dead men tell no tales...

...and drink no wine, and are therefore no good at parties

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


The State of Suburban Sprawl...

New homes make me sick some times.

I'm tired of the mentality of slamming homes together to squeeze one extra lot out of a development. It's sad, really... I grew up in a great house, built some time in the 1960s or 70s I think (my parents bought in 1985, sold in 1999), on a quarter-acre lot. Sure, it was bigger (by some) than many (but not all) of our neighbors. We had a big enough front yard for a tree (later ripped out and replaced with a flower bed), enough grass to be a bitch to cut, and the house was at least 50 feet off the street.

The back yard had a deck with a hot tub, a little half-court (okay, more like a third-court) with a basketball hoop, a small swing set I outgrew quickly, and enough lawn to play soccer or football on until I was about thirteen. I'm not saying this to brag.

I sent an email this morning for a client, for a new home development in Lincoln, CA. The email boasted of "Generous 6,000 square foot lots." Tomorrow I will send another, for a different client, for new homes in Sunnyvale, CA, that mentions, as a feature, "lots of up to nearly 4,000 square feet."

Up to? Nearly? Damn. For a quick comparison, here's an image for you... forgive me, it's as close as Google Maps gets and I had to blow it up to draw on it...

My old house

That's my old house. 2747 Marsh Drive in San Ramon. Where I grew up, and where until 7 years ago, my family had called home for a decade and a half. The red box is our quarter-acre lot. The blue box is what 4,000 square feet looks like. It's not quite enough for our house, includes about 1/3 of the front yard, and only the deck in the back yard.

It's just sad. I had so many great memories in that back yard... and in friends' back yards, as well... Greg had a big one, so did Russ, and Sean... ah well. I guess somewhere along the line, home builders decided kids don't need yards, and it must be more cost-efficient to squeeze homes close enough to get that single extra lot, and put in a greenbelt or community park, then it is to give everyone another couple thousand square feet.

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