Muse by David Teitsma

My attempt to understand and be understood.

5.22.2005

New Urbanism

In the Grand Rapids Press today the Home and Garden section headlines deals with the growing trend of smaller more community focused homes. As a regular attender of Parade of Homes I am astonished with the size of new homes that have plenty of extra room. Where the rooms are barely used. Also as the article points out, new houses frequently separate themselves from others with bushes hedges, decks in back of house (and no front porch). Similarly, I am bothered seeing neighbors who drive into their garage and close the door behind them, where doors are always closed which in effect detracts from a sense of community. This is similar with increasing usage of air conditioning as when used all windows in the house stay closed, further separating houses. I will mirror my mom's practice of keeping the garage door open at all times of the day.

Also along with idea follows my observation of how neighborhoods are no longer where community comes from, rather from intuitions such as churches, and schools. Where in our neighborhood 20 years ago, everyone knew everyone. Now, we only know a handful of neighbors. This switch results from increases in transportation (more teens with cars), age of neighborhoods and I believe difference in architecture of neighborhoods, where one house is self sustaining with ventiliation, washing machines, basketball courts. As each house has these available there is no need to go to the neighbors to use theres or to the community center. Also, as our neighborhood was created a little over thirty years ago, the typical buyer is a young couple without kids. As the neighborhood has progressed the couples bore children soon after each other which allowed the neighborhood kids to play with eachother. Now, our neighborhood has grown where all the kids have moved out for college, leaving families leaving and not the common bond of children.

Thanks for listening to my ramblings...