Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Modern Ghost Towns

Rising gas prices and falling housing values are causing major shifts in American lifestyles. Some people are driving smaller cars and parking the SUV in the driveway, while others have purchased scooters, motocycles, bicycles, or bus passes. A signifant number of Americans have chosen not to act; in particular, many are putting off home purchases.

An interesting article on the MSNBC website discusses the woes of builders who planned to build far-flung developments (like the one pictured above). Overbuilding in a soft market has created modern day ghost towns. The development pictured above was slated to include 179 homes, but only 15 have been built. Homowners quoted in the article lament the lack of sidewalks and "safe" places for the kids to play. Oh, my gosh, their chilren are forced to play in fields and vacant lots! They also are worried because other houses are not packed in tightly around them. What's wrong with fields and elbow room? People who live in the country seem to like it.

When I was growing up, my parents' house was the first one to be built on our street. There are many family photos of our little Cape Cod surrounded by dirt and weeds. For a few years, ours was the northern most house in our small town. I can remember playing in the fields next door and picking wild strawberries-- a little bit of the country on the ourskirts of town. I also can remember being said when the last vacant lot on the block was replaced with a house and a lawn. Ok, there may have been poison ivy and bugs in those fields, but for us kids, it was FUN.

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