Building a Misunderstanding

Jennifer and I have begun the search for a house, so as I was skimming over the latest University of Michigan Alumni Association newsletter, this blurb about housing developments caught my eye:

Homebuyers prefer a view of the woods to a manicured lawn, according to U-M researchers. Researchers found that misuse and misunderstanding of the term “open space” fuel the myth that people prefer big lots. Developers and homebuyers use open space to mean acres of open space like lawns instead of preserved natural features. Researchers suggest planners use the term “conservation ordinance” rather than “open space ordinance” for areas marked for preservation from development.

If true, it’s a shame that so much natural woodland habitat has been torn down based on a misunderstanding. I wonder just how much this study will affect future developments around Michigan as well as the rest of the nation. With Michigan’s current governor Jennifer Granholm promoting Smart Growth within the state, hopefully it will have an impact sooner rather than later.

2 thoughts on “Building a Misunderstanding

  1. In his book "A Pattern Language", Christopher Alexander goes into this and many other details of national, provincial, county, urban, estate, lot, house and room planning. More or less in that order too.One of the cases made in that book is that a good pattern for a housing development is to have a mix of amounts of green space and visibility to your neighbours in the plan.He approaches the whole community and looks at their needs. In particular he is concerned about children needing play space, community spaces and older adults needing meeting places.Pattern 36: Degrees of PublicnessPattern 68: Connected PlayPattern 69: Public Outdoor roomIt’s a wonderful book – I must get you a copy before you leave for Michigan.Ian

  2. Yes, you’ve mentioned this book before. I’ve put it on <a href=";id=10MH3DVSJ3IXB&quot; rel="nofollow">my Amazon wishlist</a>, which is more of a "things I’d like to read" list than a "things I’d like to have" list. It is one book on a list of 97 currently, so I don’t know how soon I’ll get to it… I guess I’ll just have to bump it to the head the queue. 🙂

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