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Old 03-03-2011, 03:54 PM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
11,154 posts, read 9,241,806 times
Reputation: 10075
Default Suburbs aren't the problem... how suburbs were implemented is.

This has got to be the hottest topic by far on the forum and I'm sorry to drag it up yet again (well, maybe not )....


Anyway, I think the arguments against suburbia are proverbial "throwing the baby out with the bathwater". The concept is good...just look at how appealing most well kept pre-1940 suburbs are even today. The difference isn't density, isn't just style (these neighborhoods encompass many diferent styles) and isn't just the "romance" of a bygone age....

It's porportion of the homes, street, sidewalks and entire neighborhoods. It's the rich textures of the building materials, the sense of permanence. It's the variation expressing indiviuality, yet not executed at the expense of neighborhood cohesion. All those variables absent in a cookie cutter development create a pleasant environment to walk through and live in...a place to be proud of.

Somewhere along the line we forgot how to build. We mass-produced plastic and pressboard boxes; made faux over-the-top front facades but ignored the rest of the building, stopped including landscapping as part of the whole, made streets too wide, sidewalks too narrow or non-existant; turned the houses (and our lives) inward and stopped worrying about everyone else around us.

The problem (and solution) to the ills of suburbia is architecture. We need to rethink how we build and what we build with, not how tight we stack ourselves together.

Last edited by Chango; 03-03-2011 at 04:17 PM..
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Old 03-03-2011, 06:39 PM
 
Location: Cincinnati
513 posts, read 542,654 times
Reputation: 317
Well said
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Old 03-03-2011, 06:48 PM
 
Location: Western Massachusetts
25,950 posts, read 12,480,292 times
Reputation: 7857
If you wanna see real cookie cutter suburbs got to England:

And all the houses in the street have got a name
'Cos all the houses in the street they look the same
Same chimney pots, same little cars, same window panes
The neighbors call to tell you things that you should know
They say their lines, they drink their tea, and then they go

—The Kinks

barnet london england - Google Maps
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Old 03-03-2011, 07:19 PM
Status: "Fall is in the air-too soon!" (set 12 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
68,321 posts, read 56,735,753 times
Reputation: 19258
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chango View Post
This has got to be the hottest topic by far on the forum and I'm sorry to drag it up yet again (well, maybe not )....
isn't just the "romance" of a bygone age...

Actually, I think it is partly anyway.

Pre-1940s suburbs actually means pre-1929. There wasn't much built between 1929 and 1946.

There were some big changes for the better in the homes built after WW II. For one thing, kitchen research had come into being, and the "work triangle" was developed. My mom used to say that when the older houses (which they owned two of) were built, the builder took whatever space was left over and called it the kitchen. I did some research on kitchens and found out she was right!

It's the variation expressing indiviuality, yet not executed at the expense of neighborhood cohesion.

I haven't spent a lot of time in your city. However, I"ve spent a lot of time in mine (Denver) and unlike a lot of people on this forum, I've been inside a lot of these older homes as a visiting nurse. There are blocks and blocks of houses in Denver built from exactly the same floor plan. Ditto Chicago.

made faux over-the-top front facades

This is nothing new.

not how tight we stack ourselves together.

Now this is funny. The suburbs are generally accused of too low of density, with too large of yards, not too small.
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Old 03-03-2011, 07:50 PM
 
8,214 posts, read 6,422,222 times
Reputation: 3610
One common thought is that once oil becomes too expensive all metro areas will go "MOOB" (boom spelled backwards) as companies abandon their suburban offices and move to center city (would that ever create a building boom!) and people move to the city. I don't think so.
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Old 03-03-2011, 07:57 PM
 
Location: Up on the moon laughing down on you
18,516 posts, read 15,322,991 times
Reputation: 7253
Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
If you wanna see real cookie cutter suburbs got to England:

And all the houses in the street have got a name
'Cos all the houses in the street they look the same
Same chimney pots, same little cars, same window panes
The neighbors call to tell you things that you should know
They say their lines, they drink their tea, and then they go

—The Kinks

barnet london england - Google Maps

My cousin lived in one of those in GL, it took me a while to remember which home I lived in.
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Old 03-03-2011, 08:11 PM
 
185 posts, read 169,353 times
Reputation: 113
I'm getting tired of talking about Sprawl...
Really, I am.
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Old 03-03-2011, 08:42 PM
 
551 posts, read 541,111 times
Reputation: 422
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chango View Post
This has got to be the hottest topic by far on the forum and I'm sorry to drag it up yet again (well, maybe not )....


Anyway, I think the arguments against suburbia are proverbial "throwing the baby out with the bathwater". The concept is good...just look at how appealing most well kept pre-1940 suburbs are even today. The difference isn't density, isn't just style (these neighborhoods encompass many diferent styles) and isn't just the "romance" of a bygone age....

It's porportion of the homes, street, sidewalks and entire neighborhoods. It's the rich textures of the building materials, the sense of permanence. It's the variation expressing indiviuality, yet not executed at the expense of neighborhood cohesion. All those variables absent in a cookie cutter development create a pleasant environment to walk through and live in...a place to be proud of.

Somewhere along the line we forgot how to build. We mass-produced plastic and pressboard boxes; made faux over-the-top front facades but ignored the rest of the building, stopped including landscapping as part of the whole, made streets too wide, sidewalks too narrow or non-existant; turned the houses (and our lives) inward and stopped worrying about everyone else around us.

The problem (and solution) to the ills of suburbia is architecture. We need to rethink how we build and what we build with, not how tight we stack ourselves together.
Very well said. I think that architecture has a lot to do with it. A lot of those pre-war suburbs may look the same sometimes but they are still better built with permanence and rich textures of building materials, and also the same could apply to many pre-war buildings like brownstones in New York. When it comes to pre-war architecture, yes they do repeat themselves and look the same but usually they are the same among a block or two, then the next block they all look different but amongst all of them on a block they look the same. So each row looks the same, but different from other row houses. To me, that is much more variety than the post-war suburbs which tend to look the same everywhere and have much less variety than pre-war suburbs.

Density is a big component of why suburbs aren't good, but it isn't the only reason. Like it needs to be mixed use and walkable, and having nice places even if they are walkable suburbs makes it attractive to walk through. Density is only a factor but not the end all itself. There are row houses on 25x100 or 35x100 that are single family and they have a small backyard for kids to play in, when the kid gets older he can go to the park by himself and learn to live in a community.
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Old 03-04-2011, 10:45 AM
Status: "40cal per mile beats 40MPG" (set 7 days ago)
 
Location: You want kimchi with that?
8,479 posts, read 5,690,955 times
Reputation: 2177
Quote:
Originally Posted by GlobalistPotato View Post
I'm getting tired of talking about Sprawl...
Really, I am.

this is an urban planning forum for amateurs. you think people are going to discuss the intricacies of properly defining floor area ratios?
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Old 03-04-2011, 11:17 AM
 
5,147 posts, read 4,189,540 times
Reputation: 4472
Quote:
Originally Posted by brooklynborndad View Post
this is an urban planning forum for amateurs. you think people are going to discuss the intricacies of properly defining floor area ratios?
"Floor-area ratios"??

Will the excitement never end?
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