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social and financial impact of certain kinds of development
Old 04-06-2008, 09:26 AM   #1
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social and financial impact of certain kinds of development

Calculated Risk: Maricopa: Do It For the Children

This is somewhat relevant to the discussion on new homes and their impact on how people have to spend on cars and gas.

What a sad place this describes.

With no real community of businesses and schools and public infrastructure... maybe it is no wonder that families might feel they "have" to have cell phones (are there pay phones anymore?), they have to have 2-3 cars.. they have to have big-screen TVs and cable and Netflix (since there are no movie theatres or libraries) and they have to have a big kitchen with espresso machine (since there are no coffee shops) and they have to have a billiard table or foosball since there's no YMCA or church or poll hall or bowling or youth center.

Private homes and private entertainment are growing because the public world is shrinking.

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P.S. a commenter above cites other modern cost centers that we didn't have in the 1970s:

Quote:
Its just not the way it was when I was a kid anymore. Back then, we rode bikes miles away from home, built rafts on lakes, dug caves, did all kinds of fun dangerous things.

Today I wont let my kids leave the yard by themselves. So every weekend is spent on kids activities, sports, etc. Thats just the way it has to be now. Theres always plenty to do, but it costs time and money. A lot of money. But the kids are the most important thing.
I wonder what the average parents' budget is for all the structured activities kids have now that we didn't have. I mean, I had one music lesson/week and Brownies/GS up to about jr. high age.. that's about it.
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Old 04-06-2008, 10:21 AM   #2
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Nearly all of the new housing being built in the area where I plan to retire, is in developments outside of town, that really do not have much in the way of businesses or public infrastructure (though they do have schools). These communities (often exclusively McMansions) do nothing for me! But each to his own.

I do think that a cell phone, too many cars, big screen TV, and cable are pretty much standard in middle class life these days.

But despite what you might see on TV shows, it may not be quite so common for middle class families to have Netflix, a big kitchen, an expresso machine, pool table, or foosball.

When my daughter was little (in the 1980's), I felt bad that I couldn't encourage her to bike around the neighborhood independently, but it just wasn't safe. I took her to many activities, but they really did not cost much. A lot were available for very little; swimming lessons at the Y did cost something, and so did summer day camp sponsored by the county, but her ballet classes, after school activities at the school, and school band and clarinet lessons were very inexpensive. I did have to do a lot of chauffeuring.

I didn't put her in GS/brownies, since the local leader told me that at least 20 hours/week was expected of each mom (and I was in engineering school at the time). Maybe that was a local practice to keep out the riff-raff like me!
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Old 04-06-2008, 10:36 AM   #3
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North Texas is notorious for humongous subdivisions in the middle of a cornfield, with no amenities. Heck, they'll even have roads in a few years...

But, eventually, retail and services will catch-up, though it's mostly automobile oriented: quickie marts, strip centers, etc.

Some of the larger "commmunities" these days come with their very own elementary school...
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Old 04-06-2008, 11:08 AM   #4
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I know most people on this board live a suburban life, and enjoy it. But even with the usual malls and stuff, it is awfully thin from a teenagers POV. Kids are not fulfilled by massaging their 401K data in a spreadsheet, or re-doing their kitchens.

But urban areas are not an easy choice for middle class parents either.

Life is really different from a teenagers POV; and street crime is most likely to affect young people. Unruly or criminal young people are apt to harass young females, and challenge young males.

When I was young I lived right on a streetcar line; later replaced by a bus. So I had full access to several small cities and one large one without any parental involvement at all. My parents never even gave much thought to where I might be.

There was always some street level turf fighting among us, but almost never weapons, and never guns. Not true today, unfortunately.

Still, both my kids roamed freely around the city from the time they were 16 or so, and managed to stay out of trouble and more importantly to not get hurt. My oldest is 30, so this wasn't very long ago.

I tend to think the young Supermarket worker who described Maricopa as "throat and wrist slitting dull" knows what he is talking about.

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Old 04-06-2008, 12:28 PM   #5
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We live in a burb that is roughly equivalent to Mayberry. Kids still ride their bikes and tromp through the wild explorable areas. We can walk or ride our bikes to the relatively small commerce centers. The postmaster knows our names.

Our 5-year-old digs it, but teenagers hate it here. I'd like to move to a university town by the time she's old enough to seek more intellectual and social stimulation. But I think teenagers generally hate everything and will explore the deep dark recesses of their communities wherever they are.
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Old 04-06-2008, 12:39 PM   #6
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We live in a burb that is roughly equivalent to Mayberry. Kids still ride their bikes and tromp through the wild explorable areas. We can walk or ride our bikes to the relatively small commerce centers. The postmaster knows our names.

Our 5-year-old digs it, but teenagers hate it here. I'd like to move to a university town by the time she's old enough to seek more intellectual and social stimulation. But I think teenagers generally hate everything and will explore the deep dark recesses of their communities wherever they are.
My daughter spent her teen years in College Station, Texas (a college town surrounding Texas A&M).

She hated it. She took her high IQ and breathtaking intellectual potential and honors education to clubs (that I didn't allow), and the mall (which I didn't approve of), and managed to take advantage of very little that was available there. That aggravated me, which I am sure satisfied her deep down in her teenaged soul (at the time). She now lives in Portland, Oregon, and speaks of Texas as the armpit of the universe, which it is not! (Sorry, REWahoo! I gave it away. )
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Old 04-06-2008, 02:56 PM   #7
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This is a tough one for me. I grew up in one of the 5 boros of NYC, but spent summers in a part of NJ that used to be semi-rural (northern edge of the Pine Barrens). Both atmospheres have their plusses and minuses, and with kids it isn't an easy choice to make.

For now, we have chosen the burbs, although we live in a town that is 300+ years old and still has the remains of a town center (been working on revitalization since the 60s...). We live in a cul-de-sac, so you really need a bike or car to get anywhere, but the town also has a NJ Transit station that will get you into Manhattan in an hour or so. So hopefully we give our kids a bit of both worlds. The hard part now is that the area we are in is a patchwork of what are supposedly small towns (all smoosh together, mostly) that range from the rather poor to the immensely wealthy, separated by little distance. I have zero interest in living in the wealthy areas and I especially do not want to raise kids in one of these places. But at schools, group activities, etc., peer pressures and the haves and the have-nots will be clanging away.
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Old 04-06-2008, 09:14 PM   #8
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Maricopa, AZ, is south of Phoenix and was mainly a farming area -a place where individualist people would live with a few acres or more. There were ways to provide for public education for your children - you would drive them to school or they would take the bus. Now, based on the out of control development, it's turned into or become a suburban area based on the article. I don't understand why the 16 year olds are not going to school (unless I read the article wrong). It was called truancy - and enforced.

Again, the purpose of the article? The bias? I guess I'll have to drive out to Maricopa when I'm in AZ again and see what it is this article is about...or not about.
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Old 04-06-2008, 10:58 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by ladelfina View Post
... and cable and Netflix (since there are no movie theatres or libraries) and they have to have a big kitchen with espresso machine (since there are no coffee shops) and they have to have a billiard table or foosball since there's no YMCA or church or poll hall or bowling or youth center.
Private homes and private entertainment are growing because the public world is shrinking.
You say all this as if it's a bad thing.

Maybe we have Netflix because the movie theaters aren't showing what we want, they cost too much, and there's too many commercials. I'm constantly being surprised at the media our kid brings into the house-- Ghandi, 1776, documentaries on the Revolutionary War, black history, the Planet Earth series, and Jamie Foxx's Ray Charles biography. We've had many interesting discussions that just couldn't be accomplished in a movie theater.

Maybe we have espresso machines because they can pay back in a few months what we'd otherwise be blowing at Starbucks. Our kid can do more with a $5 garage-sale blender and a few bags of frozen fruit than an entire Jamba Juice franchise.

Maybe we have private sporting entertainment because the school's organized athletics take too much time and commitment for family flexibility. The local community leagues aren't much better, especially when the referees are being run ragged. Heck, our taekwondo dojang is one of the best in the state but even with them 3x/week is sometimes too much.

Maybe people are moving to private homes/entertainment because we want a little more privacy and unstructured time in our lives.
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Old 04-07-2008, 12:38 AM   #10
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Nords, a lot of the choice is great.. but this was in the context of cost. Also, in this new desert burg, the kids don't have choices OUTSIDE the home.. like a public library, or even a High School! They hang out at the supermarket just for some contact with the outside world.
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Old 04-07-2008, 01:51 AM   #11
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Times change. The world is a more dangerous place now. I don't blame parents for taking a more private route.
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Old 04-07-2008, 04:03 AM   #12
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These people are making a choice about where they live. It is the democratic way. If they want to plan more infrastructure and business... I am sure they can do it.

I am not inclined to find fault or favor with it. They are in control of their lives doing as they please.
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