11 thoughts on “Reading the Landscape: 20”

    1. I searched Google maps for that block and found an image from 2007. Those two gigantic houses hadn’t yet been built. That means they were constructed after the bubble popped in 2008. Why was it profitable? Some of the surrounding cities lost most of the value on their land. The local property taxes were reduced, and the school systems were gutted. It seems to me that by reducing the value of the land in the poorer towns, it increased the value of the land in the richer towns. People were scrambling to move to the richer towns for the “good schools.” The bigger McMansions the developers could build, the more money the developers made. The end of the housing bubble, among other things, was the redistribution of money from the working class and from younger people to (older) upper-middle-class who already held property in the “good” towns.

  1. Does it help for me to tell you those big houses are ugly, the landscape is flat and muddy, and the contractor probably cut corners every way he could. I give those houses ten years to start deteriorating, if they haven’t started already.

    1. I second this statement. Houses are built close together and are ugly with a capital U. No character to them whatsoever. I’ll take a small but charming craftsman or Cape Cod home any day of the week.

  2. Communism probably became a dirty word after the mass killings done in the name of communism 🙂 Also–have you seen architecture under communism? Yuck.

    A lot of contractors aren’t rich people. Maybe they build for the rich, but many have worked their way up through the construction trade. I don’t really believe in resenting people who make money honestly and want a nice house. I hate McMansions, but the people who live in them are not the real problem (in my humble opinion). I used to live in poverty. I imagined it was the fault of the system or my genetics or whatever. But really it was mostly my attitude. I was unable to see that to be rich is to have gratitude where you’re at and to have a good sense of self discipline–also a willingness to be patient. When you have these things you tend to be less self destructive and more optimistic which breeds opportunity. the worst thing to tell a person is that all they are is a victim–it robs them of the power all humans have.

    I think it’s a lot more complex than just hating the rich.

    1. Also–have you seen architecture under communism? Yuck.

      Just a note, the socialists in Austria built some of the best public housing ever designed.


      I don’t think it’s an accident that the housing bubble of the Bush years came after the demolition of some of the large public housing projects like the Scudder Homes in Newark, which were never very good in the first place, but which at least didn’t trap poor people in the sub prime hell.

      Destroying that public housing opened up the (largely black) poor of New Jersey to being exploited by the housing industry. It didn’t mean the end of segregation.The banks steered black people to one sort of town and put them on variable sub prime mortgages. They steered white people to the “good” towns with their “good” schools.

      When the mortgage bubble popped in 2008, it not only kicked those people on sub prime mortgages out of their houses, it had a lot of collateral damage. It destroyed the black middle class and also hit the white lower middle class and working class.

      The rich, of course, continued to profit.

      1. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder I guess! 🙂 The 19th century public works in NYC like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Fifth Avenue Library and The Natural History Museum come to mind. I’m a fan of private property as the bastion of personal freedom. The late 1800’s enthusiasm for philanthropy by the rich in the US produced a lot of beauty that the common man could enjoy. The Met is still free!

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