By Philip Langdon
Mentioning interviews with builders, planners, and citizens, the coauthor of This outdated residence explains the relationship among average smooth suburban designs and the emotions of group delight, whereas declaring the virtues of older designs.
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Extra resources for A better place to live: reshaping the American suburb
A lot of people put in about four hours a day on the freeway," says former mayor Judith A. Nieburger. ) "It's getting worse," Nieburger says. "Around here at 4:30 or 5 o'clock in the morning it's amazing how busy it is on the road. " The average freeway speed in southern California dropped from more than 50 miles an hour in the mid-1970s to 47 miles an hour in 1984, and it is expected to plummet to 24 miles an hour by 2010 unless new transportation facilities are built. Once celebrated for their ability to connect a huge metropolis with ease, the freeways now spawn what sound like tall talesexcept that they are true.
My father did not; he was a newspaperman for the local Record-Argus and worked each day in a second-floor office in Greenville's small, busy downtown. Yet even though our family didn't get a paycheck from "the Steel Car," as it was commonly called, the fact that the street from our middle-class block led right past the company's factory and office made me conscious, from an early age, of where many of the townspeople earned a living and what they produced. The street network provided the beginnings of an education.
They got to know one another. That spirit faded as years went by and houses changed hands. Households became more withdrawn from one another. For a while Jim worked to make friends with the newest arrivals in the subdivision. The area contained many corporate transferees, however, and no sooner would a friendship solidify than the friend would move away. Some houses changed hands four times in ten years. ''I'm more reluctant to try to make friends now," Jim said. " The difficulty he has experienced is chronic in high-turnover neighborhoods.
A better place to live: reshaping the American suburb by Philip Langdon
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