Have McMansions destroyed your neighborhood?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by 63dot, Mar 5, 2009.

  1. 63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #1
    It's sad to see a neighborhood which once had custom built houses, cottages, and charming victorians giving way to Generica style, mass produced looking factory housing where I live.

    Basically three or four designs of these overly large homes have attacked my neighborhood in the last decade. And to make things worse, they come in several colors - dark tan, medium tan, and light tan. In order to make space for these larger homes, stupid things like trees and gardens have been removed. Maybe this is cool because the green clashes with all that modern tan architecture.

    I don't know if this will be seen as the worst architectural trend in US history, but what gives, no more architects or city planners? Is it the architecture software or building codes? Is is a massive way to cut costs? Whatever it is, it is sickening.

    Thoughts?

    Below are comparisons between the two types of architecture. The older homes (from different states in photos) were a combination of wood homes, stone/brick homes, and some stucco homes, but all different and usually with yards and there were examples very similar where I grew up. But the uniformity of the nearly yardless McMansions in the overhead shot is what my town and most others around me are beginning to look like.
     

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  2. JBazz macrumors 6502

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  3. MasterNile macrumors 65816

    MasterNile

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  4. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #4
    It is an example of what maybe a few towns in Anywhere, USA looked like but not the majority of the landscape.

    Unfortunately, this "new look" of soulless McMansions are becoming the majority. Poorer neighborhoods will have smaller versions, and richer neighborhoods bigger ones, but the total lack of yards and nature is the one thing the new stuff has in common.

    I really didn't mind when one small section of town had this cookie cutter housing, but when it takes over the whole town and the whole county, then something seems to be very off base.
     
  5. Mr. Giver '94 macrumors 68000

    Mr. Giver '94

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    #5
    I thought that was how things looked everywhere?? :confused:;)

    I guess it does here...... McMansions of the larger, more luxurious variety dominate where I live (just north of LA). That and luxury upscale town-homes. I don't mind. :)
     
  6. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #6
    Doesn't it bug you if your neighbor's house right next to you or the one across the street has the same floor plan, and ad nauseum for blocks in every direction? Where I grew up as a child, every house looked different, but when I was a teen the new dwelling had the same architect as the house next to mine. While there were not identical, there was too much in common. But today, as you can see everywhere in suburbia (and even rural areas), they are identical, or nearly identical.

    To me that's very sad, but I could be old fashioned.
     
  7. Mr. Giver '94 macrumors 68000

    Mr. Giver '94

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    #7
    Well thankfully my neighborhood has a strict HOA and we are a privately owned planned community from before 'yardless' was the way to go.

    The lack of side yard in new homes does bother me but what I really don't like is that the windows are in the same place on the sides of the houses. If you look out of your bathroom in some of the newer homes you'll likely be looking in on someone else.

    That's what I don't understand about current construction. Our CC&R's clearly state that no window may face directly onto your neighbor's property. :)

    My dad is actually the HOA President so I hear about all of the rules and frankly I enjoy having them. It bugs me when I see a really nice home next to a POS crack house because they have no HOA rules/regulations.
     
  8. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #8
    In San Francisco, you may have a nice stucco home, next to a drug ridden brick home, next to a McMansion, next to a too-old wooden Victorian badly in need of a paint job. But that is much more interesting than having all the houses identical in build, color, materials, and window placement in many places in nearby Silicon Valley.

    You can actually have some diversity in race, income, occupation, etc. and it's what gives an original neighborhood its character. But when you have people all cut from the same cloth living in a McMansion neighborhood, who all have the same Obama, or in other McMansion neighborhoods McCain stickers, on the same era Accords, SUVs, and mini-vans, it's just like a prison.

    One town near me is middle class and very liberal and proud Obama fans. But what is strange is that the next town over, same income, is very conservative and voted for McCain. But what they both have in common is that these two towns seem to all have the same architect/firm. I don't get the feeling that people know why they vote as long as its the same as their neighborhood. It's a weird phenomenon and very much like Stepford wives.

    I like the fact that when I grew up as a kid, we all dressed, voted, and socialized differently. Now the McMansion attitude has become very unfriendly to outsiders who don't fit an exact mold of their particular neighborhood.

    The day my neighborhood becomes too much like the aerial photograph, and everybody has the same education, experiences, and political views, is the day I move out.
     
  9. Mr. Giver '94 macrumors 68000

    Mr. Giver '94

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    #9
    The whole area where I live (The entire Santa Clarita Valley) is made up of very diverse demographics. There are very poor people & very rich people and very middle class people. There are many Republicans and many Democrats. The breakdown of the SCV is basically like the buroughs of NYC on a smaller scale. The part I live in (Valencia, the are nearest to the city center) and Stevenson Ranch are the high class areas where the average person is upper-middle class (making over $150,000 as a unit) and the wealthiest making over $3 million a year as a unit. My family is toward the middle of the scale. Back to the point....The areas of greater wealth have more high end McMansions and are continuing to develop in this way. Basically as you move outward from the city's center you get into the more rural areas. Some of these areas are 'diamonds in the rough' while most are pretty much unorganized country areas, run down areas, or SUPER cookie cutter low end homes. This will be changing soon. (read below) Then there are also developments that are technically part of the SCV but tend to be 'self-sufficient.' These areas tend to be less well off, but never assume because there are many small upper-class communities left over from when the area was first settled.

    Sorry to get way off topic, but anyone living in the LA Area will probably find this information helpful for the future because the SCV area is rapidly expanding. Pretty soon we will be building at least an additional 250,000 homes expanding in all possible directions. That means that sooner or later the SCV will become much more important to the Los Angeles area.
     
  10. ravenvii macrumors 604

    ravenvii

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    #10
    I used to live in the suburbs of NYC. I've never seen cookie cutter homes to this scale until I visited Los Angeles. Oh sure, there's a few places where the houses are exactly the same, but they typically are only a few houses, or one side of a block at the most. But there are trees and grass and a hell of a lot more green.

    The LA/San Bernardino/Orange County area is the absolute worst in this aspect. I visited there, and hated that area, LA included. There are some towns that retain their charm still, such as Claremont. But the rest, there was absolutely no soul.

    That's why I live in NorCal. :)

    EDIT: Just to add: one of the positive things I hope will come out of this recession/depression is the demise of the suburbia.
     
  11. Mr. Giver '94 macrumors 68000

    Mr. Giver '94

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    #11
    Really. I love Orange County. It depends where you look. When you get into the high end areas (referring to the setting of The Real Housewives of OC) you can actually find some very nice homes.


    They don't have that 'charm' thing but they are very nice. I think what one considers a nice home varies from person to person and depends greatly on age. :)
     
  12. iMacZealot macrumors 68020

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    #12
    Urban sprawl is one of the ugliest things I've seen in city design. Nobody in the right mind would want to design a city with curved streets, cul-de-sacs, beige and more beige houses made of ticky tacky, and not a blade of grass in sight. Denver has Highlands Ranch, though since our housing market never really fully recovered from the last bubble, they haven't gone overboard in building it like Phoenix or SoCal. Still, if that was my budget, I'd much rather live in downtown, in a loft or townhouse in an area like the Platte Valley.

    I don't know who would prefer a ticky-tacky house over something like this.
     
  13. rhsgolfer33 macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    Anyone with a budget would prefer a ticky-tacky house over something like that. Not everyone can afford to live downtown in a nice area, and suburbs offer a cheaper, often very nice alternative. A nice loft in downtown LA would set you back a lot more money than a comparatively nice place in Santa Clarita Valley, especially if you value having space, indoors or out. That being said, I'd never move the the Santa Clarita Valley, no matter how cheap.

    SoCal has tons of planned communities with no yards, but they're hardly McMansions, most of these houses are no larger than 2500 sq feet. I'd certainly prefer a house with more style (Spanish and Mediterranean are my favorites), but a newer house like that would be far more expensive than one of these cookie cutter houses. If you've got a large budget its far easier to get style and land, if you're an average earner, its a a lot harder, at least her in SoCal.

    This isn't much of a new trend either, hasn't this been going on since the late 40s?
     
  14. kymac macrumors 6502a

    kymac

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    #14
    who cares! its whats on the inside that counts!
     
  15. yoppie macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    I live in a community similar to this and it's not that bad of a place. Sure, there's better out there but there's also worse. I like where I live.
     
  16. remmy macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    People tend to like average and boring when it comes to houses if they dont know what really can be done with good planning and architecture. We have the same problem in the UK, although probably not quite on that scale.

    I would end up getting lost in a place like that, got lost in Milton Keynes which is a very bland average place.
     
  17. ErikCLDR macrumors 68000

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    #17
    A true mcmansion neighborhood doesn't allow for identical houses, at least around here.

    A lot of new wave mcmansion neighborhoods having been popping up in Connecticut. Not just neighborhoods with big houses, but these little streets with 10-15 4000sq ft + houses placed right on top of each other. So close that you can probably hear what your neighbors are saying :p. Usually these expensive neighborhoods are conveniently located in the worst place to have a home such as backing up to a highway, or grocery store parking lot, or something undesirable. At least they're not cookie cutter neighborhoods with cheap looking vinyl sides homes.
     
  18. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

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  19. Shivetya macrumors 65816

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    #19
    What defines a McMansion? I have 3900sq feet on 1/3rd acre... (think 15,000 square feet of yard)

    My previous was 1900sq feet on a much smaller lot (8000 sq feet)
     
  20. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #20
    Urgh, there are a few sites round here just like that first picture. Though they're not built on perpendicular roads like in the US, but all the houses are identical or follow one or 3 designs. Suppose they're better than the endless terraced houses you get nearby, they really are built on straight roads. Very easy to get lost around them areas.

    Worst of all these sites are built on old fields and quarries so away goes green belt land.

    *sorry for the crude MS Paint edit job.
     

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  21. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #21
    Oh my freakin' God, I looked up Weeds, and it's a tv show in the most hellish looking of McMansion neighborhoods. This must be photoshopped. I have been everywhere in LA and the Bay Area and nowhere is that bland. :)

    But for a few years in the late-90s/early 2000s, there was huge money in real estate development in these once very stylish neighborhoods. This style of home has gone the way of the mullet and the Spice Girls and in San Diego and Sacramento, especially, many have been vacated. Sure, some people had financial problems, but others eventually saw those neighborhoods for the prison boxes they were and left.

    Who the hell let developers build such crap?

    Where I live, Northern California, I would consider a McMansion to be any sized dwelling (not necessarily a mansion) where:

    1) it's too big for the lot,
    2) looks very much, if not exactly like all the other houses around it, and
    3) begins to resemble that TV show "Weeds" ;)
     
  22. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

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    #22
    ^ Then you haven't been everywhere because it's not that untypical. Though Agrestic is a made up town name, places like that do indeed exist. The little boxes song is somewhat ironic because the show is about some people who are anything but bland, but the houses, definitely not that original.

    Aaaanyway, the original photo you posted is horrifying, I hate what SOME "architecture" has become recently too.
     
  23. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #23
    I admit that there are certain parts of the Bay Area and Los Angeles/San Diego somewhat approaching the neighborhood in Weeds, but I think the show's producers added a few photoshop touchups and special effects to make the neighborhood look especially ghastly and unoriginal.

    I think during the boom times of the previous decade, greed got the better part of builders so the extra work of making things somewhat original, which takes more time and thus more money, was thrown out the window. At least massive quick easy mix neighborhoods in the past had a few more designs and colors, but nothing approaches the junk of our most recent McMansion hoods that came up before the recession. Past developments planned for yards and patios. The patio in a modern McMansion is thier oversized garage floor and a garden in a modern McMansion is the plastic or real houseplants inside the house.
     
  24. samiwas Suspended

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    Atlanta, GA
    #24
    The first picture of all the houses on top of each other makes me cringe. My step-brother and his wife live in a neighborhood like that, although I'd say it's a tad better, and their unit is on an edge overlooking a river, so a little better.

    But what lead to developments like this are people who want to own a home (better yet, a new home) but cannot afford the nicer, bigger, yarded homes, or those who don't really want to live in a 70's ranch.

    That's where I fell. I was sick of renting, and living outside of town, while most of my work was in town. So I began looking in town where, as always, prices are usually a bit higher. But a friend of mine led me to this townhouse development that was just being built. While it's true that all the buildings appear the same, they at least have a range of colors. And they are all slightly different in one way or another, but still have that cookie-cutter appearance.

    But the fact that I could move to a location that allowed me to almost never have to go on the interstate (in Atlanta, that is a BIG deal), that let me get to most jobs within 5-15 minutes, was new construction, and had a good demographic of people....all for a price I could afford...I was sold. Yes, I have to give up big yards and all that, but I love my townhouse. My wife and I go and tour other developments all the time to get our fill of what we could dream to live in, but we will probably never be able to afford that. I also did not want an old, dumpy, fixer-upper type place.

    Of course, a townhouse development is quite different from a single-family-home development with houses on top of each other and windows looking into each other's rooms. Even on my budget, I don't think I'd want to live in something like that.

    Most of the developments I've been through in Atlanta seem to have a little more variety and some yardage...at least the ones I have been to. Maybe it's just that I avoid going through the ones that are that cookie-cutter.
     
  25. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #25
    I hate modern housing developments. No yard, cheaply built, ugly, and in 20 years they will all look like ****.

    Best to invest in an older house with character on some sort of property.
     

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