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We have sort of American-style suburbs as well, except the plots tend to be smaller because there is just less space available. The photo in Margouillat's diary was taken in Mexico, though, the Dutch "Vinex" locations tend to be a bit more diverse and have a bit bigger houses, but the idea is similar. They're built by private contractors and designed by private architects, but the concept is mandated by the government.

A further difference with many American suburbs is that the houses in Europe tend to be built to last, in America there is often a lot of cheap, throwaway material being used on otherwise quite sizeable houses, which is a strange attitude (I think) to housing. An extreme focus on the exterior, while neglecting the character. This fits in with the fake plastic capitalism of America -- treating houses as perishable commodities with built-in obsolescence.

(this is probably a rather prejudiced sweeping generalisation based upon watching too many librul hollywood movies, but I think part of it sticks)

Your point about elitism is spot-on. Still, as margouillat says, it's undesirable to have people living in suburbia. So you have to think about the institutions and the cultural image that lead to people to live in them.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sun Feb 25th, 2007 at 08:20:28 AM EST
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