Saturday, February 5, 2011

Big House = Little Interaction?

Please peruse the above site to see comparisons of house sizes in various countries...look at the U.S. - agh!

I was reading a friend's blog and she wrote of people's questioning her ability to fit 3 children into their small home (seems kind of rude to me to ask that of others, but whatever...). When we brought Sophie home from the hospital our home was a 600 square foot apartment. Oh the gasps of people, the, "How can you live in such a small place?" Well, please ask our neighbors from China who have Mom, Dad, 2 children and Grandma and Grandpa in their unit. Then watch their expression, because it probably means, "Stupid people."

When I did voice to a friend of mine from Japan that I felt our place was small she quickly and rightly put me in my place by telling me that in Japan, her home (ok, she was in a larger unit...more like 1300 square feet) would be considered a palace.

I now live in a 2000 + square foot house and though I like the house overall, it really is quite ridiculous to have 3 people in a home this size. I often feel like we should be housing a few other families who've maybe fallen on hard times. I miss the cozyness of our house in Utah, which was 1800 square feet, but considered small by many. I drive around Jackson and see the houses nearer downtown and wish maybe we'd purchased one of those. Sigh.

The other thing, when we did move from our 600 square foot apartment to our more spacious unit in the same student housing complex, we noticed that less people hung out outside. It's no surprise that when the houses get bigger, there is less neighborhood interaction. Here is an excerpt from an article in Newsweek years ago, by a pizza delivery person: The first few days of each month, one of us drivers would take our turn covering the public-housing developments. These customers did not always tip well, but I always liked seeing the children and adults sitting outside and enjoying the evenings when the weather was nice. The higher-income neighborhoods were much quieter, and I rarely saw neighbors talking to each other.

Of course there are people who buy their larger home because they do want privacy - that's a good thing for them. I just feel like I should've known better - that I like the constant noise of a neighborhood in which people feel so suffocated by the walls in their home they need to the outside!


  1. I'm with you. I love our townhome, although I do sometimes wish we had more places to put all the stuff that we seem to accumulate. Of course, the answer to that is to get rid of the stuff!

    But, I love the friendly atmosphere that comes from neighborhoods with smaller homes.

  2. We live in a grand old home. Four floors of living space, 3600 sq ft. I love it.
    However, if you recall the business tenent that states: work expands to fill the time alloted, you get the same with a house. It seems our junk has expanded to fill up the spaces of the house. It makes me crazy.
    Add kids, the junk increases 1000 times.
    We just visited friends in Detroit who live with one child in a very open loft, part of me wanted that space and the tidiness. But part of me also loves our big old house.