Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sprawl: Revealing the Man Behind the Curtain.

CNN Link

"Is America's suburban dream collapsing into a nightmare?"

In Shaun Yandell's neighborhood, this has already started to happen. Houses once filled with single families are now rented out by low-income tenants. Yandell speculates that they're coming from nearby Sacramento, where the downtown is undergoing substantial gentrification, or perhaps from some other area where prices have gotten too high. He isn't really sure.

But one thing Yandell is sure about is that he isn't going to leave his sunny suburban neighborhood unless he has to, and if that happens, he says he would only want to move to another one just like it.

"It's the American dream, you know," he said.
"The American dream."

There is nothing preventing suburbs from regaining vitality, but at a lower price point. It is certainly possible to develop unique economies there with a diversity of affordabilities, i.e. remaining mcmansions while others renovate to multi-families. It certainly gives mexican immigrants, here in Texas and other places a chance to develop small renovation and development businesses. The buildings will certainly need it.

The big issue is of design and construction. The buildings are made of shite, helped by former guvna GWB removing liability from home builders as one of his final farewells to Texas. Secondly, is the unpoliceability (word?) of the cul-de-sac style development.

I guess the final point is to remind everybody that "The American Dream" is about upward mobility, education and opportunity for children, NOT a piece of shit house in the suburbs with an hour commute. This was shallow marketing, plain and simple, which reminds me of the ad on the DART bus I saw yesterday. "DFWHousingFacts.com - Now IS the best time to buy."

And we wonder why, as a people, Americans are cynical about marketing. I guess marketing as an attempt to fool or swindle is merely the end-game of neo-classical economics, where profits are made thru cutting services, costs, and quality.