Wednesday, December 12, 2018   07:05:20
6/28/2018
Learning from Suburban Housing
Looking at the suburbs, therefore, provides a way of understanding a vast segment of the public without the need to endorse or slander their homes. Anthony Alofsin, an architect, historian, and author of Wright in Gotham, writes of the need for urbanists and urbanophiles to treat the suburbs more respectfully:


Anthony Alofsin, an architect, historian, and author of Wright in Gotham, writes of the need for urbanists and urbanophiles to treat the suburbs more respectfully:

Open-minded curiosity can also teach much about another foreigner in our midst: the American suburb. Often vilified or ignored by urbanites, architects, and critics, the suburb is nevertheless the residential heart of America.

Alofsin writes specifically about the preference of most Americans for builder-constructed. Production housing is the most common form of single-family housing in the United States, according to Alofsin. According to some reports, only 2 percent of production housing is designed by architects. "As the architect Duo Dickinson has observed, this means that the profession has largely ceded the best opportunity to be relevant and useful to ordinary people," writes Alofsin.

Reflecting the open-minded curiosity called for at the beginning of the article, Alofsin lists many of the benefits of suburban production housing that makes the model so successful in the American real estate market. Alofsin is also ready to list the standard criticisms of the suburban housing model, but quickly follows that section of the article with another less common point: "Despite their broad attacks, critics sometimes overlook the suburbs’ real downsides." Those downsides include a lack of coordination with public transit, which increases commuting costs, a lack of innovative site planning, and a lack of mix when it comes to the services located nearby.


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