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Old 11-26-2014, 11:44 AM
 
Location: The City
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like all housing forms a lot depends on location, some more desirable and some less to the individual

no housing form is truly inherently good or bad really

I have lived in SFHs, rowhouses, and apartment buildings they all have their pluses and minuses

currently I do live in a rowhome as for the my current desired location it was the best option for me personally
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Old 11-26-2014, 12:02 PM
 
Location: East Central Pennsylvania/ Chicago for 6yrs.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
I know you have a campaign here against rowhouses, but I thought I'd mention that front lawns are not a universally desired thing.

As far as I'm concerned, front lawns are a waste of space. People don't grow vegetables in their front yard. They don't barbecue. Typically, their kids don't play there. They don't have a pool. Front lawns basically just exist to "look nice." And since they are in public view, unlike a backyard, you are basically forced to maintain your lawn to reasonable standards if you don't want your neighbors getting judgmental. Thus a front yard is all socially obligated work, and no fun. The space would be much more meaningful if transported to the rear of your property.

The best thing that can be said for front lawns is they provide some level of separation from the road. However, there are other ways around this. Rowhouses typically have at least modestly raised foundations compared to detached houses, with the main floor of the house anywhere from two feet to half a story above ground level - enough that people on the sidewalk won't peer into your front windows when walking by. And most rowhouse neighborhoods have streets which are narrow off the main drags, meaning there isn't much vehicular traffic that needs to be blocked out.

I was really happy that my new (detached) house in Pittsburgh was what is termed a "high side" house. Basically because although set back, it's on a small ridge. On one side of my steps I have a retaining wall and a wildflower garden, and on the other side I have a slope with ivy on it. So even though there is a setback, there is no front lawn to maintain.
All I will say to that we wouldn't have had suburban sprawl? If it was not MORE DESIRABLE TO HAVE HOUSING SET BACK and FRONT LAWNS to present their home and give a more pleasant vista?

Chicago merely with larger city lots and FRONTAGE GREEN SPACE. Presents better in todays standards compared to homes to sidewalks and less green? ESPECIALLY MOST ROWS.

I think the OP doesn't have Rows as a favorite either? But if people pay the price for them in cities with a lot of Rows? They are not being torn down. You need more then one to build a something other then a Row again? Or to rip down whole blocks.
I do consider half double homes a form of Row by me also right to the sidewalks in older small towns. They are always are cheaper housing stock with Full Rows. Just in big cities a bland row in a good area still has high value.
Perhaps a thread with a poll... called Is it more desirable to have a front lawn to your home? Would have your claim its not more desirable.....Would win?
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Old 11-26-2014, 12:17 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Originally Posted by AgelessStranger View Post
Ahh, I see. Did not know that about Pittsburgh. Kind of the opposite here. Most neighborhoods in Philly are rows or a mixture of rows and twins. I would bet most are homeowned here too, but during the boom, there was a lot of investors who bought up the rows/twins and turned them into rentals. Which became a problem for some neighborhoods since some landlords didn't care who they rented out to. The larger rows (1700-1800+ sq ft) are going for in and around 200K here. Some more, some less.
Here's a map of Pittsburgh neighborhoods which outlines the areas which have/had significant stock.

Red are areas where essentially all of the rowhouses are gone. There's a handful of rowhouses remaining in a few of these neighborhoods, but they've mostly been urban renewed and/or turned into non-residential areas.

Orange are almost as bad. These are areas that are either currently heavily blighted or (in the case of parts of the Hill District) have been rebuilt as part of HUD-assisted projects in a much less urban fashion, to the point the rowhouse character is mostly lost. There are isolated streets here and there which still have the old dense urban rowhouse feel - perhaps a few hundred rowhouses in some of the neighborhoods. But overall, they don't work any longer as intact urban neighborhoods.

Blue are the areas which are still definable "rowhouse neighborhoods" These include.

1. South Side Flats and part of South Side Slopes are found in the southern part of the city. The Flats have been gentrifying since the 1990s, and taken the lower part of the Slopes along for the ride.

2. South and Central Oakland have been a student slum for University of Pittsburgh for decades. Few houses ever come on the market here except in the far southern fringes, and due to the pressures the rental market creates, they aren't cheap.

3. In the northern East End, Lawrenceville, Polish Hill, and Bloomfield are all gentrifying/becoming more expensive, particularly larger houses which are move-in ready.

4. A number of neighborhoods in the North Side. Some of these (Allegheny West, parts of Central North Side, Manchester, and West Deutschtown) historically had the bulk of the middle/upper class rowhouse stock, and thus have become quite expensive. Some other areas (East Deutschtown, Spring Garden) are pretty blighted, but still mostly intact at the moment. Revival is possible, but unless you're handy these houses won't be brought back on the cheap, since they've seen decades of neglect. Troy Hill (the North Side neighborhood furthest to the east) is the only remaining affordable/intact/safe rowhouse neighborhood. That said, much of the housing stock is heavily remuddled, and the larger houses have mostly been chopped into two-to-three units.
Attached Thumbnails
Rowhouses... problem for future of cities?-rowhouses.png  
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Old 11-26-2014, 12:22 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steeps View Post
All I will say to that we wouldn't have had suburban sprawl? If it was not MORE DESIRABLE TO HAVE HOUSING SET BACK and FRONT LAWNS to present their home and give a more pleasant vista?
The reason we have wide setbacks and front lawns is because they were generally mandated by zoning codes once they began becoming a thing in the early 20th century. And then in the 1930s, the FHA began requiring that in order to get a mortgage houses must be set back from the street and their neighbors. So consumer choice never entered into it.

That said, I wouldn't be surprised if most people do prefer front lawns, given Americans are generally socialized to prefer them. I'm just saying personally I find them wasteful. If I want a green field I can go down to the park.
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Old 11-26-2014, 12:49 PM
 
Location: East Central Pennsylvania/ Chicago for 6yrs.
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
The reason we have wide setbacks and front lawns is because they were generally mandated by zoning codes once they began becoming a thing in the early 20th century. And then in the 1930s, the FHA began requiring that in order to get a mortgage houses must be set back from the street and their neighbors. So consumer choice never entered into it.

That said, I wouldn't be surprised if most people do prefer front lawns, given Americans are generally socialized to prefer them. I'm just saying personally I find them wasteful. If I want a green field I can go down to the park.
Well no arguing..... But some cities got a head start and didn't have to change city grids. Again Chicago had its STANDARD LOT SIZE of 25' x 125' since the late 1800s ALL through the city even in the last spurt of its Bungalows into the early late 50s to mid-60s, Southwest side and Northwest side I lived once. Those tend to be my favorites for urban living that isn't wasting space. But just right. For most standards even today.
A example of those ⤵

Last edited by steeps; 12-13-2014 at 11:18 AM..
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Old 11-26-2014, 10:17 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
I'm not sure how you fit more than four rooms on a single floor in a rowhouse, without ending up with a room with no windows in the middle (as Nei mentioned), or having a "captive" room in the ell which you must travel through to reach the rear room (which is what I have seen more frequently).

That said, while the standard here is for the ell to not include the third floor, there's no reason why for flat roof or even some mansard rowhouses you could not get a usable room out of a third-floor ell, which would add more usable space.
I meant 6-9 total. It would usually be 2-4 per floor, and sometimes an extra 1-2 rooms on the third floor/attic.

The duplex house I live in has a finished attic with a kitchen in the middle and lounge area by the front facing window (kitchen and lounge are part of one open concept type room) and then there's a bathroom at the back also with a window.

The suburban townhouse I grew up in had a narrow kitchen area that was connected to the dining area which had the window at the front, and then a living room at the back. 2nd floor had a master bedroom at the back and 2 smaller bedrooms side by side at the front. There was a walkout basement which a large bedroom/rec room and screen doors doubling as windows, and off that large room there was an office, laundry and bathrooms which didn't have windows. It had a carport with the door at the back of it, so that left space for a decent sized window in the dining area, unlike some other suburban townhouses with garages and entrances beside the garage with little to no space for a window beside the door+garage.

You'll sometimes have rooms in Toronto row houses (and newer townhouses) with no windows though, usually kitchens or dining rooms or offices.
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Old 11-27-2014, 07:31 AM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
I'm not sure how you fit more than four rooms on a single floor in a rowhouse, without ending up with a room with no windows in the middle (as Nei mentioned), or having a "captive" room in the ell which you must travel through to reach the rear room (which is what I have seen more frequently).
You could have the row house wider, maybe three rooms wide and then have a hallway.
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Old 11-27-2014, 07:40 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Originally Posted by steeps View Post
All I will say to that we wouldn't have had suburban sprawl? If it was not MORE DESIRABLE TO HAVE HOUSING SET BACK and FRONT LAWNS to present their home and give a more pleasant vista?

Chicago merely with larger city lots and FRONTAGE GREEN SPACE. Presents better in todays standards compared to homes to sidewalks and less green? ESPECIALLY MOST ROWS.
Not necessarily. I don't find a front lawn, if undecorated adds much to the vista. It's rather blank. I like the homes in my neighborhood with a small setback and use up the lawn for a garden. If the lot sizes are small, I'd rather not break up the lot into part front and part back. Why not use most of it for the back yard?

Those Chicago homes always seemed so odd to me. Set back away from the street a large distance, but houses very close together. It looks disportionate. New England homes of the same time in cities and towns usually don't setback as much. British homes with the same lot size of Chicago bungalows typically have little front lawn and use all the lot for the back.
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Old 11-27-2014, 07:48 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Not all old row houses are completely front against the street. Not much here, but there is a small space for landscaping:

https://www.google.com/maps/@40.6585...ZJvK21Ju6Q!2e0

There are better more set back examples if I searched.
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Old 11-28-2014, 10:47 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia
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Now that ^ is a beautiful block-looks like some parts of Philly or Baltimore/DC. I agree I am not a fan of Chicago style urbanity with big setbacks-lawns are a wasted space and I would rather have a large backyard and be more connected to the street. Some rowhomes in Philly have garages and alleys in the back so the front yard makes sense:

https://www.google.com/maps/@40.0664...Xw!2e0!6m1!1e1

But otherwise it is more useful and aesthetically pleasing IMO to have homes connected to the street with maybe a small garden. I also think porches add so much to a rowhome-what's with so many Chicago homes having small or no porches?

https://www.google.com/maps/@40.0221...IsF_sXLYKA!2e0

Last edited by 2e1m5a; 11-28-2014 at 10:56 AM..
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