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Old 05-04-2012, 08:15 PM
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,652 posts, read 17,854,425 times
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What is housing like in your country? Which forms dominate the housing market?

In most of the United States, the single-family detached home is the dominant form of housing, even in many cities, and in northern Minnesota this is equally true. This is considered a practical requirement for raising a family by most people. Detached homes vary greatly in age, size, and setting (urban, suburban, or rural). The average size of an American home is roughly 180-200 m^2, but new construction often exceeds 300 m^2, and even 400 m^2 in some cases.

Typical working/middle-class "urban" housing in Duluth. I would say the average age of this housing stock is 100 years:

Typical middle/upper middle class suburban housing outside of Duluth. This house was constructed under 10 years ago:

Two-level (basement and ground floor) "ranch"-style homes are also common. They were built in the 1950's and 1960's.

Apartments are the second most common style of housing around here. Many are single-family detached houses whose owners, at one point, constructed a separate entry and rented out part of their home for additional income. A few of the houses in the preceding working-class example probably contain a second unit which is rented out. Others are situated above existing storefronts. Finally, others are contained in buildings devoted to apartments. Here's a picture with the latter two:

Apartments in northern Minnesota are typically inhabited by a broad range of people, and are almost always rented rather than owned. Some cannot afford a house of their own; others are older folk who have downsized (the tower block in the background of the preceding picture consists of "senior apartments"); others are occupied by transient populations, such as students and traveling nurses.

Certain developments targeted at wealthy urban populations have begun to spring up in many American cities, but so far have been limited by most locals' desire to own a house as soon as they can afford it.

Grouped in closely with apartments are rowhouses or townhomes which are usually also rented, typically to students and lower-income people. Here is an example of an older rowhouse (c. 1890):

Rowhouses are usually inhabited by students, younger people, and those with lower incomes. Many rowhouses and apartments are part of Section 8, a government program that gives individuals vouchers for apartment and house rental.

Finally, there are mobile homes. Mobile homes, or "trailers", are more common in southern states, but exist here as well. They are inhabited primarily by low-income and elderly folk, who maintain summer residences here while wintering in warmer states. They are usually (but not always) grouped together in a mobile home park or "trailer park".

Here is an example of a trailer park:

Pleasant View Mobile Home Park, 2005 by tvdxer, on Flickr

Finally, for those on the absolute margins of society who are not homeless, there are for-profit boarding houses and non-profit shelters. Here's the Seaway Hotel, which actually rents rooms monthly:

Curly's Bar by tvdxer, on Flickr
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