Changing Attitudes

Being a sometimes student of transit and road history, there are many interesting paths to explore along the way. One of these paths is the social forces of housing and roadways. Perhaps this is of interest to me because of the first books that caught my interest as a “road scholar” was David Brodsly’s LA Freeway, which explored the social effects of freeways on their surrounding communities. I mention all of this because of two articles I’ve encountered during recent lunchtime reading that reflect changing societal values regarding housing and communities.

The first, from the Fast-Company blog (which I found via Metro’s The Source blog) has to do with the death of the cul-de-sac. Cul-de-sacs were vital components of planned communities going back to at least the 1940s and 1950s. These communities were designed to turn their back on the main thoroughfares (putting the commercial districts there), and designing lots of windey streets with cul-de-sacs to calm traffic and build communities. However, the urge for walkable neighborhoods has started a move away from cul-de-sacs. Many cities are making it hard to build communities with cul-de-sacs, although builders say buyers want them. What’s your view? Do you find such communities desirable?

In a related vein, the NY Times has an article on men who have decided that the dream of home ownership is bunk They’ve decided that the monetary and emotional costs of home ownership are not for them, and they would just rather rent. This goes what the american dream appears to encourage. Again, what do you think? If you own, do you regret going down that path? If you rent, do you eventually want to own, or is renting just fine with you?