I was recently alarmed to see a modest-sized house in my neighborhood demolished to make way for a much larger residence that straddles two lots. I shouldn’t have been surprised to see that house knocked down: it was a two-bedroom, one-bathroom home built during the Great Depression taking up space in a wealthy suburb, and the real estate market won’t stand for that. The little house’s demolition fits with a nationwide pattern: older suburbs are turning over. [More]
Are the disconnected cul-de-sacs so popular in suburban development actually strangling their communities? [More]
The awesome narrative non-fiction writer Lee Sandlin has posted online for the first time ever his 54-page 1984 essay “The Road To Nowhere – On Suburbia, the Interstates, and the National Defense: A Confession.” It’s full of little gems like how interstates plowing through poor neighborhoods were justified in part because their increased light would reduce crime and their concrete barriers would serve as excellent firebreaks in the event of nuclear war.
The Road to Nowhere [Lee Sandlin]
If your priorities are in line with that of Money magazine and are looking to move, you’ll be glad to know that they have once again put together a list of the best places to call home in all of these United States. This year, Money set out to find “small towns across the country-those with populations of 8,500 to 50,000-where jobs are available, crime is low, schools are top-notch and housing is affordable.” Sounds dreamy. The top 10 inside.
At Windy Ridge, a recently built starter-home development seven miles northwest of Charlotte, North Carolina, 81 of the community’s 132 small, vinyl-sided houses were in foreclosure as of late last year. Vandals have kicked in doors and stripped the copper wire from vacant houses; drug users and homeless people have furtively moved in. In December, after a stray bullet blasted through her son’s bedroom and into her own, Laurie Talbot, who’d moved to Windy Ridge from New York in 2005, told The Charlotte Observer, “I thought I’d bought a home in Pleasantville. I never imagined in my wildest dreams that stuff like this would happen.”
U.S. strip malls vacancies are up to a 5 1/2 year high of 7.4%, ripples of the sub-prime meltdown. [WSJ]