By Philip Langdon
Bringing up interviews with builders, planners, and citizens, the coauthor of This outdated residence explains the relationship among usual smooth suburban designs and the sentiments of group delight, whereas stating the virtues of older designs.
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Extra resources for A better place to live: reshaping the American suburb
Talk about "family values" during the past couple of decades may have nourished the idea that each family should take care of its own emotional and other needs, independent of neighbors or community. Builders have placed great emphasis on making the interior of the house as lavishly equipped as possible. The overemphasis on the home and familyand the concurrent neglect of the usefulness of regular socializing with others in the neighborhoodputs marriage under more stress. Many psychologists believe that marriages function better when the demands placed on them are less all-encompassing.
The academy's visitor program improves the social life not only of students (which is its goal) but also of the host families. But no matter how rewarding, a program with young people who live a dozen or more miles away cannot compensate entirely for the lack of vigorous community life in one's own neighborhood. "We both feel there's something missing," Frank said of life in Crofton. When they retirewhich is several years in the futurethey are thinking of moving back to the small town in Ohio where Frank grew up.
Junior corporate managers whom William H. Whyte studied in the early 1950s for his book The Organization Man were shown, in a classic photograph, departing the 4:51 train they had taken from downtown Chicago to Park Forest, a new suburb south of the city. The message of the black-and-white photo seemed to be what a herdlike existence these men lead. But today the message is less single-minded. What emerges now is the relative ease of their schedule. They left work so early! They arrived home with several hours of the day still to enjoy.