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Re: [RLC-Action] Action Item

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  • DGHarrison
    I have long lamented the passing of community friendly architecture, in which neighbors see each other almost daily from their front porches. It s a by-gone
    Message 1 of 5 , Jun 18, 2005
      I have long lamented the passing of "community friendly" architecture,
      in which neighbors see each other almost daily from their front porches.
      It's a by-gone era, though, brought to a close by the automobile.

      It used to be that poor folks built house-barns, in which they kept
      their livestock and themselves, out of a need to conserve labor and
      materials when building and also to share the heat gain in winter from
      all those hot bovine bodies under one roof. Of course, when folks got
      wealthy enough, they built separate buildings for the animals. This
      improved the air quality in the house, and reduced the noise level as
      well (I once stayed in the Philippines in a bamboo nippa hut with a
      corragated tin roof. The family's hogs, which I could see through the
      bamboo floor, were quite vocal when they got amorous. It didn't smell so
      bad, unless it rained, and it rained in the P.I. at 4:00 p.m. every day).

      When horses and carriages were the main mode of transportation, rich
      folks built mansions for themselves, cottages for the hired help, and
      stables for the animals. The cottages and stables were usually in close
      proximity, and both were kept a respectable distance from the house.
      When the rich folks received guests, they'd arrive at the stately front
      door, and the hired help would escort the horses back down to the
      stables. Folks knew a guy was rich because of the wide expanses of
      manicured lawn and the miles of white board horse fences that ran
      alongside the road.

      Today, our homes have been adapted to accommodate a new mode of
      transportation -- the automobile. At first, garages were (and some still
      are) built separate from the house. Perhaps it was out of habit that
      they built the stable separate from the house, and I suppose the exhaust
      fumes were just too hard to air out in the wintertime. Anyway, we soon
      developed cleaner cars and started building the garages either with
      breeze ways connecting them to the house, or attached outright to the
      house. It didn't take long before the one-car garage was made to look
      poor by folks who built two-car garages, then three- and four-car
      garages. Nowadays, folks assume the wealthy are the ones with the garage
      complexes that make the house look puny by comparison. You drive into
      modern community developments, and all you see are garage doors.
      Sometimes you have to search for the front entrance.

      But let's be honest -- the front entrance isn't what it used to be.
      Folks hardly knock on the door anymore. Oh, maybe the postman, the
      occasional salesman, or a pair of Jehovah's Witnesses, but not much else
      by way of socializing. Front porches are gone. Most people don't need
      'em, and most don't want 'em. No one's sittin' out on the porch to cool
      off, where maybe they can wave at passers by, chirping friendly
      greetings as they go. No, people are all inside, enjoying their central
      air conditioning, or maybe they're not home yet, stuck in traffic or
      working extra hours to pay for the boat they put behind Garage Door
      Number Four.

      Nobody knows their neighbors much anymore. They drive home and hit their
      remote control button before they even finish their turn into the
      driveway. They glide up into the maw of the garage and click the button
      again. The neighbors probably didn't even noticed who has come and gone.
      Nobody really knows anybody anymore. We're all isolated in on our own
      private property, leading our own private lives.

      But that's all a lot of folks want to do. And it's their right.

      A town ordinance that says you can't build your stable next to your
      house is an invasion into a person's private affairs. Whose business is
      it anyway whether you know your neighbor or not. Surely, neighbors can
      think of other ways to get to know each other. All it takes is a chat
      over the back fence or a knock on the front door, maybe with a fresh
      baked blueberry pie, made from berries you picked right out of your own
      landscaping. I don't have ornamentals -- they're all fruit trees and
      berry bushes -- and I made all my neighbors cherry jelly, from my
      homegrown cherries. So I know my neighbors, not from passively sitting
      on my porch watching the parade of life go by, but from making an effort
      to go and greet them.

      Maybe the city leaders in Franklin, Tennessee should encourage block
      parties instead of blocking the kinds of homes people build. Instead,
      they say no garage doors may face the front of the property, and only
      the front door can be the main point of attraction. Okay, I live on a
      corner lot, so I can comply. But what're my neighbors on either side of
      me going to do? We don't have alleys behind our houses here. City
      planners laid out the roads, and it just isn't possible to move all the
      garage doors around back. Seems like the city leaders in Franklin will
      have to come up with a whole new street grid for their town. I wonder if
      they'll resort to eminent domain, chopping peoples back yards in half,
      in order to put in alleys.

      I suppose that'll be the next bone-headed ordinance to come out of
      Franklin, Tennessee.
    • John Pankratz
      DG, I read your whole post. Starting out I was wondering if this was your doctoral disseration in urban anthropology. By the time I read about the pies I
      Message 2 of 5 , Jun 18, 2005
        DG,

        I read your whole post. Starting out I was wondering if this was your
        doctoral disseration in urban anthropology.
        By the time I read about the pies I understood what you were talking about.

        If a person buys property in a restricted area where the subdivider has
        placed limitations on what the buyer can do with
        his land, that is one thing. Only those who agree will buy. When
        government officials decree such things for existing landholders that
        is something else entirely. It seems to me that the city fathers will
        be demanding alleys or else much larger lots for future subdivisions. I
        can't see
        how they can make it stick for existing subdivisions.

        This shows one major defect in representative government. Somehow there
        are a few people who really get satisfaction out of
        controlling others, and they make a life's work about gaining positions
        where they can do what they enjoy. It would be great
        if elected officials didn't fancy themselves as being the arbitors of
        taste and truth for the rest of us.

        Here in south Texas there was a story on the local news last night. A
        poor fellow with medical problems that make him use
        a positive pressure device when he sleeps moved onto his rural land with
        a large travel trailer. It is his only home. Because he
        doesn't have running water the County won't let the power company
        connect his electricity. He is using car batteries and an
        inverter to power his positive pressure breathing device. The County
        says their policy is to ensure that citizens will have a better
        life style. Explain how they are helping that poor fellow live a
        better lifestyle.

        I live in the country with a few other houses nearby. My house has a 40
        foot porch and a detached garage.
        We have a variety of neighbors, most of whom we know pretty well. I
        guess we're exceptions, you and I.

        John P.
        ...................................



        DGHarrison wrote:

        >I have long lamented the passing of "community friendly" architecture,
        >in which neighbors see each other almost daily from their front porches.
        >It's a by-gone era, though, brought to a close by the automobile.
        >
        >It used to be that poor folks built house-barns, in which they kept
        >their livestock and themselves, out of a need to conserve labor and
        >materials when building and also to share the heat gain in winter from
        >all those hot bovine bodies under one roof. Of course, when folks got
        >wealthy enough, they built separate buildings for the animals. This
        >improved the air quality in the house, and reduced the noise level as
        >well (I once stayed in the Philippines in a bamboo nippa hut with a
        >corragated tin roof. The family's hogs, which I could see through the
        >bamboo floor, were quite vocal when they got amorous. It didn't smell so
        >bad, unless it rained, and it rained in the P.I. at 4:00 p.m. every day).
        >
        >When horses and carriages were the main mode of transportation, rich
        >folks built mansions for themselves, cottages for the hired help, and
        >stables for the animals. The cottages and stables were usually in close
        >proximity, and both were kept a respectable distance from the house.
        >When the rich folks received guests, they'd arrive at the stately front
        >door, and the hired help would escort the horses back down to the
        >stables. Folks knew a guy was rich because of the wide expanses of
        >manicured lawn and the miles of white board horse fences that ran
        >alongside the road.
        >
        >Today, our homes have been adapted to accommodate a new mode of
        >transportation -- the automobile. At first, garages were (and some still
        >are) built separate from the house. Perhaps it was out of habit that
        >they built the stable separate from the house, and I suppose the exhaust
        >fumes were just too hard to air out in the wintertime. Anyway, we soon
        >developed cleaner cars and started building the garages either with
        >breeze ways connecting them to the house, or attached outright to the
        >house. It didn't take long before the one-car garage was made to look
        >poor by folks who built two-car garages, then three- and four-car
        >garages. Nowadays, folks assume the wealthy are the ones with the garage
        >complexes that make the house look puny by comparison. You drive into
        >modern community developments, and all you see are garage doors.
        >Sometimes you have to search for the front entrance.
        >
        >But let's be honest -- the front entrance isn't what it used to be.
        >Folks hardly knock on the door anymore. Oh, maybe the postman, the
        >occasional salesman, or a pair of Jehovah's Witnesses, but not much else
        >by way of socializing. Front porches are gone. Most people don't need
        >'em, and most don't want 'em. No one's sittin' out on the porch to cool
        >off, where maybe they can wave at passers by, chirping friendly
        >greetings as they go. No, people are all inside, enjoying their central
        >air conditioning, or maybe they're not home yet, stuck in traffic or
        >working extra hours to pay for the boat they put behind Garage Door
        >Number Four.
        >
        >Nobody knows their neighbors much anymore. They drive home and hit their
        >remote control button before they even finish their turn into the
        >driveway. They glide up into the maw of the garage and click the button
        >again. The neighbors probably didn't even noticed who has come and gone.
        >Nobody really knows anybody anymore. We're all isolated in on our own
        >private property, leading our own private lives.
        >
        >But that's all a lot of folks want to do. And it's their right.
        >
        >A town ordinance that says you can't build your stable next to your
        >house is an invasion into a person's private affairs. Whose business is
        >it anyway whether you know your neighbor or not. Surely, neighbors can
        >think of other ways to get to know each other. All it takes is a chat
        >over the back fence or a knock on the front door, maybe with a fresh
        >baked blueberry pie, made from berries you picked right out of your own
        >landscaping. I don't have ornamentals -- they're all fruit trees and
        >berry bushes -- and I made all my neighbors cherry jelly, from my
        >homegrown cherries. So I know my neighbors, not from passively sitting
        >on my porch watching the parade of life go by, but from making an effort
        >to go and greet them.
        >
        >Maybe the city leaders in Franklin, Tennessee should encourage block
        >parties instead of blocking the kinds of homes people build. Instead,
        >they say no garage doors may face the front of the property, and only
        >the front door can be the main point of attraction. Okay, I live on a
        >corner lot, so I can comply. But what're my neighbors on either side of
        >me going to do? We don't have alleys behind our houses here. City
        >planners laid out the roads, and it just isn't possible to move all the
        >garage doors around back. Seems like the city leaders in Franklin will
        >have to come up with a whole new street grid for their town. I wonder if
        >they'll resort to eminent domain, chopping peoples back yards in half,
        >in order to put in alleys.
        >
        >I suppose that'll be the next bone-headed ordinance to come out of
        >Franklin, Tennessee.
        >
        >

        --
        I'm a libertarian by logical necessity because I'm a Christian.

        http://www.theadvocates.org/christian/thies.html
      • Tim Condon
        ... Truer words were never spoken. The fact is, those of us who *don t* want to order other people around are an increasingly small minority in America. The
        Message 3 of 5 , Jun 19, 2005
          John Pankratz wrote:

          >This shows one major defect in representative government. Somehow there are a few people who really get satisfaction out of controlling others, and they make a life's work about gaining positions where they can do what they enjoy.
          >
          Truer words were never spoken. The fact is, those of us who
          *don't* want to order other people around are an increasingly small
          minority in America. The solution? Concentrate our numbers. Check it
          out: www.freestateproject.org.
          ------Tim Condon
        • John David Galt
          ... That (and car-hatred) are exactly the feelings of the smart -growthers who promote these bans on so-called snout houses. Their goal is to take away as
          Message 4 of 5 , Jun 21, 2005
            DGHarrison wrote:
            > I have long lamented the passing of "community friendly" architecture,
            > in which neighbors see each other almost daily from their front porches.
            > It's a by-gone era, though, brought to a close by the automobile.

            That (and car-hatred) are exactly the feelings of the "smart"-growthers
            who promote these bans on so-called "snout" houses. Their goal is to
            take away as much as possible of the convenience and efficiency we've
            paid for by buying cars.

            It is not the proper business of government to dictate how people should
            use transportation, how we should use our homes, or how much we should
            interact with our neighbors. This movement needs to be CRUSHED!
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