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Old 01-27-2013, 11:29 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
32,542 posts, read 60,183,684 times
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What about these houses?

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=6839+...TGmE4WKm9Tyg5w

Are they not cookie cutter simply because they were made with an antique utensil? Are they not cookie cutter because they are within the city limits? (well, the one on the right is, anyway)

(psst ... These three homes are identical, and there are a few more like them across the street and to the west. Furthermore, just about every house in this neighborhood of about one square mile is a 1-story bungalow or 1 1/2 story cape cod.)

A 90-year-old row house is a cookie-cutter house, even though it's been modified over the years ... or, isn't it, because it is (often) in an urban setting?

Or is cookie cutter just a term of scorn, to be used to describe housing of similar styles that are reviled by an individual, but not to describe housing of similar styles that are not reviled by an individual?

Points to ponder ...
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:29 PM
 
9,530 posts, read 14,956,215 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlite View Post
Stuyvesant Town is middle class housing.

What's your point here, Nybbler? That some urban housing comes in repeating groups as well as some suburban housing? Are you responding to the criticism of suburban subdivisions as "cookie cutter?"
Yes, it's a recurring theme, most recently popping up in the shophouses thread. My point is "cookie cutter" is independent of suburban or urban, and that it's not valid criticism to complain about subdivisions becauese they're "cookie cutter" while praising Stuytown or rowhouse Philadelphia.

Quote:
repetition visually pleasing. The issue is the scale of the uniformity. Turn the corner from a group of Philadelphia rowhouses and you'll most likely find something different, even if only a different style of rowhouse.
You'll find that in that PA subdivision too. There are several different styles of townhouse (3 major ones and a few minor variants). Still pretty cookie cutter, though it beats identical buildings like Stuytown.

Quote:
You're likely to find some stores within a few blocks. Places that have different building types in close proximity break up the cookie cutter effect. On the ground, you don't seem the same thing for blocks and blocks and blocks, as you might in a large subdivision.
In many rowhouse neighborhoods in Philadelphia, you'll see row after row of rowhouse, with the only real difference being the color of the sprinkles.. err, I mean the cornice. If there are stores they will be inside a rowhouse. The particular place I chose is not as "cookie cutter" as some other blocks.

Quote:
Time also tends to reduce excessive uniformity, as properties get modified in individual ways. So older places generally look less cookie cutter than newer places.
That's certainly true; there used to be block after block of tenement in many parts of NYC, but not so much any more. Philadelphia has deliberately preserved its uniformity.
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:46 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,128 posts, read 16,213,700 times
Reputation: 12755
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohiogirl81 View Post
What about these houses?

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=6839+...TGmE4WKm9Tyg5w

Are they not cookie cutter simply because they were made with an antique utensil? Are they not cookie cutter because they are within the city limits? (well, the one on the right is, anyway)

(psst ... These three homes are identical, and there are a few more like them across the street and to the west. Furthermore, just about every house in this neighborhood of about one square mile is a 1-story bungalow or 1 1/2 story cape cod.)

A 90-year-old row house is a cookie-cutter house, even though it's been modified over the years ... or, isn't it, because it is (often) in an urban setting?

Or is cookie cutter just a term of scorn, to be used to describe housing of similar styles that are reviled by an individual, but not to describe housing of similar styles that are not reviled by an individual?

Points to ponder ...
I would call it somewhat cookie-cutter. Cookie-cutter is repetition of one or a small enough number of shapes that repeated pattern becomes readily apparent. My neighborhood is cookie cutter. There are four basic designs which are repeated block after block. The fact that some people have different colored doors, have painted the buildings different colors, added different garage doors, maybe repaved their driveway or put in an interesting walkway, changed the windows, maybe put some brick decorative trim up... none of that does anything to make it not cookie-cutter. It's just like a batch of Christmas cookies. Sure, no two cookies are identical after the decorations are put on, but they're still obviously shaped using a cookie cutter. More extensive additions do. There's a few houses that have added additions. They very clearly stand out as "not the same," but there aren't enough of them to really break up the obvious repeated pattern. There's still an easily recognizable repeated pattern of a small number of identical house plans. Similarly Hipster Brooklyn. Age helps, but a few trim pieces and different colors aren't enough. Now if you don't even bother with fake brownstone stucco and just go straight to untextured stucco on something with zero setback, zero landscaping, and zero detail... well, it just makes the pattern that much easier to see.

Back to your example, I call it somewhat cookie-cutter. Take a look at these three houses:
https://maps.google.com/maps?q=6839+...nDAY1_ocw&z=17

The pattern stands out so much because it's three pretty much identical houses. You have differences, sure. One doesn't have a chimney, different brick, different paint, different windows. Doesn't matter. Going down the block, I only saw one other house that looked like that. But there were a few other houses in the same category of having 2, 3, or 4 identical houses next to one or in close proximity of one another.
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:38 PM
 
9,530 posts, read 14,956,215 times
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BTW, #5 (Montclair) are all custom homes; they're mansions without the "Mc", and no cookie-cutters to be found. #6 (Maplewood) is a more middle class area. If you look carefully you'll see that many of the homes are built from the same plans, but not enough regularity to call it "cookie cutter". There are other parts of Maplewood where just about every house is like the two on Jefferson just west of Kendal (center-hall colonial with "Maplewood patio"), which is definitely cookie-cutter.
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:37 AM
 
Location: Beavercreek, OH
2,194 posts, read 3,171,634 times
Reputation: 2341
Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler View Post
-snip-
Hi nybbler--

"Cookie cutter" is something I use to describe housing I don't like and would never live in.

For houses I like, I refer to them as "historical", "unique", "exercising my freedom to move", or something similar.
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:16 AM
 
7,675 posts, read 9,521,658 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I did not intend to give a definition, I just wanted to get people thinking about what they mean by "cookie cutter".

Here is my old neighborhood:

Google Maps

Play around and you can see some of the houses, mainly to the north of the school.
Talk about wide streets; I'll bet the opposite side is in a different area code...

Nice -looking neighborhood, though...
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:02 PM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
21,698 posts, read 23,802,050 times
Reputation: 35471
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohiogirl81 View Post
What about these houses?

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=6839+...TGmE4WKm9Tyg5w

Are they not cookie cutter simply because they were made with an antique utensil? Are they not cookie cutter because they are within the city limits? (well, the one on the right is, anyway)

(psst ... These three homes are identical, and there are a few more like them across the street and to the west. Furthermore, just about every house in this neighborhood of about one square mile is a 1-story bungalow or 1 1/2 story cape cod.)

A 90-year-old row house is a cookie-cutter house, even though it's been modified over the years ... or, isn't it, because it is (often) in an urban setting?

Or is cookie cutter just a term of scorn, to be used to describe housing of similar styles that are reviled by an individual, but not to describe housing of similar styles that are not reviled by an individual?

Points to ponder ...
Very good points. I think many people think of cookie cutter as the "all look the same housing" of the suburbs of the 50's and 60's but not the "all look the same houses" in the cities.

I think over the years, Portland, where I live, there are more and more "cookie cutter" looking people. Just take a walk downtown some nice afternoon or stroll along the popular street in my neighborhood and you will see what I mean.
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Old 02-04-2013, 01:42 PM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,839 posts, read 10,770,917 times
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to me there are reasons why some people use the term "cookie cutter" for postwar SFHs, and more recently for Mcmansions, and not so much for urban rowhomes, SFHs on small lots (with suburban townhomes being something of a gray area)

townhomes are, you, know meant to be relatively inexpensive, and even when not (the grander urban townhouses) to economise on land, and to limit their distinctiveness to achieve an even line with their neighbors - they are SUPPOSED to look similar, if not identical.

suburban SFHs, OTOH, were supposed to give ordinary folks a "rustic" lifestyle - giving up city convenience for green space, and all the good things associated in the 1940s with country living. So when, in contrast to most rural residences, they were built as similar to each other as urban townhouses, and often on far larger scales, that elicited a certain negative reaction.

A fortiori, today, when SFHs houses built to a size and style associated in the post war era with custom houses for the wealthy (in contrast to the smaller SFHs found in subdivisions), are built in subdivision filled with house after house in the same style, as many McMansions are, it elicits a related sense of oddity and discomfort.

So its about more than how identical things are - the context matters.
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Old 02-04-2013, 02:42 PM
 
Location: IL
2,992 posts, read 4,441,494 times
Reputation: 3085
Quote:
Originally Posted by brooklynborndad View Post
to me there are reasons why some people use the term "cookie cutter" for postwar SFHs, and more recently for Mcmansions, and not so much for urban rowhomes, SFHs on small lots (with suburban townhomes being something of a gray area)

townhomes are, you, know meant to be relatively inexpensive, and even when not (the grander urban townhouses) to economise on land, and to limit their distinctiveness to achieve an even line with their neighbors - they are SUPPOSED to look similar, if not identical.

suburban SFHs, OTOH, were supposed to give ordinary folks a "rustic" lifestyle - giving up city convenience for green space, and all the good things associated in the 1940s with country living. So when, in contrast to most rural residences, they were built as similar to each other as urban townhouses, and often on far larger scales, that elicited a certain negative reaction.

A fortiori, today, when SFHs houses built to a size and style associated in the post war era with custom houses for the wealthy (in contrast to the smaller SFHs found in subdivisions), are built in subdivision filled with house after house in the same style, as many McMansions are, it elicits a related sense of oddity and discomfort.

So its about more than how identical things are - the context matters.
I would say rowhouses were supposed to economize on land to make them less expensive for the buyer and so the seller could make more money. I would say suburban neighborhoods with mostly the same style homes also limited styles to make them less expensive for the buyer and so the seller could make more money. The different styled housing (row or suburban homes) are both similar looking for the same reaosns, whether they are urban or rural, big or small.
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Old 02-04-2013, 02:51 PM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,839 posts, read 10,770,917 times
Reputation: 2548
Quote:
Originally Posted by almost3am View Post
I would say rowhouses were supposed to economize on land to make them less expensive for the buyer and so the seller could make more money. I would say suburban neighborhoods with mostly the same style homes also limited styles to make them less expensive for the buyer and so the seller could make more money. The different styled housing (row or suburban homes) are both similar looking for the same reaosns, whether they are urban or rural, big or small.

I understand why levittown say was built the way it was, I am saying that when what had previously been a style associated with rural independence was mass produced in the same fashion as urban housing had been, it elicited a reaction different from that elicited by existing urban housing.
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