A better place to live: reshaping the American suburb by Philip Langdon

By Philip Langdon

Mentioning interviews with builders, planners, and citizens, the coauthor of This previous apartment explains the relationship among standard smooth suburban designs and the sentiments of neighborhood delight, whereas declaring the virtues of older designs.

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Additional info for A better place to live: reshaping the American suburb

Sample text

Television makes it easy for the world's tensions and a commercial outlook about what is important in life to penetrate the home several hours a day. In a typical American household, the TV is turned on for seven hours daily; the tone and the content of life in its most intimate setting cannot help but be influenced by it. These forces would be potentially unhealthy under any circumstances. The great virtue of a well-designed community is its ability to offset some of the debilitating effects and to offer compensating sources of satisfaction.

In the end, the residents are stuck with the costs in more than one way, as Mark and Linda and their neighbors had learned. The suburban ways of developing are costly. If financial burdens and a shortage of time for enjoyment are two of the chief problems suburbanites encounter, a third problem is a sense of fragmentation and disconnection. Linda had the good luck to get a teaching job near their home, but Mark's office is in Hayward, over the range of hills to the west. It is far enough away that Mark rarely found opportunities to relax with people from work.

The commute leaves her little time to spend with her daughter. "When she was little," Mrs. " For most workers with long-distance commutes, evenings and weekends revolve around hurried attempts at child care, shopping, cooking, cleaning, yard maintenance, auto servicing, and other duties. Is shopping an enjoyable break from home? Not when time is scarce. Sixty-three percent of the people surveyed in a Business Week poll in 1989 said shopping was drudgery or worse. This is one reason for the 60 percent increase since 1983 in the number of people who do some of their shopping by mail or phone.

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