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Old 02-07-2013, 10:51 AM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MassVt View Post
Having a little separation between house and street is usually a good thing, for many reasons ( privacy and noise prevention being two of them). I really wouldn't care to live in a building from which the street is only a step or two from your front door...
Personally, I like the style of (many) little setback homes. Noise would be an issue if the street has traffic, but then again traffic carries if it is busy. If I need privacy, I could close the blinds, but most of the time I don't care too much either way if someone walking down the street sees on my computer using CD.
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:28 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MassVt View Post
Having a little separation between house and street is usually a good thing, for many reasons ( privacy and noise prevention being two of them). I really wouldn't care to live in a building from which the street is only a step or two from your front door...
I can see the concern if you are on a major thoroughfare, but the amount of traffic on side streets in urban areas is low enough it's seldom a concern. I hear the train passing by at night sometimes, but I never hear road noise.

In addition, virtually all rowhouses built in the older style have foundations a fair bit out of the ground - somewhere between two feet and half a story, depending upon the style. So it's not like people can stare into your front window very easily, even if you don't have a window covering. I can see how some people would feel awkward hanging out on front porches in minimal setback houses, but again, I feel this is mostly a function of how heavily trafficked the road is, and is no worse than hanging out in a public park in most cases.

I could see the issue with the literal no-setback, street level houses however, like some shotgun houses in much of the South and New Orleans rowhouses. Something like this is even a little too low setback even for for me.

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Old 02-07-2013, 02:43 PM
 
Location: Philaburbia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MassVt View Post
Having a little separation between house and street is usually a good thing, for many reasons ( privacy and noise prevention being two of them). I really wouldn't care to live in a building from which the street is only a step or two from your front door...
Nor would I. My front steps are about 12 feet from the sidewalk, and my porch is five steps up, and that's perfect for me -- close enough to talk with people from the front porch as they walk by, but far enough away for privacy and street noise if that's what I want.
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:32 PM
 
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I could never live in that shotgun-style house depicted above; you'd have no privacy, and strangers/drunks would use your steps to sleep on, vomit on, etc. You'd also never be sure if someone was trying to break into your house, etc...

The ultimate reason, though: it's just not a peaceful place to come home to at night. No appeal whatsoever.
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:38 PM
 
Location: Ypsilanti
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MassVt View Post
I could never live in that shotgun-style house depicted above; you'd have no privacy, and strangers/drunks would use your steps to sleep on, vomit on, etc. You'd also never be sure if someone was trying to break into your house, etc...

The ultimate reason, though: it's just not a peaceful place to come home to at night. No appeal whatsoever.
I've never seen housing like that above.
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Old 02-07-2013, 05:17 PM
 
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Where I live in SoCal, there are SFH, condos, apartments, and McMansions all within a 5 mile radius. Old homes, new, a little bit of everything. And I like it, it's not just row after row of cookie cutter homes (although we do have that too in some places). Everybody seems to co-exist quite well.

As Boomers age, they will be looking at smaller homes or townhouses and there aren't enough young people who have good jobs and can afford new homes with high prices. I think this population shift will affect what gets built. I research places to retire and there are many really good towns that don't have very many apartments at all, I guess most people live in SFH.

I read an article recently that larger homes where an entire family can live together (kids, 20 somethings, adults, and older parents and grandparents)....SUPPOSEDLY this will be the new big thing in housing.
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Old 02-07-2013, 06:10 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Originally Posted by weteath View Post
I've never seen housing like that above.
It's pretty typical of the residential parts of the French Quarter.

Ironically, the architecture in the French Quarter isn't French, as the French colonial architecture all burned down by two fires in the late 18th century, and the city was rebuilt by the Spanish. The setback of zero from the street was intended as a fire prevention system, as was the minimal space between houses, which seems odd today.
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:48 PM
 
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Those who are worried about folks' inability to buy single family detached houses can relax--there's a huge glut of them on the market. The foreclosure crisis has made hundreds of thousands of these homes available. That's why prices fell for 5 years and only recently have upticked a little. Some housing analysts fear that with this improvement in market conditions, banks will release many more foreclosed homes to the market, and prices will start falling again.

So profit-motivated developers' desire to build denser housing is not because of the absence of single family product. Developers see that increasing numbers of people want that kind of housing. They see that it was undersupplied, especially from the 70's through the 90's. Another sign is that condo prices used to be much more volatile than single family home prices, but aren't any more. Bottom line--developers won't build what they can't sell or rent.

One way to look at this is to consider whether suburban residents should have housing choices. In many suburban communities now, if you don't want a detached house, you don't have many choices. If townhouses or apartments are built in good locations, especially locations adjacent to transit, the people there will have more choices. The single family neighborhoods don't disappear, they're just joined by other forms of housing. This housing choice becomes all the more important now that many suburbs also have substantial employment concentrations. People working in a community should have some options for living there.

The notion that townhouses are somehow slum housing is funny. In Chicago, someone said that you could tell a neighborhood was gentrifying when they started building townhouses!

Green space next to a road: I suppose it's OK. But it's not provide public open space for recreation like a park. It doesn't provide private open space for a family/household like a yard. It doesn't provide a wildlife corridor, or a habitat, like open space along a river might. It's purely visual.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:19 PM
 
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I live in a 650 square foot condo in the suburbs (yes, I'm Canadian). I live across the street from a park that is well used by young families. Within a 5-8 minute walk, I live next to a fairly big shopping mall that includes a Walmart. I have all basic amenities without use of a car (library, movie theatre, school, parks, big grocery stores).

But it's a suburb. My movie theatre does not play small art-house flicks. We do not have a Whole Foods--we have a Real Canadian Superstore and a SuperWalmart (and big Chinese grocery store). I have lots of coffeeshops--but they're chains like Starbucks (2 of them) and Tim Hortons (2 of them). I have restaurants--more chains with the exception of Asian restaurants.

The "town centre" that BIMBAM described is basically my neighbourhood. I think it's very walkable--that said, I am guilty of driving to the Walmart when the weather sucks. I mean, the parking's free.
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:04 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
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Originally Posted by memememe76 View Post
Tim Hortons (2 of them)
What more do you need?
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