3 weeks ago, the story Buyers live large on big lots ran in the Commercial Appeal.
In keeping with trends documented in a U.S. Census report this week, home sizes are expanding dramatically across Greater Memphis.And...
In Shelby County, the average house built these days is about 3,000 square feet, nearly double what it was in 1974. And nearly 21 percent of all Shelby homes -- new and old -- now have at least four bedrooms, a proportion slightly higher than that for the entire nation.
The growth in home sizes in the Memphis area has come as local governments increased the minimum lot sizes allowed in new developments.
Fast-growing Arlington, for instance, gradually raised its minimum from 8,000 square feet about 10 years ago to 13,000 square feet today. Town recorder and treasurer Cathy Durant said larger lot sizes bring many benefits, including reduced density, which means less noise and traffic congestion.
There's lots of good information about this trend, except -- the story never even mentions the environment, and this trend's possible-to-certain negative effect. It could be 1971, but with big-ass houses!
The story does note the the lack of new affordable houses.
One unwelcome result of the trend, Grant says, is a shortage of new affordable housing for first-time buyers in the immediate Memphis area.
"We cannot offer affordable homes any more," Grant said.
"They're available -- you just have to drive farther out to get to them."
Farther out, but not a whisper of the possibility of going further in.
We have tangible, daily and local evidence of global warming, drought, pollution and the decline of the petroleum supply, yet this local story had none of these words in it:
- gasoline or
Meanwhile, massive lots and massive new houses on them require:
- greater deforestation and environmental destruction.
- greater commutes and attendant consumption of petroleum and production of pollutants, as density decreases
- expanded infrastructure which requires more deforestation and environmental destruction
- massive amounts of materials, energy and water to build, heat, cool and maintain
I wonder: was this a marketing decision by the CA?
Update: and now a story from this morning's paper about the EPA's raising the Memphis area's pollution standard, "citing worrisome new evidence about health dangers". It was written by the same reporter, Tom Charlier, as the big lots article.
Again I wonder: was it a marketing decision to ignore the environmental effects of massive lots?