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Old 07-19-2014, 10:37 PM
 
2,941 posts, read 3,856,291 times
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Originally Posted by wburg View Post



Facilities for entertaining guests is definitely a function of urban/suburban/rural orientation. Traditionally rural places needed more ability to care for visitors (large dining room, spare room for guests) because there probably weren't suitable nearby amenities. City people have those things at their disposal. When I have out-of-town visitors, even if they're staying at my house, we usually go out to dinner rather than eating in. Again, because I didn't buy a house with an extra room just for having dinner (not really needing one for a household of 2) I can afford more dinners out.
Not really. I grew up in an house built before the 1950ies, know family that all live in houses like that and have been in old apartments. Older places tend to have large dinning rooms. Some "newer" say late 40ies places might have an dinning room that doubles as the normal eating area but older housing also tends to have bigger kitchens that can accommodate an kitchen table as well as an dinning room.

Quote:
Interior decoration and design is also a function of the same idea. Early 20th century urban apartments used a lot of clever tricks to make up for a lack of space. Murphy beds and built-in wall furniture are probably the most common, but there are other handy widgets. My old house has a little wall cabinet in the kitchen that opens up and an ironing board pops out--located right next to what was probably the only electrical outlet in the kitchen (although before electricity people could heat an iron on the stove, or used irons heated by a charcoal container in the iron itself.) When not in use it folds away into its little box. Early 20th century "secretary desks" were models of efficient use of space: writing spaces folded up or slid into compartments, storage areas folded back and out of the way when not in use.
They still make that sort of stuff. Was thinking about adding an built in ironing board but that was kinda limiting. An portable ironing board was more useful. There is an huge difference between an apartment built for an single person esp. in the era before co-habitation and an apartment built for an family. Murphy beds were common in the kind built for an single person. However they are annoying because they require you to move everything out the way before folding out the bed every night which is an extra choir. In Chicago I have seen apartments with almost as much living space as the house I grew up in. Having an guest room is an function of family size vs. number of rooms in the house. People that rent apartments tend not to get any more space than they need because it is easy to move if they need more space and more space just equals increased rent. People that own houses tend to buy enough space to not only accommodate current needs but also for possible future needs and because they have an loan their is no "rent" to go up on. The larger house could be easier for resale value as well.

One of my neighbors who was renting had to move. She was renting an two bedroom house. Had two kids, and gave birth to an third. In short need more space. It is also an very common upgrade in Chicago to finish the basement and add additional living space if you own the house as well as add additions to the house. Another relative had an two bedroom house but she loved to entertain. She had no children so the extra bedroom was the guest room and an basement that was large enough to hold an pool table and an finished bar(another common basement upgrade).



Quote:
Modern urban residential design can make use of high-tech devices and materials to achieve the same goals. I notice a lot of households don't necessarily buy desktop computers anymore--they use a laptop. Televisions are flat nowadays, they can hang on a wall or sit on a narrow table instead of being big room-consuming pieces of furniture, and stereo speakers have shrunk from gigantic cases to cunning little boxes that sound like you're in the front row at a Van Halen concert. Printers are a lot smaller and less space-consuming. I'm sort of a throwback in that I still have a desktop PC with monitor, printer and scanner, but my uses are a lot more intense than most (I need to do high-resolution scans of images, print agendas and documents for organizations, drafts of articles and manuscripts) but it all fits into an old armoire retrofitted to the purpose by building an IKEA desk inside the armoire (total cost was considerably less than a "new" computer armoire made of particle bard with wood-grain contact paper.) Files are in an old wooden filing cabinet, research materials in a low-boy with a bookcase on top of it, and one of those aforementioned secretary desks and a table that collapses to half its size when not needed. All this fits into a room of about 120 square feet, the front half of my main living/dining area. And I know plenty of independent consultants, small business owners and freelancers who need a lot less space and equipment to manage their own businesses! Many make use of shared "coworking spaces" where they pay a nominal rent to use shared office facilities, or just set up shop in a local cafe with Wi-Fi.
Housing must meet the needs of an multiple types of people or it will be very limited as to who will buy or rent it. An former boss of mine had to move because he married an girl and neither apartment could not easily hold the both of them. The larger space is often less limited and more flexible than the smaller.

Last edited by chirack; 07-19-2014 at 10:50 PM..
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Old 07-21-2014, 07:47 AM
 
12,704 posts, read 9,959,474 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
I already know that families do live in cities. The title is just shorthand. My real question is if you think cities, assuming massive levels of gentrification, can ever compete against the suburbs as far as attracting families goes?

I posted the following in the DC forum. By way of background, Tenleytown and Georgetown are two very affluent DC neighborhoods that are zoned for excellent schools. Chevy Chase is an affluent Maryland suburb that sits across the border from Tenleytown.



It's often stated that once the schools are fixed, families will flood back into cities in droves. But looking at the Census data, solidly affluent DC neighborhoods don't have the same number of children as solidly affluent Maryland suburbs.

So...do you think that there's a built-in bias towards the suburbs when it comes to family life (regardless of schools, crime, etc.)?

PS: I understand that not ALL neighborhoods are like the ones I mentioned. They are just examples.
The cost of housing a family with kids in a dense urban core is astronomical!!!!!
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Old 07-29-2014, 09:36 AM
 
1,207 posts, read 883,828 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
solidly affluent DC neighborhoods don't have the same number of children as solidly affluent Maryland suburbs.
How are you measuring this? Cities draw a more diverse range of people than the suburbs do so you may not have the same percentage of children. However the density of children may look much different. I live in a very dense city (Somerville) bordering Boston. We only have 20% of households with children, compared to 35% in the bordering suburbs. However the number of children in a square mile in Somerville is 3x as high as in the bordering suburbs.
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Old 07-29-2014, 03:27 PM
 
13,040 posts, read 15,379,198 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
I recognize that the absolute number of families will be higher in the suburbs than in the city. But that doesn't explain why an urban neighborhood with low crime and good schools has far fewer children than a suburban neighborhood with low crime and good schools. Chevy Chase, MD is about every bit as expensive as Tenleytown (if not more). Georgetown may be more expensive by the square foot, but a million dollar home is a million dollar home. It's not like Eric Holder is going to browse properties in Georgetown and suffer from sticker shock. By and large, the demographics of both neighborhoods are similar in terms of affluence, educational attainment and race.

The only difference is housing stock. Chevy Chase is largely suburban. Tenleytown is much more urban but also has somewhat of a suburban character. Georgetown is the most urban of the three (even Georgetown has some large residences, however). Given that none of these neighborhoods are plagued by the things that often prevent families from settling into cities over the long-term--crime, bad schools, poverty--is it the case that people have a built-in bias towards the burbs when it comes to raising a family?
Maybe people want a house with a yard their kids can play in without having to go to a park a block or two or three away where they have to be accompanied by an adult. Maybe they don't want to live in what is in essence an apartment building with hundreds of other families. In my suburban house, my kids could play in my front or back yard and the neighbors' front and back yards and the kids were always in sight. We knew our neighbors - all of them.

If you lived in multifamily housing, it would be so much harder to keep an eye on the kids. If they disappear - are they in a neighbor's apartment "home," or around the block out of sight because of all the high rise buildings that block the view? Or among hundreds of other tenants in the building, is there a child molester who might have pulled your kid into their apartment? The truth is, you don't know. And it's hard to get to know hundreds of other families when you live in such a dense area. So either you keep the kids locked up in your apartment, or you monitor their every move, or you take your chances not knowing where they are at any given time.
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Old 07-29-2014, 03:47 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,164 posts, read 29,645,043 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luzianne View Post
Maybe people want a house with a yard their kids can play in without having to go to a park a block or two or three away where they have to be accompanied by an adult. Maybe they don't want to live in what is in essence an apartment building with hundreds of other families. In my suburban house, my kids could play in my front or back yard and the neighbors' front and back yards and the kids were always in sight. We knew our neighbors - all of them.

If you lived in multifamily housing, it would be so much harder to keep an eye on the kids. If they disappear - are they in a neighbor's apartment "home," or around the block out of sight because of all the high rise buildings that block the view? Or among hundreds of other tenants in the building, is there a child molester who might have pulled your kid into their apartment? The truth is, you don't know. And it's hard to get to know hundreds of other families when you live in such a dense area. So either you keep the kids locked up in your apartment, or you monitor their every move, or you take your chances not knowing where they are at any given time.
I am so puzzled by this idea that only people with lawns get to know their neighbors. And that the only city housing available is huge residential skyscrapers.

I live in a denser neighborhood. There are like 2 high rises nearby, but most other buildings are 3-5 stories.

I'll pick the street view for a nearby street:
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Ve...89c56ce6def7d5

The area I live has about 10-15k density, which is right around what you need for decent transit access. This street is around a 5 minute walk from this commercial district.
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Ve...89c56ce6def7d5

If you lived there, and walked 10 minutes, you'd access a municipal Rose Garden, year round weekly farmers market, Safeway, Trader Joes, and dozens of restaurants etc. There is also a lake (with running trails, a kid's play land that was the inspiration for Disney land, a bonsai Garden, bird sanctuary, picnic tables, playgrounds, and other stuff) in that 10ish minute radius. There are also several bus lines in the 10 minute walk serving SF, downtown Oakland, and other places in the area. This street has more multifamily housing, but not quite as many as my street. You can go a few streets over, and it is all more single family stuff.
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Ve...89c56ce6def7d5

This is what exists roughly 2 miles from downtown Oakland. It is still "urban" and "in the city" and "walkable" but not all that different from suburbia. People have lawns and yards, many of those homes have mature street trees. It is not on common to find lemon, oranges, figs, and peaches as part of the front yard landscaping over there.

For me, that's the perfect family neighborhood! No 20 story high rises required. The tallest buildings over there are about 4 floors (it is the next neighborhood over from mine, mine looks the same, but my commercial district has tall buildings and a hospital mixed in). And the great thing is, since there are multiple housing types, all sorts of families could live there. Some people can have a larger house, some people can have a condo, and other people can rent an apartment, and all have access to the amenities.
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Old 07-29-2014, 05:13 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 15 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,981 posts, read 102,527,356 times
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^^It sounds lovely, but you still have to take your kids to these parks until they are 10 or so, and stay there with them. Just re-read this- Good grief, a lake! I wouldn't have turned my kids loose by themselves in a park with a lake until they were at least 10 years old and had the sense to stay out of the water! Having your own yard means they can play in the yard and you can work in the house. Can't make dinner if you're at the park.
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Old 07-29-2014, 05:35 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,164 posts, read 29,645,043 times
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Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
^^It sounds lovely, but you still have to take your kids to these parks until they are 10 or so, and stay there with them. Just re-read this- Good grief, a lake! I wouldn't have turned my kids loose by themselves in a park with a lake until they were at least 10 years old and had the sense to stay out of the water! Having your own yard means they can play in the yard and you can work in the house. Can't make dinner if you're at the park.
The lake is a park. Definitely not for swimming. I don't think I have seen anyone get too close to even jumping in the water other than the special triathlons in wetsuits!

But most of the homes in those areas have yards too! Some yards are huge. And many of the apartment/condo buildings have inner courtyards.

When I was a kid, my parents let us loose basically anywhere in a 2 block radius. My school was on the next block, and that was allowed as well. We could go to the playground there unaccompanied. We played in the yard too, but after I was in roughly kindergarten or first grade I was allowed to play outside by myself in my neighborhood. I don't remember many occasions where mom was watching closely at all! We played in the backyard, in the neighbors yard and so on. The only rule I remember is that we were not allowed to go to the neighbors pool unless their parents were home (several people on our block had pools!). We were not allowed to cross the busy street that served as the entrance to the neighborhood, or go past the school until I was a little older. Maybe 8. Then the radius expanded to about 4 blocks. When we visited my grandma, the radius was further. We could even walk to the store (about 4 blocks away) or go to the woods....

But really what I am getting at is you can still have a yard and be walkable to transit (and live in the city). We have plenty of suitable neighborhoods with suburban like amenities (yards) and are still "urban."

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Tr...92ea8a76b10702

This is about a 5-7 minute wall from the first area! Looks more like suburbia right? And it is still in that 10 minute zone of the other stuff and 2-ish miles from downtown.
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Old 07-29-2014, 06:07 PM
 
13,040 posts, read 15,379,198 times
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
I don't give a damn. They can live where they want as adults. I'm living in a city because I like it and it won't hurt them, not because I think it's better for them.

Well, to their credit, my parents lived where they thought it was best to raise their kids, not just a place that "wouldn't hurt them." To my credit, I did the same. When I had kids, what was best for them trumped what I wanted.
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Old 07-29-2014, 07:12 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 15 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,981 posts, read 102,527,356 times
Reputation: 33045
Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
The lake is a park. Definitely not for swimming. I don't think I have seen anyone get too close to even jumping in the water other than the special triathlons in wetsuits!

But most of the homes in those areas have yards too! Some yards are huge. And many of the apartment/condo buildings have inner courtyards.

When I was a kid, my parents let us loose basically anywhere in a 2 block radius. My school was on the next block, and that was allowed as well. We could go to the playground there unaccompanied. We played in the yard too, but after I was in roughly kindergarten or first grade I was allowed to play outside by myself in my neighborhood. I don't remember many occasions where mom was watching closely at all! We played in the backyard, in the neighbors yard and so on. The only rule I remember is that we were not allowed to go to the neighbors pool unless their parents were home (several people on our block had pools!). We were not allowed to cross the busy street that served as the entrance to the neighborhood, or go past the school until I was a little older. Maybe 8. Then the radius expanded to about 4 blocks. When we visited my grandma, the radius was further. We could even walk to the store (about 4 blocks away) or go to the woods....

But really what I am getting at is you can still have a yard and be walkable to transit (and live in the city). We have plenty of suitable neighborhoods with suburban like amenities (yards) and are still "urban."

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Tr...92ea8a76b10702

This is about a 5-7 minute wall from the first area! Looks more like suburbia right? And it is still in that 10 minute zone of the other stuff and 2-ish miles from downtown.
The lake doesn't have to be for swimming for a kid to get into trouble.

Yes you can have a yard in Denver. Lots of people do. That's not news to me.
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Old 07-29-2014, 09:10 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,414 posts, read 11,910,584 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luzianne View Post
Well, to their credit, my parents lived where they thought it was best to raise their kids, not just a place that "wouldn't hurt them." To my credit, I did the same. When I had kids, what was best for them trumped what I wanted.
My point is I (and even moreso, my wife) enjoy city living and don't enjoy suburban living. I cannot, in contrast, anticipate what my children will enjoy as adults, or for that matter, what they'd enjoy more as children. Therefore it makes sense to do what we personally enjoy, rather than suffer through suburban living with the idea that "it's good for the kids."
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