We’ll See It When We See It: The Turn Against the ‘McMansion’


This was a pleasant, if not a touch skeptical, read in the Guardian, “Planners Move to Close Window on US ‘McMansions.'” It’s all about city and county governments finally getting wise, some ten years too late, to the possibility that building houses of 10,000 square feet for two people might not be such a wise thing for maintaining resources and keeping communities in some way connected other than in three hour commutes on the freeway. Granted, it’s “kick ’em while their down” news for a struggling housing market, but for the rest of us, it’s welcome news. Here’s some:

In Boulder County, Colorado, which has recently adopted measures to cap the size of new homes, houses have grown from an average of 3,900 sq ft in 1990 to 6,300 sq ft last year.

Last month in Los Angeles, the city’s planning commission passed a motion to restrict the size of new homes. If the city council adopts the measure it could affect 300,000 properties in the city. Similar measures have been adopted in Minneapolis and in Florida.

“I think people are suspicious of development in the US right now,” says John Chase, architecture critic and urban designer for the city of West Hollywood. “People have an unconscious cultural association with a place. mansion-building takes away from a person’s sense of the identity of a place.”

Now let’s just get some kind of “stop building cheap, crappy, brick condos” law passed and our cities will be safe too.