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Why do Americans live in single family detached houses anyway?

A brief history of the home

By Witold Rybczynski

Four out of five new housing units built in the United States are single-family houses. This statistic has less to do with the nature of the home-building industry, or the suburban location of new housing, than with buyers' preferences, that is, What People Want.

Many things—government policies, tax structures, financing methods, home-ownership patterns, and availability of land—account for how people choose to live, but the most important factor is culture. To understand why we live in houses, it is necessary to go back several hundred years to Europe. Rural people have always lived in houses, but the typical medieval town dwelling, which combined living space and workplace, was occupied by a mixture of extended families, servants, and employees. This changed in 17th-century Holland. The Netherland

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Added: Apr-9-2010 
By: SouthParkIndie
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Tags: Single, family, deteched, houses
Views: 19346 | Comments: 20 | Votes: 1 | Favorites: 1 | Shared: 0 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 1
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  • People don't want to hear their neighbors screaming and banging the bedposts against the walls.

    Posted Apr-9-2010 By 

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    • Exactly... Also, if your neighbors decide to become crackheads and for get their basic house-training, your home will smell like a sewer too. The buffer zone between my home and my idiot neighbors is a crucial benefit of attaining middle class status.

      Posted Apr-9-2010 By 

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    • Exactly.

      Posted Apr-9-2010 By 

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  • While in college I recall American students returning from exchange programs in Europe often commenting that the American craving for personal space and privacy was greater than it was for Europeans.

    Posted Apr-9-2010 By 

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    • According to this author, humans cross culturally seem to prefer detached single family living. He frames the issue more as an economic issue and that given a choice most people cross culturally would select detached single family homes if given the means or choice.

      Posted Apr-9-2010 By 

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  • I like to take care of my place and have something that is mine that I can make better.

    Having an apartment is horrible as no matter how great and neat your place is, if the place next to you is a shit hole, then your place is crap too.

    Also, this is a reason why FHA, HUD, and other lending programs are no longer supporting spot check certified loans on condos and apartments, they don't want the crap or the loss in value because of one or two homes in the mix.

    Posted Apr-9-2010 By 

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  • I personally like the South Los Angeles bungalow I use to live in. They are one of the coolest houses i've been in. Unlike todays houses which are mass produced and all look the same, the LA bungalows were hand built from the ground up and have their own unique character. The neighborhood feels like its the 1930's again with a 21st century twist to it. A real original American neighborhood. Too bad progressivism has made the place crime ridden.

    I live in an edge of the city suburb now. I like t More..

    Posted Apr-9-2010 By 

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    • There are homes like that in the East Bay across from SF. I agree. They are really nice homes with a lot of character, and just the right size and land area.

      Posted Apr-9-2010 By 

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  • We live in detached houses because this country was founded as a Republic, where you are your own king when on your land.

    Posted Apr-9-2010 By 

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  • I like owning my own home best because people -- by and large -- are ignorant and rude and I like the idiots I have to live next to living across the street, not on the other side of my bedroom wall.

    Posted Apr-9-2010 By 

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  • There are a few things that I've had to deal with for the last 10 years that I'm hoping I never have to again. They are shared walls, HOA dues and small or no yards.

    Posted Apr-9-2010 By 

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  • We became technologically advanced enough to BUILD OUR OWN CAVES !

    Posted Apr-9-2010 By 

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  • One fire equals......

    Posted Apr-9-2010 By 

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  • I also forgot to add "they want to build a natural gas terminal in my bay? not in my back yard. My property values are way more important than the local economy"

    Posted Apr-9-2010 By 

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  • So what?? We like space, and privacy from the outside world all the time! If I had it my way, I'd gate my whole property!!

    Posted Apr-9-2010 By 

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  • http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=6bd_1270838532

    Posted Apr-9-2010 By 

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  • There was a billboard in Houston that pretty much summed it up:

    "LIVE LIKE PEOPLE, NOT LIKE BEES."

    Posted Apr-9-2010 By 

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  • I like loud music and my neighbors don't... I need to have my own house for everyone else's sanity.

    Posted Apr-9-2010 By 

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  • Greed.

    Posted May-20-2010 By 

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  • 1. This is not europe or asia or africa. This is America, the land of freedom and prosperity. We deserve a home that is our own because we work harder and smarter than the rest of the world.

    2. Living in a single family home with space around us is more healthy than living in a crowded multifamily dwelling.

    3. I need room for my toys and to play out in my backyard.

    4. After spending a long day amongst stupid smelly rude people I don't want to see another human being when I get to my home.

    5. More..

    Posted Jan-9-2012 By 

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