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At first I thought you meant "private residences"; now I think you mean "stand alone houses"...
I think both add something to a city--balanced by a perhaps majority of city-supported/maintained properties...I'm not sure of the numbers/dynamics so would be interested in accounts of how the mix works out.
Somehow (not sure how) a city needs to cater for all tastes, so a row of individual houses also makes a city statement, as does a tall block of flats (side point here about a friend of mine who said--I think it was--eight (or was it seven?) floors (found across Europe) is a natural maximum height for buildings, with shops on the ground floor and residences above.) It isn't so much the type of accomodation (unless one type predominates)...coz students need and prefer a type, as do old couples, old singles, young singles, young couples...workers, the unemployed, those on sickness benefit, the well-off, the not well-off...it's the social space...the mixing of cultures within the space...that gives the city...its citiness...
My off the top of my head definition of a workable social environment:
--nature a bus ride away (or less!)
--a pub two minutes away
--a shop two minutes away
--low low car speed (usage!)
--high pedestrian movement
--variety of buildings
--trade out and in
--you could walk to the very centre in twenty minutes [okay, half an hour] (if you're young and fit...those less young and fit--cough cough--me!--have to live closer)
You could build that structure and keep small...and I'd still enjoy it, I think. I lived in a place of < 40,000 that had all the above. The cinema was a yearly club; the town pulled about 100,000 (my guess) from the surrounding villages...it also had large industry (Olivetti), and when that collapsed the town turned inward...became small, losing the facilities, the cinema club shut down...there are tiny suburbs growing up in the villages around...
Now I want to read your diary about Gilgamesh! I bought a translation a few years ago, sort of enjoyed it, but...I didn't find in it what you have...not yet...
I'll re-read it in anticipation...
Gilgamesh, Book VIII, translated by Stephen Mitchell
The latest is considered more Hygienistic (sun, space, gardens)! But today the highest cost per m2 is in the Marais !
Speaking of Paris and all those homeless people... If SNCF and RATP (train and metro/bus) would give up the land they don't use today... Almost one quarter of Paris could be built for people.
If we covered only half of the Périphérique (the ring road around Paris) we could add 1/6th to Paris again...
Then at last if we added two to three levels to the old Hausmann buildings (easy today), we wouldn't even need most of the large suburbia around Paris...!
It's (as always) a planning matter... With most decision maker in politics that changes every 4 years... You cannot project very far ahead in time! With most of these territorial responsibilities left over to mayors, you just can't do it ! As it can't be local... Anymore.
"What can I do, What can I write, Against the fall of Night". A.E. Housman
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