Thursday, February 09, 2012

little boxes made of ticky tacky

Today I went to a new part of town.  It's a sprawling subdivision following on from another sprawling subdivision which is an extension of another area of subdivision to the north of the city.

The house I visited was gorgeous - all modern lines and a fancy kitchen and designer garden.  But there were some things about the neighbourhood that made me feel, well, frankly uneasy.

Row after row after row of identical houses, with ''neighbour friendly'' fencing on each sides.  Tiny sections. Long roads with little planting and no hills or dales to break the monotony.  Brick and tile as far as the I could see.  Big garage doors are the feature that face the road.   And they weren't cheap.  The signs I saw advertised houses ready to be bought for upwards of $400k.

It took a full ten minutes of driving on a wide new road to get back to the main street, and a further 20 minutes across mad traffic to get to the outskirts of the city.  There were no pedestrians to be seen, let alone people walking dogs, or pushing prams.  No kids on bikes.  No one in their garden watering the plants.  Barely a house with a window open in fact.

I came back to my sleepy village, where every house is different and people live their lives in their gardens - which are as much at the front of the house as the back.  Where kids of as young as 6 or 7 walk and bike to school.  Where there is always at least one person walking their dog.  Where there are stiles over the fences between neighbouring houses for easy ''kid access''.  Where I can go for three or four days without getting the car out of the garage.

Perhaps sprawling developments with pristine housing is the way forward.  No doubt if you live in such a place you would say it has appeal and attractions.    Low maintenance.  Public transport.  New water and power systems.  Modern facilities.

Where I am there's a few tatty bits.  It can be noisy with all those kids and dogs about. :) There's always someone passing by to stop and talk to.  There's trees that shed leaves on the lawn.  The odd dodgy hole in the paths and roads.  There's no bus.  I have a septic tank because theirs no public sewerage system.

But I wouldn't have it any other way.

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