a car seem more pressing issues.  I'm not talking about mixed use communities, but actual 'suburbs' within the meaning of development of massive housing stock and strip malls.  While it may not be "soul crushing" I do think that it has relegated us to a certain lifestyle and reliance on cars.  That's what bothers me about those types of developments and planning.  As I mentioned in my post #37, I may live in an apartment building where all the floors are the same, but I can step out my door and be immediately engaged in my community.  This is very important to me and DH, but it is not so important to others, and I can understand that.  To me it is less about everything being the same and more about loss of the town center.  Again, I'm not talking about a lot of the 'suburbs' as we know them now, which in my mind are simply small towns outside metro areas. 
 


I think that the visual monotony along with the alienation is what does it. So not only is there little ability for community to form in non-walkable suburbs, the visual monotony reinforces the feeling of being alone and unimportant. In that sense the 'sameness' is a visual representation of the oppression one feels. Also, generally speaking, in a neighborhood of mixed housing types/dates, the area is more walkable, making community much more possible.

 

As for flourishing wherever one is, I think it's a commendable quality to have. However, if one is not able to get one's needs met, it makes it hard to flourish. Nelson Mandela, while exceptional, is also human. I am sure he had his low moments while imprisoned and if you ask him which situation he prefers or feels better to flourish in, he'd most likely say freedom. Making the best with what you have and living in an area that matches what you want are not conflicting goals. And some people have a higher ability to make do and be happy than others.

 

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#69 of 116 Old 01-05-2011, 03:31 PM
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I think soul crushing tends to have more to do with one's soul, than one's environment.  I mean, Nelson Mandela spent how many years in prison (unfairly) and his soul was not crushed.   Living in a neighborhood of cookie cutter houses can crush your soul if you let it, I guess.  But I think if you wanted, your soul could flourish there, as well.



This is along the lines of what I was thinking. Due to military assignments and divorce, I've moved a lot. About half the dwellings I've lived in were military quarters (the epitome of "cookie cutter"). Personally, I don't care if my house looks exactly like my neighbor's. It's the people in the neighborhood that interest me, not the architecture or the shops.

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#70 of 116 Old 01-05-2011, 04:06 PM
 
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I grew up in a suburb of Madison, WI.  Middleton to be exact.  It was voted best place to live in America a few years back.  I LOVE Middleton and I would love nothing more than to be able to live in Middleton.  There is a HUGE conservancy with plenty of walking/biking trails through it, there are lakes, there are really nice parks, there are good schools (although I'm still hoping I can convince my husband to agree to me homeschooling our kiddo) and it is just outside a city that offers typical city benefits.

 

I just can't do city life.  I get way too nervous with the traffic and one way streets and narrow roads and lots of people everywhere.  It stresses me out to the point where I refuse to go anywhere, so living in the city could potentially be socially isolating for me.  I'm okay visiting especially now that I have a gps that takes pretty good care of me, but navigating the city every single day would drive me bonkers and make me desperately wish for rural life.... which as much as I love the romanticised fantasy of living in quiet peaceful healthy nowhere working my own land that offers tons of space and play for kiddo... I'd go crazy having to drive so far to see anyone or do any shopping or be PART of anything.  I'd probably end up worse than if I lived in the city!

 

Suburban life works for me... however I don't think all suburban towns are as bad as people describe them.  Middleton absolutely has cookie cutter neighborhoods that I find really gross and wouldn't want to live in, however Middleton also has neighborhoods that aren't like that either.  The neighborhood my mom currently lives in has not only a mix of different houses, but there are also townhomes and condo buildings... and a really really great park with pond connected to the conservancy right smack in the middle.  Sure, her neighborhood leads into a newer cookie cutter style neighborhood but even that neighborhood has house variations for shape with a mix of colors and materials to make each house.  You know the division was built together, but they definitely aren't carbon copy homes.

 

Middleton also has really great local stores.  Not many mind you, but there is a great childrens resale shop, and a place with the best burger I've ever had.  there are a couple unique to Middleton pizza places, and this neat store called La Bella Vita with all sorts of really pretty things.  There is a whole cute little down town area with a couple shops and food places.  There is a really nice library down there as well.  There is a park with a really cool water park set up for kids to play in during the summer... that park is across from a lake and has a pond within the park.  There are so many great things about Middleton even though it is just a suburb of Madison.

 

Of course, part of my love for Middleton is the history I have in it.  My grandma and grandpa bought their first house in Middleton in 1966 at a time when a great deal of what is here now was just corn fields.  My grandpa still actually lives in that house they bought in 1966 although it is a bit larger than it was then :)  A great deal of the phone connections in the town my grandpa had a hand in as he worked for the phone company since before they moved here.

 

I think there are negative aspects to every way of life and I also think some of those negative aspects aren't true for ALL places that fall into that category.  I think you can have suburbia that isn't just the same house a thousand times in a row with a walmart in the middle.

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headscratch.gif  That "soul crushing" is intended as a bit of hyperbole is a given.  

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headscratch.gif  That "soul crushing" is intended as a bit of hyperbole is a given.  



 



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I guess what I don't understand is, what's so soul crushing about having someone else's house having the same floor plan as yours?  Is it soul crushing to have someone buy the same outfit at the store, or the same make, model and color of car?  Why does it matter if someone's house looks just like yours?  Aren't the price, functionality and location the important things?  Why does it matter if the houses are "cookie cutter" if they work for the people living in them?  Does the stove in the kitchen not cook properly if it's in the same place for a hundred people in the same development?  Do Christmas lights not hang right if they are hanging in the same spot for a hundred other people too? 



 



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I guess what I don't understand is, what's so soul crushing about having someone else's house having the same floor plan as yours?  Is it soul crushing to have someone buy the same outfit at the store, or the same make, model and color of car?  Why does it matter if someone's house looks just like yours?  Aren't the price, functionality and location the important things?  Why does it matter if the houses are "cookie cutter" if they work for the people living in them?  Does the stove in the kitchen not cook properly if it's in the same place for a hundred people in the same development?  Do Christmas lights not hang right if they are hanging in the same spot for a hundred other people too? 


Because if you are at all into architecture it makes walking through those neighborhoods completely mind numbing.  And if walking and looking is one of the big things you do for fun then soul crushing is not an overstatement.

 

So much the worse if its you neighborhood.

 

Price, functionality and location matter, yes, but so do beauty and historical value (the latter being the top of my list and the main reason I am willing to live in very small spaces).



 



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I must have much more resilient soul. I love architecture too, but soul crushing, seriously no. Child abuse is soul crushing, circumcision is soul crushing to me. While I love to be inspired by what I see, the term soul crushing is just well absurd in this context.



 



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I must have much more resilient soul. I love architecture too, but soul crushing, seriously no. Child abuse is soul crushing, circumcision is soul crushing to me. While I love to be inspired by what I see, the term soul crushing is just well absurd in this context.



Have you read/seen Revolutionary Road?  I think its pretty intolerant to label something you don't experience/understand as absurd.


My impression was that chamomile girl is sincere in her use of "soul-crushing".  Didn't seem to be hyperbole at all based on her responses. :shrug

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#73 of 116 Old 01-05-2011, 04:21 PM
 
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No kidding, since I was called intolerant for not agreeing it sure seems clear that it wasn't just hyperbole to her. Just to be clear, I sure thought it was, which is why I posted what I did. But the response cleared that up.

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Guess I'm intolerant then.



Awww!  But it's not your fault!  It's just that your mind is numb and your soul is crushed!!  winky.gif  (That was sarcasm, in case that wasn't clear!)

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I addressed the bolded part in my post #37.  I just think there is more to the issue than "sameness" which I think was addressed by an earlier PP.  Sameness is one thing, inability to access a town center or inability to go anywhere without a car seem more pressing issues.  I'm not talking about mixed use communities, but actual 'suburbs' within the meaning of development of massive housing stock and strip malls.  While it may not be "soul crushing" I do think that it has relegated us to a certain lifestyle and reliance on cars.  That's what bothers me about those types of developments and planning.  As I mentioned in my post #37, I may live in an apartment building where all the floors are the same, but I can step out my door and be immediately engaged in my community.  This is very important to me and DH, but it is not so important to others, and I can understand that.  To me it is less about everything being the same and more about loss of the town center.  Again, I'm not talking about a lot of the 'suburbs' as we know them now, which in my mind are simply small towns outside metro areas. 
 


I think that the visual monotony along with the alienation is what does it. So not only is there little ability for community to form in non-walkable suburbs, the visual monotony reinforces the feeling of being alone and unimportant. In that sense the 'sameness' is a visual representation of the oppression one feels. Also, generally speaking, in a neighborhood of mixed housing types/dates, the area is more walkable, making community much more possible.

 

As for flourishing wherever one is, I think it's a commendable quality to have. However, if one is not able to get one's needs met, it makes it hard to flourish. Nelson Mandela, while exceptional, is also human. I am sure he had his low moments while imprisoned and if you ask him which situation he prefers or feels better to flourish in, he'd most likely say freedom. Making the best with what you have and living in an area that matches what you want are not conflicting goals. And some people have a higher ability to make do and be happy than others.

 

Ami

You said it better than me, Ami.  I think the physical environment plays a lot into to how we feel and the sense of empowerment that we have.  All of the "soul crushing" debate aside upstream, I do  think that people's interaction and place in environment plays a huge part.  I think it is hard for people who don't personally feel constrained in the environment of their choice (or even in the environment that they grew up in) to understand the role that "place" (vs. "space") plays in one's approach to life.  As I touched on in an earlier post, a lot of socio-economic elements play into where we (as various members of society) decide to live.  I think it is silly to undermine another's view on a particular environment.  We all come from different places (metaphorically speaking) and one person's choice to reside in a certain space is no less relevant than another's.  This thread is evident that people flourish and find happiness in varying environments.  
 


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#76 of 116 Old 01-05-2011, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, I have a lot of catching up to do : ) I didn't realize this would be such a hot topic 


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For me, I'd probably say something like "I hate the suburbs", meaning "I would hate to live in the suburbs".  Suburbs combine the aspects that I dislike about city life with the aspects I dislike about rural life into one big pile without having the redeeming qualities of either.

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#78 of 116 Old 01-05-2011, 07:46 PM
 
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For me, I'd probably say something like "I hate the suburbs", meaning "I would hate to live in the suburbs".  Suburbs combine the aspects that I dislike about city life with the aspects I dislike about rural life into one big pile without having the redeeming qualities of either.



He He He, I tend to think the opposite...that it combines the best parts of both:lol:  I might have to drive everywhere, but I don't have to drive far for anything.  Once I get to the main street, it's all there within minutes of each other, from big box grocery to locally owned tattoo shop to Subway to locally owned chinese restaraunt etc.  My dentist is in a little converted ranch style house right next to Meijer, which is right next to the locally owned sewing machine store, then JoAnns and Target, etc etc etc.  Everything from farmers markets to Walmart is right there, but I am not stuck living with listening to sirens and horns and whatever other noises occur in the city every night.  ( I wouldn't know I haven't ever lived in a city)

 

I wonder though, what qualfies as living "in the city" vs "in the suburbs?"  My actually address is Indianapolis.  I have also lived in Columbus Oh, with that as my actual address.  Yet, my neighborhood is totally one of those neighborhoods that springs up out of farm land that is within walking distance of very little, and most of the houses consist of the same 10 to 20 floorplans.  The house in Columbus was in a well established neighborhood though I assume that it was also once farmland as there was a horse farm that backed up to our backyard.  However, it was within walking distance of a convenience store and an ice cream shop.  So is that suburbs or not?  Is it suburbs if you are actually within city limits? 

 

Maybe though that's part of the problem in the thread...that it's all about assumptions.  There are quiet areas within big city limits, there are unique areas outside big city limits, there are small towns that are just absorbed by the big city.  There are little small town "downtowns" all over big city areas, left over from towns that were absorbed by big cities, and there are areas that are brand new built to be the "downtown" area of that neighborhood (ie "revitalized areas."  There are master planned suburban areas that are actually purposely built to have "everything" (ie everything needed) within walking distance, but the whole community is pluncked down in the middle of cornfields. 

 

Few areas are going to fit everyone's assumptions. 

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I'm sure all the rural mamas are reading through this thread and thinking, "YOU'RE ALL CRAZY." winky.gif


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On my street (which is in a true suburb of a very large city) there is are bungalows, victorians, "traditional"s, ranches, split levels. 

 

Even frank lloyd wrights houses (and can anyone really argue that he was not a great architect??) tend to look similiar in neighborhoods...


Well, my husband calls him "Frank Lloyd Wrong."  wink1.gif  I'll have to ask him sometime what his major objections are to Wright's architecture.  He doesn't think it's awful, IIRC - but that it's not as good as some people believe. 


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I guess what I don't understand is, what's so soul crushing about having someone else's house having the same floor plan as yours?  Is it soul crushing to have someone buy the same outfit at the store, or the same make, model and color of car?  Why does it matter if someone's house looks just like yours?  Aren't the price, functionality and location the important things?  Why does it matter if the houses are "cookie cutter" if they work for the people living in them?  Does the stove in the kitchen not cook properly if it's in the same place for a hundred people in the same development?  Do Christmas lights not hang right if they are hanging in the same spot for a hundred other people too? 


My objection is that most of the "cookie cutter" developments weren't designed for the home owner's price/functionality/location.  They were designed to maximize profits for the contractor/developer.  They don't care that they have an odd wall connection in the upstairs which would have been better used by the homeowner if it had been converted to a built-in book case (or expansion of the room next to it); they care that to do so, they would have needed to expend $X more in materials and labor, and it would have taken X days longer.  They didn't put an r49 insulation in even though they ought to for your location, because it would add too much to the upfront cost of your home and you are taking out a big mortgage and might balk at the higher upfront cost for energy-efficiency design features.  They designed your home without a pantry because not as many people cook regularly at home anymore, so they don't build them, and now you're going to be storing kitchen things in the basement or garage because you don't have room for it in your kitchen (I've seen quite a few homes like this, my SIL lived in one like this, newly built). 

 

That upfront lower cost of a developer-designed home might be lower - but how will the long-term energy use costs of that home hold up?  Even assuming energy costs don't ever go up at all - many of those energy-efficiency features which add to initial price, are paid off and paying the homeowner back in less than a decade - from then on, it's money in the homeowner's pocket.  But it won't be going into the contractor/designer's pocket, so they've got no reason to do it even though it will directly impact the long-term functionality and economics of living in that home. 

 

And is the location any good, for the long term?  When (and it is WHEN) gas goes up to $10 or more a gallon, and energy costs have also gone up - will suburbanites be able to afford to commute to work in the city?  What work opportunities will they have in their suburbs?  [and Chamomile Girl and Cat's Cradle have both pointed out, suburb has different meanings to different people - the classic definition is the suburb is an outlier of an urban area, built to house workers who will then travel IN to the city for work. With urban sprawl, some small towns outside cities have become for all intents and purposes, 'suburbs' in terms of how they are used - despite the fact that they may fortunately still retain local downtowns, businesses, etc.]  

 

When gas prices and transport prices go up so significantly - when it becomes cost prohibitive to transport lettuce from California to New York City - what will people do for food?  Their homes are built on the good farmland which used to provide fruits, vegetables, grains, and meats if desired to the people in their area.  We can convert our lawns to gardens (if HOAs allow it) - but grazing cattle on them is a bit more difficult to do. 


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On my street (which is in a true suburb of a very large city) there is are bungalows, victorians, "traditional"s, ranches, split levels. 

 

Even frank lloyd wrights houses (and can anyone really argue that he was not a great architect??) tend to look similiar in neighborhoods...


Well, my husband calls him "Frank Lloyd Wrong."  wink1.gif  I'll have to ask him sometime what his major objections are to Wright's architecture.  He doesn't think it's awful, IIRC - but that it's not as good as some people believe. 

LOL!!!  I am going to call him that the next time I'm with my dad, who loves FLW. 

 

He wasn't a very good husband, that's for sure.
 

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- but grazing cattle on them is a bit more difficult to do.

 

 

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Well, my husband calls him "Frank Lloyd Wrong."  wink1.gif  I'll have to ask him sometime what his major objections are to Wright's architecture.  He doesn't think it's awful, IIRC - but that it's not as good as some people believe. 

LOL!!!  I am going to call him that the next time I'm with my dad, who loves FLW. 

 

He wasn't a very good husband, that's for sure.
 


I just asked my husband, and was treated to his Frank Lloyd Wrong rant.  Here's what he had to say:

 

Frank Lloyd Wrong - designed buildings with style but buildings which were not always that functional for the people living in them.  He took some liberties with the structures of some of his homes which has necessitated extensive repairs in those homes (for the sake of design).  He was a good architect but he's been deified by a generation of old, balding, khaki-clad architects and architectural critics. 

 

Obviously, he's not a fan.  wink1.gif  For the Worst Christmas Gift thread - one year he received a Frank Lloyd Wright dayplanner (and he doesn't use a dayplanner, he's got everything online).  That went in the bin very quickly. 

 

One of his favorite architects is Fay Jones.  Here's a link to some images of his work (Jones, not dh):  http://www.google.com/images?um=1&hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&biw=1152&bih=674&tbs=isch%3A1&sa=1&q=fay+jones+chapel+images&btnG=Search&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

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#85 of 116 Old 01-06-2011, 10:10 PM
 
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Wow, his stuff is beautiful!

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I like my sub home.Each home on this road is different,but *blah* everyone is doing white vinyl covering.Must be on sale.My house will POP with color when I redo the siding!

 

 I would hate living somewhere where I was not able to have chickens,front yard garden,or get ticketed for weeds.Oh and some places ban cloths lines,so that would stink too.

 

When I look at home listings there is so much to consider besides the sq foot and bed/bath number.

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I guess what I don't understand is, what's so soul crushing about having someone else's house having the same floor plan as yours?  Is it soul crushing to have someone buy the same outfit at the store, or the same make, model and color of car?  Why does it matter if someone's house looks just like yours?  Aren't the price, functionality and location the important things?  Why does it matter if the houses are "cookie cutter" if they work for the people living in them?  Does the stove in the kitchen not cook properly if it's in the same place for a hundred people in the same development?  Do Christmas lights not hang right if they are hanging in the same spot for a hundred other people too? 


My objection is that most of the "cookie cutter" developments weren't designed for the home owner's price/functionality/location.  They were designed to maximize profits for the contractor/developer.  They don't care that they have an odd wall connection in the upstairs which would have been better used by the homeowner if it had been converted to a built-in book case (or expansion of the room next to it); they care that to do so, they would have needed to expend $X more in materials and labor, and it would have taken X days longer.  They didn't put an r49 insulation in even though they ought to for your location, because it would add too much to the upfront cost of your home and you are taking out a big mortgage and might balk at the higher upfront cost for energy-efficiency design features.  They designed your home without a pantry because not as many people cook regularly at home anymore, so they don't build them, and now you're going to be storing kitchen things in the basement or garage because you don't have room for it in your kitchen (I've seen quite a few homes like this, my SIL lived in one like this, newly built). 

 

That upfront lower cost of a developer-designed home might be lower - but how will the long-term energy use costs of that home hold up?  Even assuming energy costs don't ever go up at all - many of those energy-efficiency features which add to initial price, are paid off and paying the homeowner back in less than a decade - from then on, it's money in the homeowner's pocket.  But it won't be going into the contractor/designer's pocket, so they've got no reason to do it even though it will directly impact the long-term functionality and economics of living in that home. 

 

And is the location any good, for the long term?  When (and it is WHEN) gas goes up to $10 or more a gallon, and energy costs have also gone up - will suburbanites be able to afford to commute to work in the city?  What work opportunities will they have in their suburbs?  [and Chamomile Girl and Cat's Cradle have both pointed out, suburb has different meanings to different people - the classic definition is the suburb is an outlier of an urban area, built to house workers who will then travel IN to the city for work. With urban sprawl, some small towns outside cities have become for all intents and purposes, 'suburbs' in terms of how they are used - despite the fact that they may fortunately still retain local downtowns, businesses, etc.]  

 

When gas prices and transport prices go up so significantly - when it becomes cost prohibitive to transport lettuce from California to New York City - what will people do for food?  Their homes are built on the good farmland which used to provide fruits, vegetables, grains, and meats if desired to the people in their area.  We can convert our lawns to gardens (if HOAs allow it) - but grazing cattle on them is a bit more difficult to do. 


Have you ever done any real research into one of these subdivisions you discussing?  Like actually researched how these homes are sold to people?  Because what you describe doesn't really fit in the process.  Pantry...my home has one because I picked a floorplan with one.  My sister's home does not because she picked a floorplan that doesn't...because she didn't want a pantry.  If a home doesn't have a pantry, it's not because the builder decided that they didn't want to build it, it's because the original buyer of the home decided they didn't want one.  Building a home or buying a home is a pretty big deal to most folks and they do their research.  They aren't going to buy a home that doesn't have what they want.  If the home isn't going to function well for them, they aren't going to buy it.  If a builder isn't listening to their customer and providing what they want, they aren't going to be in business very long. 

 

And on the other side of the coin, if ANY business, be it a development builder or a custom builder, isn't worried about profit they aren't going to be in business very long either.  Custom builders provide that higer cost insulation because it's important to their customers, not because it's better for them.  And I am sure they charge more accordingly as well.  Lower quality insulation may be the standard in the developments, but that doesn't mean it's the only option.  If it's important to that specific customer, upgrades are usually available.  At additional cost of course, just like anywhere else. 

 

Location-A substantial number of suburbanites don't commute to the city.  The live in suburbia because they work there too.  Those nasty big box and chain places that people dispise so much do employ people and those people often live right there.  The managers and cashiers and greeters at Walmart aren't going to commute far to work at Walmart, so of course they live in that cookie cutter subdivision less than five minutes away.  And these places are full of locally owned small businesses, of course those owners live in those same cookie cutter subdivisions.  Not to mention that these places usually start out in the middle of cornfields, but business often spring up around them.  I mentioned previously that the only places within walking distance are a DQ and a gas station, but actually I was wrong.  There's a hospital too the one I had my kids at.  It was build just like 3 years ago.  A friend of mine bought her house when it was in the middle of a corn field, but now there's a Y opening up that's within walking distance, and the district opened a new school right there also.  And, if they walk through the Y's ginormous parking lot and athletic fields, there's quite a bit of other stuff that's recently opened up right there too. 

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Have you ever done any real research into one of these subdivisions you discussing?  Like actually researched how these homes are sold to people?  Because what you describe doesn't really fit in the process.  Pantry...my home has one because I picked a floorplan with one.  My sister's home does not because she picked a floorplan that doesn't...because she didn't want a pantry.  If a home doesn't have a pantry, it's not because the builder decided that they didn't want to build it, it's because the original buyer of the home decided they didn't want one.  Building a home or buying a home is a pretty big deal to most folks and they do their research.  They aren't going to buy a home that doesn't have what they want.  If the home isn't going to function well for them, they aren't going to buy it.  If a builder isn't listening to their customer and providing what they want, they aren't going to be in business very long. 

 

And on the other side of the coin, if ANY business, be it a development builder or a custom builder, isn't worried about profit they aren't going to be in business very long either.  Custom builders provide that higer cost insulation because it's important to their customers, not because it's better for them.  And I am sure they charge more accordingly as well.  Lower quality insulation may be the standard in the developments, but that doesn't mean it's the only option.  If it's important to that specific customer, upgrades are usually available.  At additional cost of course, just like anywhere else. 

 

Location-A substantial number of suburbanites don't commute to the city.  The live in suburbia because they work there too.  Those nasty big box and chain places that people dispise so much do employ people and those people often live right there.  The managers and cashiers and greeters at Walmart aren't going to commute far to work at Walmart, so of course they live in that cookie cutter subdivision less than five minutes away.  And these places are full of locally owned small businesses, of course those owners live in those same cookie cutter subdivisions.  Not to mention that these places usually start out in the middle of cornfields, but business often spring up around them.  I mentioned previously that the only places within walking distance are a DQ and a gas station, but actually I was wrong.  There's a hospital too the one I had my kids at.  It was build just like 3 years ago.  A friend of mine bought her house when it was in the middle of a corn field, but now there's a Y opening up that's within walking distance, and the district opened a new school right there also.  And, if they walk through the Y's ginormous parking lot and athletic fields, there's quite a bit of other stuff that's recently opened up right there too. 


My take on elanorh's post was that she was talking about the classic concept of the suburb - something that I touched a little on in my previous posts.  I think we all agree that the modern suburb has essentially taken on new meanings and contains much different dynamics than the original suburbs.  I used the example of Levittown in one of my earlier posts, and that is a prime example of the type of housing that elanorh discusses.  You can find Levittown-type housing (usually built during the 40s and 50s outside every major city).  My DH grew up in that type of suburb outside of Baltimore - it was literally stuck in a cornfield - with no access to any services for years unless you had a car.  Back in the old days of suburbia, there were a lot less choices for the end user.  If you visit Levittown now, and even decide to buy a house there, you'll notice that many of the houses have been modified to suit the previous owner's needs.  Even the neighborhood has changed.  Levittown town was built and promoted, however, as a 'safe' place for white people to live with the ability to commute into the city for work.  Modern day suburbs have changed a lot, but having worked in the construction industry for a while, I know that there are certain economic and social factors at play when developments are built and how they evolve.  I think we can better define this whole thing as "urban sprawl" with people with means either being able to afford higher end housing in the city (with choices and access to services) or living in 'better' areas outside the city (with choices and access to services).  The rest is a mix of people in the middle (with some choices and services) and then low income people (whose access to quality food, schools and safety tend to be limited).  I think that ultimately, the ability to be 'mobile' and have access to your personal idea of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness play the most crucial role in how you view your location.
 


"Lawyers, I suppose, were children once." Charles Lamb.
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#89 of 116 Old 01-07-2011, 08:33 AM
 
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We have a whole frank lloyd wright development in Middleton.  I think they are pretty houses but LORD are they close together!!  Most people I talk to agree they wouldn't want to live in the neighborhood although there is a really nice park in the center because everything is so scrunched.  and pricey.  and although I LIKE his stuff, he has a very specific style so all the houses look the same all bunched together like that haha.
 

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On my street (which is in a true suburb of a very large city) there is are bungalows, victorians, "traditional"s, ranches, split levels. 

 

Even frank lloyd wrights houses (and can anyone really argue that he was not a great architect??) tend to look similiar in neighborhoods...


Well, my husband calls him "Frank Lloyd Wrong."  wink1.gif  I'll have to ask him sometime what his major objections are to Wright's architecture.  He doesn't think it's awful, IIRC - but that it's not as good as some people believe. 



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#90 of 116 Old 01-07-2011, 08:38 AM
 
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Have you ever done any real research into one of these subdivisions you discussing?  Like actually researched how these homes are sold to people?  Because what you describe doesn't really fit in the process.  Pantry...my home has one because I picked a floorplan with one.  My sister's home does not because she picked a floorplan that doesn't...because she didn't want a pantry.  If a home doesn't have a pantry, it's not because the builder decided that they didn't want to build it, it's because the original buyer of the home decided they didn't want one.  Building a home or buying a home is a pretty big deal to most folks and they do their research.  They aren't going to buy a home that doesn't have what they want.  If the home isn't going to function well for them, they aren't going to buy it.  If a builder isn't listening to their customer and providing what they want, they aren't going to be in business very long. 

 

And on the other side of the coin, if ANY business, be it a development builder or a custom builder, isn't worried about profit they aren't going to be in business very long either.  Custom builders provide that higer cost insulation because it's important to their customers, not because it's better for them.  And I am sure they charge more accordingly as well.  Lower quality insulation may be the standard in the developments, but that doesn't mean it's the only option.  If it's important to that specific customer, upgrades are usually available.  At additional cost of course, just like anywhere else. 

 

Location-A substantial number of suburbanites don't commute to the city.  The live in suburbia because they work there too.  Those nasty big box and chain places that people dispise so much do employ people and those people often live right there.  The managers and cashiers and greeters at Walmart aren't going to commute far to work at Walmart, so of course they live in that cookie cutter subdivision less than five minutes away.  And these places are full of locally owned small businesses, of course those owners live in those same cookie cutter subdivisions.  Not to mention that these places usually start out in the middle of cornfields, but business often spring up around them.  I mentioned previously that the only places within walking distance are a DQ and a gas station, but actually I was wrong.  There's a hospital too the one I had my kids at.  It was build just like 3 years ago.  A friend of mine bought her house when it was in the middle of a corn field, but now there's a Y opening up that's within walking distance, and the district opened a new school right there also.  And, if they walk through the Y's ginormous parking lot and athletic fields, there's quite a bit of other stuff that's recently opened up right there too. 

You guys are talking about two different times in history.  Being able to choose a specific floorplan is a much more modern phenomenon, while elanora is referring to how things were done from the forties to about the eighties when suburbinization was at its peak in the US.  

 

See, the location argument you lay out here bothers me.  Because everything you outline comes at the expense of the cities where people move from to live in your suburb.  There is a new hospital near you because they decided it was easier to build a new one than update an older one (I'm generalizing here...I don't know the story of your specific hospital). Its part of the throw-away society we live in.   Because of the ticky-tacky houses in the cornfields cities like Detroit are dying.  All those old beautiful houses empty and falling down (or being burned down more specifically) because people fled to build houses in the cornfields to get bigger houses and to get away from "those" people.  I find it so incredibly sad.  So, yeah its part of the nature of capitalism that the goods follow the market.  But the whole phenomenon of surburbinization is historically troubling.  The trend for the houses in suburbs to gradually get larger and larger is also troubling from an environmental point of view.  Because as stated upthread most new houses are not built to be energy efficient, just to be friggin' BIG.  And I'm going to be uber-judgemental here and say that most people do not need as much space as they think they are entitled to. So its another big freaking waste.

 

Finally I do, honestly, really think that living in the suburbs can be soul crushing.  Location matters for my sanity at least.  Although for me its not so much about the sameness of the houses, but rather the dominant mindset of the people tends to be much more conservative and intolerant in the 'burbs, which I find damn oppressive.  Hate it.   Though the place I lived that I hated the most we were close to the city center thank goodness because our walks to look at the mighty fine old houses in our neighborhood were the only thing that kept me from total despondency.  The sad part was this was in a city where the suburbs were where the money was so the old houses were often falling apart (and I got quite a lot of well-meaning crap about where I chose to live...its a very racist and segregated city).  But honestly, sincerely, really it was the only redeemable feature of said city.  If I had lived in the suburbs I would have gone insane.

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