Friday, April 07, 2006

Real Estate Porn

Taking a break this afternoon I read an article in the recent Boston magazine about a family who bought an old elementary school in Cambridge, MA and tricked it out as a private home. This after the locals protested the construction of condos in the space and it stood empty for six years when development offer after offer fell through.

As a result, a family of five -- three of whom are teenagers who are ostensibly soon to leave the nest -- resides in a four story house with its own full-size basketball court and art studio. The author of the article cheers that the family and their contractor have breathed new life into the space.

I'm sorry, but I don't see new life. I see a nightmare of conspicuous consumption, rampant narcissism and NIMBYism taken to practically criminal extremes. I blame not the family for their creative vision (although I certainly criticize their need to use up so much space) but the community for its hostility to the idea of dozens of people being able to live in a space now used by five. What was it about, parking? I'm sure a more creative solution might have been found than vetoing the idea of condos.

How about a co-op for people committed to using local transportation? Applications for residency would determine the residents' ability to get along without a car. As it is, I can't help but think of the many people who would have loved to live in that neighborhood, walk to the T and ride into the city to get to work. Who knows what kind of commute they have now?

Of course the irony is that because of attitudes like those displayed by the local community in Cambridge, real estate prices in the greater Boston area are so prohibitively expensive that the Lander's children probably won't be able to afford to live anywhere near Mom and Dad once they graduate from college. I hope Mr. and Mrs. count on all their chicks returning to the nest, and staying there for a very long time.

Can you imagine? A whole, full length basketball court on your fourth floor. Just for the kids and their buddies.

Barf.

3 Comments:

Blogger slyypper said...

Yes, and, I feel the twinge of jealousy that goes with reading such a post. I have enough space, but I also have a roundtrip commute to my job totaling 3 hours daily.

The notion of 'real estate porn' is right...glossy spreads like the one PeaceBang describes do absolutely nothing to organize people around transportation and housing issues. It's all about having one's own little piece of heaven, and to heck with the greater good.

12:51  
Blogger LaReinaCobre said...

definitely obnoxious! i couldn't live with myself, living like that. well, maybe I could if I had grown up that way.

21:30  
Blogger Kim said...

Maybe they'll do something good with it?
Maybe they bought it cheap?
Maybe they will be sad because they don't know if their friends like them for themselves and not for their basketball court?

13:41  

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