Living in the Suburbs

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by earllogjam, Jan 11, 2008.

  1. earllogjam

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    Do you live in the suburbs, live in a track home, shop at Walmart or Costco and the big box strip mall, drive everywhere, grocery shop at the mega supermarket and your idea of a night out on the town is driving to the Olive Garden, Red Lobster or Applebee's? Is the closest Seven11 three miles away?

    I'd say 80% of Americans have this lifestyle - I grew up in one as many many kids do.

    Is it the ideal environment to live in? Why did you choose to live there?

    It is my feeling that they are tragic environments that do not foster community nor connection to others. They are auto dependent places that do not promote health or the human body and segregate us into certain class and population segments. They are environments designed to look nice while driving but in reality are devoid of life or opportunities for human interaction.
     
  2. Damian Johnson

    Damian Johnson New Member

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    Dude. I would hate to live in the suburbs. Boring as hell. My idea of hell. Ok for families with kids and retired people, but for anyone wanting a slice of the action, NO WAY. Soo many people of all ages are moving back into city centres because the suburbs suck.
     
  3. earllogjam

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    Believe it or not they are terrible places for elderly retired folks because services are so far away and if you can't drive you are dependent on everything to come to you. You can't even walk somewhere to get your hair cut let alone pick up a prescription. Living in a house on a cul de sac can aslo be very isolating. Just another bad thing this environment fosters for the elderly.

    They aren't great places for kids also. I think most suburban kids resort to playing video games because their environment is do god damn devoid of any opportunities for new experiences or fun. Kids just make do and hang out in the Walmart parking lot after the store closes. I think the boring suburbs add to the teen drinking and drug problem in the US. For me I think the bordom outweighs the benefits of percieved safety in these environments.
     
  4. snoozan

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    yes i do.

    it sucks.

    my house is for sale. i want out.
     
  5. Tristessa

    Tristessa New Member

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    I live in a city flat with a community garden shared by 4 buildings. I bus to work (about 25 minutes) and walk/bike otherwise. It's a 25 minute walk to the city centre for a night out, passing mostly small, independent shops along the way. I don't own a car and don't need one . . maybe a moped in a year or two, for long distance trips.

    I buy groceries at local green grocers, farmers' market and immigrant shops (the only places I can find the veggies I want), with some staples bought at the regular chain supermarket. I make some of my own clothes, the rest generally bought online, secondhand, or from a Swedish store I love called Indiska.

    A night out is generally a film at the art cinema, one of the university pubs that tend to be low-light and lots of sofas/cushions, quiet restaurant with live jazz, rock or dnb club (or a burlesque show!), or spent with friends in their flats that they generally share with 2-10 other people.

    Very communal, very genuine and down to earth. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I grew up in suburbia (US), and don't plan to ever go back.
     
  6. Osiris

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    Yes I do. I actually like my life in the suburbs. I am on the East side of the Lake in a very wooded area with good schools, great people, and a nice house. I can't complain. It is better to raise little ones here than in the city.
     
  7. B_Italian1

    B_Italian1 New Member

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    I've always lived in the 'burbs, never in a track home, and wouldn't have it any other way. I think I'd be lost in the city. I like the flowers, trees, shubbery, and little animals running around. There's a pond out back with turtles and frogs; some people fish in it and if it gets cold enough in the winter, they skate on it.

    Target and Wal-Mart are less than 5 minutes away, and the city isn't far either, so it's kind of the best of both worlds. The city makes me feel claustrophobic--like I'm suffocating. I can only take it in small doses. There are chains like Applebee's and others nearby, but also little friendly diners and family restaurants. There are big supermarkets, smaller ones, and variety stores usually owned by Indians and Hispanics. The Indians like to say "hello buddy" in their little accent, and the Hispanics usually say "God Bless" when you leave.

    The neighborhood isn't close like the one I grew up in. Back then, my parents would have cake and coffee with the neighbors and gossip. We used to joke that the neighborhood was its own Peyton Place, but with a lot less drama and scandal.

    I wave to my neighbors and they wave back. Some I'm more close with than others, and we talk on occasion. The kids ride their bikes up and down the street, play ball, or hide and seek. People walk their dogs after dinner, and for some reason have their dog poop on someone else's yard. They pick it up....most of the time. I never understood why dogs can't poop on their own lawn. :confused:
     
  8. Lex

    Lex
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    I live in the burbs and I refuse to be caught in Wal-Mart.

    I do not miss the city life that much.
     
  9. IntoxicatingToxin

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    I live in the suburbs, and I prefer it here. The city is too busy for me (and where I'm at, living in the city is the equivalent of living in the ghetto for the most part).
     
  10. Bbucko

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    All of SoFla, from Palm Beach to Homestead, is a semi-urbanized version of the sprawling, suburban nightmare-scape. There is no "there" anywhere unless you're on the beach or in one of a few enclaves.

    Walking is difficult when it's possible. The distances are vast and one crosses through pockets of misery unnoticed by those whizzing by in their cars, but buses are unpredictable and inconvenient and cabs are absurdly expensive.

    If I could tolerate the cold and could afford it, I'd move back to downtown Boston or New York City in a heartbeat.
     
  11. sdg475

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    Traditionally, the wealthy lived in the center of the city, near business districts and often times crossroads. However, some time after the Industrial Revolution, the wealthy decided that the newer, larger, busier communities were not desirable places to live. Instead, the wealthy wanted to enjoy a "slower" more natural environment. But, people refused to give up the economic benefits of living in the city; and so decided to move to the outskirts of the city. Couple this desire to enjoy the best of both worlds with the increasing popularity of the personal automobile, and there you have it; suburbs.

    Interesting little fact, the cul de sacs and curving roads typically found in suburban sprawl neighborhoods is a result of an architect's (forget the name, sorry) desire to recreate the feeling of driving on a country road. He felt that the curves and the circles made driving slower and more scenic, as if you were in the country.

    Anyways, yes I live in a suburb, but go to school in a walkable community. I'd have to say that I really hate suburban developments. Nothing pisses me off more than the $1million McMansions with one halfway decent looking facade (still pretty aweful and void of any stylistic integrity, but hey most people don't think like that), and three sides of ungodly amounts of tan/beige/off white siding with awkwardly placed windows. I hate the fact that nothing is designed to human scale. I hate the domination big box stores that only exist because they are visible from the roads, and people see a brand name they recognize (and thus feel okay shopping there). I hate the fact that everyone is seperated by metal and glass, and that there is no triangulation whatsoever. I hate all of the other ways in which sprawl negatively impacts the community, sense of local identity, local economy, etc. Equally, I hate the environmental degradation caused by driving everywhere, people living in heated/AC'd 3,000 square foot houses, the mandatory mom SUVs/vans...the fragmentation that sprawl causes (breeding grounds for invasive/low integrity species which often dominate and decrease bio-diversity). I hate the fact that sprawl neigborhood residents are an average of 10lbs heavier because no one walks any where. I don't like everyone's manicured little lawns with massive quantities of fertilizers and stupid, perfectly spherical shrubs. Most of all I hate how it is all a part of the largely unchallenged "American Dream" of a house, a car, and a white fence.
     
  12. earllogjam

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    I have a feeling that the suburbs in the East and older cities like St. Louis and Chicago are quite nice places to live with retail shops nearby, gridded tree lined streets and access to mass transportation. They were built before WWII.

    I live out West in California and the suburbs I am refering to are those that were built in the 60's, 70's and 80's replete with gated communities, security patrols in the big box parking lots and strip malls filled with franchised retailers and restaurants devoid of any regional character or sense of place. Most people where I live don't know any different because it is the landscape they grew up in. It is the model, unfortunately, for most all suburban development today.

    They are ubiqitous in places like where bBucko lives in South Florida. Phoenix, Las Vegas, Reno, Orange County, San Bernardino, Raleigh and Atlanta come to my mind. They are the vestige of post WWII automobile utopias that don't work that well today.
     
  13. SpoiledPrincess

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    I'm not quite sure what a track home is, is it a house built on an estate of very similar houses?
     
  14. SpeedoGuy

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    Tragic might be a bit strong description of life in the 'burbs but I share many of the same observations you do.

    Still...

    Is life in heavily urbanized areas all that more appealing? Sure there are more cool locally owned bookstores and restaurants. But what about the expense? The crime? The noise? The traffic? The limited living space? My observation is that urbanites don't know their neighbors any better than sub-urbanites.
     
  15. earllogjam

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    Pictures are worth a thousand words. Here are some shots of what I'm taking about. Suburban sprawl...anywhere USA.

    These are the environments we are building for ourselves as the richest country in the world and the primary reason why we need to consume 25% of the world's petroleum resouces.
     

    Attached Files:

  16. Osiris

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    When we lived in St. Louis, the better older architecture was in town. The burbs were also experiencing nouveau sprawl. The houses built in the late 40s early 50s were being replaced with modern houses and strip malls. I know my first trip back to Brentwood, California in ten years was a shock. Huge strip malls and oversized condos now populated areas where there had been quaint apartment buildings.

    Suburbia is nice, but in moderation.
     
  17. earllogjam

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    Portand is one of the enlightened cities that has rejected suburban sprawl and has done an excellent job at planning for density and quality of life. They have built an infrastructure of excellent public transportation, put a subdivision development boundary around the city to prevent sprawl, put in measures to encourage housing density and mixed use communities. The Pearl District in downtown is an excellent example of how quality of life can improve without following the suburban sprawl model.

    It often isn't a choice between living in the city or suburbs but rather a choice of living in a real town or a bedroom development. Many suburban communities built pre WWII are excellent places to live primarily because services and retail and the entire day to day living experience has been and provided for. They are mini-cities and not just bedroom communities. They are not designed to be dependent on automobiles because not everyone had a car back then. They are places instead of souless subdivisions. They are places people who live in the dead bedroom communities come to eat a good meal and stroll.
     
  18. HazelGod

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    What everyone means to say is tract homes...think of the song:

    Little boxes on the hillside
    Little boxes made of ticky tacky
    Little boxes on the hillside
    Little boxes, all the same

     
  19. rodsmith

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    I'm glad you all are getting into this discussion. I work with a community planning organization and you wouldn't believe how many hoops you have to jump thru just to try and be sure that any new development does not turn into a "non green" living space. I prefer the business of mixed urban areas for action and always want to be able to walk everywhere I can but of course having the open space of the country is nice too. Unfortunately it seems society is heading in the direction where the "have nots" will be left in the ghettos with what's left of the all the great historic architecture and/or it will be too pricey to live there (South Beach for instance). You have to be wealthy to live on any coast or anywhere near the water or in desirable places like Taos, Santa Fe, and other "with it" cities. For the rest of us, we just have to get used to paying high gasoline prices for all the driving we do living in the suburbs/exurbs.
     
  20. The Dragon

    The Dragon New Member

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    I live in a gated community with security.
    I am lucky in that every house is diffrent and they are on large blocks of land so we aren't living in each others back pockets.
    The other bonus is that it is 2 blocks from the beach, 3 mins drive from the marina and boat ramp.
    It's also minutes away from the best seafood, grocery markets and the wine merchants are only a short stagger away.
     
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