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So, it wasn't the Happiest Town on Earth?
October 4, 2007 4:54 PM   Subscribe

Remember the Town Disney Built? -- 50% of the homes in Celebration, Florida are up for sale. A failure of corporate-owned and -planned Community™? or just a fallout of the bursting of the housing bubble? And whither New Urbanism?

Celebration's Front Porch (home page)

a neo-traditional architectural view: The Celebration Controversies
posted by amberglow (66 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Mickey Mouse towns give me Disney-spells.
posted by ColdChef at 5:03 PM on October 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


You can't entirely blame the market collapse of Celebration on a warped town-planning theory that was never fully invested in by its developers; it has as much to do with rising interest rates, a shaky housing market in general, and the fact that Celebration is in central Florida, rather far from the growth hot spots.

Oh, and wither New Urb? Why, right here. And Leon Krier, the godfather of NU, is always worth checking out.
posted by DenOfSizer at 5:07 PM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


And the photos on Celebration's other home page (the buisness one) are so weirdly non-urban, they tell a story in and of themselves... all cars, no people!
posted by DenOfSizer at 5:14 PM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


but DenOfSizer, isn't it part of smart planning to place your community in a feasible and viable spot?

50% of a town up for sale is very very excessive--it can't all be because of the market, can it? Has Vegas hit that high a percentage per town/community? It's been hit very hard by the bubble too, but not that hard.
posted by amberglow at 5:16 PM on October 4, 2007


"Mickey Mouse towns give me Disney-spells."

'Ear, 'ear!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:18 PM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


I live in Schadenfreude.
posted by Poolio at 5:20 PM on October 4, 2007 [4 favorites]


Disney sold the "Town Center" part in 04, but not the rest. ... Lexin Capital’s purchase encompasses 18 acres containing 16 retail shops, six full-service restaurants, more than 94,000 square feet of commercial office space, 105 private apartments, and three land parcels. ...
posted by amberglow at 5:24 PM on October 4, 2007


The whole idea of Celebration freaks me out. If I lived there I'd always be wondering 'Are these my neighbors, or are they people Disney hired to pretend to be my neighbors?'

I also wonder if the hired people to be burglars or dope dealers, but then again, It's Florida, why bother?
posted by jonmc at 5:29 PM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Celebration, FL on Google Maps
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:33 PM on October 4, 2007


Don't people speculatively put their houses up for sale when there are lots of buyers, and take them off the market once the buyers go away? That's how it's been around here.
posted by smackfu at 5:38 PM on October 4, 2007


Dog Bark Bakery, Lollipop Cottage, On A Roll Deli ... I hope Celebration includes plenty of dentists and endocrinologists, because the incidence of tooth decay and diabetes must be sky-high!
posted by rob511 at 5:38 PM on October 4, 2007


Celebration is in Orlando (essentially. Everyone calls that part of Kissimmee Orlando. They all bleed together now anyways). The city saw absolutely insane growth during the housing bubble. The house that my parents built for 100K in the 90's was worth 450K last year. Not to mention the gentrification and five or ten new condo buildings downtown.

Celebration didn't fail for lack of growth, believe me. I'm sure there were places in the nation that had more housing growth; but Orlando looked like crazy Sim City players took it over for the last five years.

Celebration has a really creepy feeling when you're there on the ground. I have no idea why, because there are three or four other development projects just like it in Orlando and none of them have that weird feeling. But I miss Max's and that movie theater was great. They gave the cast member discount and you didn't have people talking about your date like if you went to Pleasure Island.
posted by Elsbet at 5:40 PM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Glad DenOfSizer is here to defend New Urbanism, because I have a lot of questions. Eg, this sentence from the "who we are" link:

CNU is the leading organization promoting walkable, neighborhood-based development as an alternative to sprawl.

I would like to better understand how they could possibly claim that, because isn't Celebration pretty much the classic definition of sprawl? "Let's build our utopian social environment on former farmland the next exit down the highway?"
posted by salvia at 5:52 PM on October 4, 2007


I wonder how Thomas Kinkade's development is doing?
posted by Roach at 5:59 PM on October 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


and there's some Catholic town in FL too, no?
posted by amberglow at 6:02 PM on October 4, 2007


Erm, salvia, I didn't really mean to defend New Urbanism - I just keep up with it whilst I figure out where I stand on it. Pretty big topic. Plus, I work for one of the main planners of Celebration, and although I'm not a big fan of the concept (I've not been there, which is why Elsbet's comment is interesting) but I'm dead impressed with said boss, so I've had to re-examine my initial distaste for the privatization of the publis viz. a the American slant on New Urbanism. Plus, your question about sprawl is entirely valid.
posted by DenOfSizer at 6:08 PM on October 4, 2007


Huh, how about that. Florida, in general, is really bad right now. I am so glad my parents downsized to a smaller house when they did (early 2002).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:12 PM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


and there's some Catholic town in FL too, no?

That would be Ave Maria, FL.
posted by cmgonzalez at 6:18 PM on October 4, 2007


I've been meaning to go check out Celebration for a while now. I'm surprised to hear so much is for sale -- I saw a slide show on Slate about it and it sounded like people really enjoyed it; the planning and construction was said to be much better than at other options in the area.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 6:22 PM on October 4, 2007


Here's the Slate slide show -- it's pretty good, I recommend it if you're at all interested in the place.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 6:24 PM on October 4, 2007


They should've just built the real Epcot.
posted by Curry at 6:26 PM on October 4, 2007


The Slate slide show is really good. I don't think Disney deserves all the ridicule it's gotten for trying to create a model town.
posted by orange swan at 6:40 PM on October 4, 2007


Might this news be a well-placed press release to jump start sales there, even if a bit cheap?
posted by rolypolyman at 6:41 PM on October 4, 2007


Two observations:

1) Everything I heard about this place when it was first starting up made me think of an HOA on steroids and meth but missed it's moring cup of coffee.

2) How long do you have to wander around down there before you bump into Patrick McGoohan. I got to about slide three of the Slate Slide Show before I started hearing the opening credits of The Prisoner in my head.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:42 PM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ah, thanks for the clarification, DenOfSizer.

so I've had to re-examine my initial distaste for the privatization of the public viz. a the American slant on New Urbanism

So, if I'm understanding you right, you don't mind the privatization so much? How'd you make peace with that? It definitely weirds me out.
posted by salvia at 7:03 PM on October 4, 2007


Interesting Intbau article. I was particularly struck by this, though:
I spent several days in Celebration sampling the quality of the morning coffee, the kind of groceries and newspapers available at the market, and the “third place” atmosphere of the eateries. I even tested the police and maintenance functions by engaging in mild civic misbehavior, such as throwing trash on the ground and vandalizing parts of the urban furnishing. I joined seniors and kids gathering; and I experienced how late at night I could hang out (martinis were available till midnight from a satisfyingly flirtatious bar girl next to the movie house). Celebration tested well in such ways..
Sounds like the job for me!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:16 PM on October 4, 2007


yeah, stavros, let's make a plan to do that in a dozen towns and/or small cities coast to coast and pitch it as a reality show to Discovery or Travel channel. We can call it "Is It Livable?"
posted by vrakatar at 7:25 PM on October 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


Usually when towns implode ... after 80-something, bad, crime-ridden years .... smart, childless, gay couples buy the best houses and save the town. Here is to Celebration FLA 2087!
posted by R. Mutt at 8:01 PM on October 4, 2007


Oh hell to the yeah, it pisses me off to no end. But I'm turning realpolitick on the matter - put the affordable housing in, put the sustainability in, put smart growth into it, and I'll prefer it to say, a sprawling golf-based development in an alpine desert. There are shades of privatization, and with some legislative balls, it wouldn't necessarily have to suck, is all.
posted by DenOfSizer at 8:01 PM on October 4, 2007


I have the feeling a good planned community would be right up my alley, so to speak.

Are there any examples of "good" planned communities?

I like the idea of a self-contained hamlet, where you have amenities easy at hand, within walking distance, but are far away from the urban center of a large city.

So, suburbs, yet built like a small city, where you can walk to the deli, grocery store, hardware store, etc, would literally be perfect.

Does such places exist?
posted by Ynoxas at 8:42 PM on October 4, 2007


Disney can always just sell it to the Scientologists, it's not that far from Clearwater.
posted by doctor_negative at 9:05 PM on October 4, 2007


Ynoxas: So, suburbs, yet built like a small city, where you can walk to the deli, grocery store, hardware store, etc, would literally be perfect.

Does such places exist?


Yes, they're called small towns. Some of them even have colleges rolled into the bargain. And they're all over the place! (I used to live in this one, until quite recently.)
posted by dryad at 9:31 PM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


dryad: We're drowning in small towns here in the south, but none of them are self-contained or very pedestrian friendly.

Hell, many don't even have sidewalks!

My hometown would be perfect if it occupied 5 sq miles instead of being spread over 30 sq miles.

30 square miles for 30,000 people. It's insane.

We had everything, but everything was 5 miles from everything else.

I think the sort of thing I'm looking for is typically a New England style town... where you live on Main Street, you walk out your front door, onto a sidewalk, and you walk maybe 1/2 mile to the post office, then stop at the diner next door, then pick up a few things for dinner and walk home with a couple of bags.

I'm afraid the thing I'm wanting only occurs in my head.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:40 PM on October 4, 2007


I know exactly what you mean, Ynoxas (and have talked about it here before in connection with some of the stories of Ray Bradbury, over-romanticized pictures of a life that never existed as they may be, to some extent), and it's the biggest reason I've been seriously thinking about semi-retiring in the Canadian maritimes sometime in the not-too-distant future.

And, of course, there are many places still in Europe (or some, at least) where that kind of life is possible, too.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:48 PM on October 4, 2007


We can call it "Is It Livable?"

That's great! The sequel can be "Is It Vibrant?"

I'll prefer it to say, a sprawling golf-based development in an alpine desert.

Yeah. Good point. And I can hate on Celebration as "sprawl," but if it's going to be sprawl, at least it has a few shops and a density above 4 houses/acre. I'll continue to have my issues, but New Urbanism has done a lot of good, too.

By the way, is the SmartCode still licensed and trademarked? When I was in grad school (2001-03), we couldn't get our hands on a copy. Seems like it's online now...? Did it go open source or something?

Are there any examples of "good" planned communities?

Yeah, there are a lot! For example, the American Planning Association just put out a list of the 10 best neighborhoods (though their list leaves a lot out) and stuff from the Project for Public Spaces.

Also, check out the debate in this AskMe thread.
posted by salvia at 9:49 PM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


salvia: Which one of the neighborhoods mentioned in those lists was a planned community a la Reston VA (that is, not wholly dependent on a larger urban system, or nothing but another housing development).
posted by raysmj at 10:07 PM on October 4, 2007


I think the sort of thing I'm looking for is typically a New England style town...

I lived in Northampton, MA, in the late 80s/early90s, and it was a lot like that. Main St? Check. Movie theater? Check. Also, a college, and lots of restaurants and coffeeshops and bars. It was a little drive (or bus) to the grocery store, but not bad, and lots of lectures and films and concerts because of the in-town college and the surrounding ones. A couple hours from Boston, about 3-4 from NYC. Pretty good, really. Not a "planned" community, though.
posted by rtha at 10:15 PM on October 4, 2007


Oh, were those requirements? My bad. I wasn't sure. I decided it might simply mean "shaped by planning," not "planned from scratch," and I didn't pick up on the "completely independent" bit. I thought the requirement was "everything you need within walking distance" -- reading more closely, I missed a few things.

Let's see, then I guess I'm with dryad. Small towns. Check out Mendocino or Fort Bragg or Willits, California; just the three that come to mind first.
posted by salvia at 10:19 PM on October 4, 2007


I like the idea of a self-contained hamlet, where you have amenities easy at hand, within walking distance, but are far away from the urban center of a large city.

So, suburbs, yet built like a small city, where you can walk to the deli, grocery store, hardware store, etc, would literally be perfect.

Does such places exist?


All over Europe. It amazes me that places screwed up in many ways manage to get this - very crucial - thing right when in America it's not only impossible but *made* to be impossible because of ridiculous zoning rules.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 10:30 PM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


built like a small city, where you can walk to the deli, grocery store, hardware store, etc, would literally be perfect.

Does such places exist?

Ynoxas, you're describing my neighborhood in NE Portland.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 10:53 PM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ynoxas,

Many areas of Brisbane are like that. Of course, many areas aren't - but there are a lot of places with such amenities nearby. If not a short walk, then perhaps a 5-10min drive.

Housing developments in the last 15 years? Not so much, though.
posted by ysabet at 10:58 PM on October 4, 2007


If not a short walk, then perhaps a 5-10min drive.

Ah, but that's the killer. A 10-minute drive is a long walk. A good neighborhood has all the basics within a 5- or 10-minute walk, maybe 15 minutes for some things. Otherwise people start jumping into their cars and the place goes to hell, turns into an average (crappy) car-based neighborhood full of garages and cars and highways rather than gardens and sidewalks and a little shopping center. The local stores fail because, once you've got people in cars, you can lure them out to big box stores that slightly undercut the walkable stores downtown. Then downtown starts to be a less desirable place to live and visit, the people with money (usually those with an education) move out because they can move out, the lotto and pawn shops and off-track betting places (desperation shops) move in to suck the spare change from the people who can't afford to move out, etc., etc.

A good HOA would fight to keep or build things like neighborhood shops and sidewalks and schools rather than squabble over whether the Smiths had used enough Roundup on their front lawn. The HOA board would walk everywhere and think about what one or two things they could add to the neighborhood that would keep people out of their cars and on the sidewalks.
posted by pracowity at 12:07 AM on October 5, 2007


The Celebration Chronicles
posted by jennydiski at 12:34 AM on October 5, 2007


I couldn't imagine living in a place without sidewalks... I own a car, but I drive it maybe once every two weeks or so. Of my 100+ colleagues, exactly zero take the car to work, although there are one or two who ride motorbikes to work...

What do you *do* when you live in a community built for cars? What do kids do, who are to young to drive? What do you do when you've had a couple beers and decide you just need to get some munchies?

Do the people living in such places actually speak to each other? Or do they just honk when they pass in their cars?
posted by Djinh at 12:34 AM on October 5, 2007


Ynoxas,

What you want is Lawrence, Kansas. Get a restored Victorian on the relatively quiet west side. Around a 5-10 minute walk to downtown with great bars, clubs, coffeeshops, bookstores, all sorts of independent stores. There's also grocery stores, both corporate and more organic, in that range of walking. University of Kansas is in this town, and about a 15-20 minute walk away.

You'll also be next to the trail system along the Kansas River (5 minute walk) with lots of great, if unchallenging, hiking and biking. Despite being in Kansas, there are slightly more challenging trails in the hills on the outskirts of town on the shores of the lake, but that's outside of walking range.

Relatively little crime, fairly vibrant culture and great live music on a regular basis. And is fairly inexpensive to live in. When you find yourself missing a bigger city, Kansas City is only a 30-40 minute drive away. Topeka is also close but there's never any reason to go there.

If only the town was in mountains instead of prairie, I'd move back in a heartbeat.

If you have a bigger than average budget, consider the downtown of Park City, Utah. Not as nice a culture as Lawrence, but everything is walkable including hiking trails that start nearby, the mountains are really beautiful, and despite the high cost of living, you'll still find some really interesting freaks there. And the town is 90 percent or so non-Mormon so you can easily forget you're in Utah.

Or if you want a truly small town, try Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The town has around 3,000 people and is built on some very steep and wooded slopes of the Ozarks. Virtually the entire city is on the National Register of Historical Places and looks like a version of San Francisco put under a shrink ray. Some great restaurants, shops, bars, galleries, antique stores and freaks there. The streets are winding and very very narrow. You'll still get traffic due to the tourists but the town is very walkable for the locals. One drawback to the town is that it is very hard to navigate while drunk, especially when you're leaving the bar and trying to climb up the steep, narrow staircases in the tight alleys on the way back to your house.

The only other drawback is the six story Jesus that you can see from practically any location in the city. Fortunately, the Jesus freaks usually stay on their side of the line and don't affect the culture of the town much.

So you don't have to resort to some new urbanists' fevered nightmare to get the sort of atmosphere that you want.
posted by pandaharma at 2:11 AM on October 5, 2007 [8 favorites]


Djinh:
What do you *do* when you live in a community built for cars?

Drive everywhere

What do kids do, who are to young to drive?
Mom drives them everywhere

What do you do when you've had a couple beers and decide you just need to get some munchies?
You have a huge pantry of munchies from Sam's Club in your McMansion

Do the people living in such places actually speak to each other?
No, why would you want to speak to other people? You drive from work right into your garage so that you don't have to see your neighbors
posted by octothorpe at 5:22 AM on October 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


I just escaped from an eight year stint in the green leafy suburbs and moved back to the city this summer. Sadly, you still need a car even if you live in the inner city. There's no place to buy food, hardware, housewares, etc in the city neighborhoods so you have to drive out to the 'burbs for such things.
posted by octothorpe at 5:44 AM on October 5, 2007


I visited Celebration a few years back -- at night, mind you, and only for a couple of hours -- and it really made me remember Walt Disney's fascist leanings. The creepy feeling started as I drove through the triumphal colonnade of palm trees leading into town. The houses themselves seemed oddly off -- windows set too far apart or too high up, giving them an eyeless feeling. And the worst, by far, was the town hall, where you have to walk through a forest of columns and up two flights of stairs to even get in. The town professes to be some authentic expression of American spirit (every house has a little plaque telling you that it's in a "Southern Colonial" or "New England Clapboard" or some other American cliche), but it is profoundly un-democratic in feeling as well as fact. For a useful comparison, look at Philadelphia City Hall: located right in the center of town, covered in windows and welcoming you with a large, open gate. That's what self-governance should look like.
posted by ourobouros at 6:38 AM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


So, suburbs, yet built like a small city, where you can walk to the deli, grocery store, hardware store, etc, would literally be perfect. Does such places exist?

As has been mentioned, lots and lots of small- and mid-sized college towns are exactly like this, as are areas of quite a few cities (San Francisco, Boston, Portland, etc). Even thoroughly car-centric Phoenix has a couple of neighborhoods that mostly fit the bill (or so I have read).

If what really interests you is a planned- and built- from scratch development, you should look through the project database at the Congress for New Urbanism (link). Lots of pretty pictures, and some of the projects look to be quite pleasant.
posted by Forktine at 7:15 AM on October 5, 2007


So, suburbs, yet built like a small city, where you can walk to the deli, grocery store, hardware store, etc, would literally be perfect. Does such places exist?

I can do this.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:35 AM on October 5, 2007


i wonder how many of Celebration, FL homes are second homes or rentals? i know people who live there but only during the winter.

I would venture a guess that second homes go on the market more often that primary residences.
posted by domino at 7:37 AM on October 5, 2007


jennydiski--that link didn't work...repost?

i wonder how many of Celebration, FL homes are second homes or rentals?
I've heard Seaside (another New Urbanist town) is like that too....i wonder if it has as high a for sale rate?

Travel and Leisure: ... My goal is to visit as many of Florida’s New Urbanist communities as possible: I want to see if towns based on the New Urbanists’ endless codes about street width and gradations of population density, and their guidelines about the structure of porches and the order of columns, have grown up into real places. Can you visit a New Urbanist town, with its cultivated charm, its squeaky-clean gloss on the past, and have the kind of experience you might in a place where charm has had a chance to evolve and molder, like Key West or Savannah? ...
posted by amberglow at 8:02 AM on October 5, 2007


Sorry. Hope this is good. The Celebration Chronicles.
posted by jennydiski at 9:20 AM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ynoxas, you sound like you want something like where I live. I live in Andersonville, a neighborhood within Chicago. We walk to the grocery store (a local Mexican market), buy fresh bread at the bakery, pick up fresh snacks from the Middle Eastern Bakery, pop across to the liquor store, hardware store, etc.

Sometimes you can find a "small town feel" within a big city. Best of both worlds.

Gotta go outwards for the nature though, that's the only downside.
posted by agregoli at 9:48 AM on October 5, 2007


So, amberglow, has there been any research done on why people are moving out, whether vacancies there are worse than anywhere else, and so on? It's kind of a fascinating question!
posted by salvia at 10:46 AM on October 5, 2007


salvia, that's why i posted--it is fascinating, i think. The linked article says other neighborhoods in the county don't have anywhere near that amount of homes up for sale and that more established neighborhoods have lower rates--maybe people never put down roots? maybe they didn't feel like it was really their town at all when all was said and done?

thanks, jenny!
posted by amberglow at 11:41 AM on October 5, 2007


But would you sell in this market just for reasons of social discontent? My money is on adjustable mortgages somewhere. Wonder how recently most of these were purchased -- are these people who bought in around 2001? So... need more data.... Does any of this help?

Graphs from Trulia for Celebration, FL -- be sure to click on the "number of sales" tab

The only way I could find a graph of inventory was by going through the steps to customize this widget and previewing

Market reports for Celebration

In 2004, the Disney Company sold the 16-acre town center to Lexin Capital [and it was all downhill from there?]
posted by salvia at 12:14 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah. I was under the impression that Disney all but cleared out of Celebration a few years back, sold whatever interest they had remaining in the major developments as well as the town center to Lexin Capital.

I think, though, and this might be why the re-sell rate is atrocious, that the original "PLANNED" as in planned as in planned as in "You can't paint your house unless it is one of these approved colors and that action is approved by your town sub committee" as in the HOA from hell is still in full effect for all houses there.

On one hand it makes for a great, clean, zombie like set of streets. I was down there a few weeks back and it was nearly impossible to tell the houses that were "For Sale" versus the houses that weren't, because the houses that were for sale could only have a tiny, black text on white circle with the simple words "For Sale" on their lawns. It all blended right in.

Pretty. And creepy.
posted by cavalier at 2:21 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


We're drowning in small towns here in the south, but none of them are self-contained or very pedestrian friendly.

They're there, even in the south. They've just developed huge buffers of sprawl around them. I spent four years in Wilmington, NC, which is ringed by insane sprawl for mile after mile; but I pretty much spent all my time downtown or close to it, and lived as though the city limits had stayed the same since 1950. You could do the same in Chapel Hill or any number of other smallish college towns. The problem is that in any walkable, urban area space is a scarce commodity, and unless it's really gone to shit, if you want to own a house, it's going to cost you; particularly over the last few years prices have gone up much faster than rents, and you end up with neighborhoods where a nice big one-bedroom in an old Victorian goes for $500-$600 a month but you can't buy for less than half a million, which makes them great for young, single people but difficult for families, particularly families with expectations about space shaped by the suburbs.

It's true that in the south this kind of thing seems limited to a few larger towns. New England is chock-full of tiny, dense towns. I grew up in a town of around 15,000 in Connecticut, in the first-ring suburbs, and even from there it was pretty easy to walk to Main Street and the village green.
posted by enn at 5:58 PM on October 5, 2007


Just wanted to say thank you to everyone for all the great info. It's like an ask-me embedded in the blue.

And sorry for needlessly confusing two issues... I think a "good" planned community would be great, as it would be planned, from the ground up, to meet my kind of requirements.

However, I didn't mean to exclude non-planned communities, and thankfully most of you saw through to that end and offered up great info.

Thanks again.
posted by Ynoxas at 12:36 AM on October 6, 2007


i'm impressed, salvia--thanks!
posted by amberglow at 10:31 AM on October 6, 2007


looking at the prices, maybe it was always too expensive for the area?
posted by amberglow at 10:39 AM on October 6, 2007


pracowitty,

I don't live in the US. We don't have HOAs here. That said...

The concept of a neighbourhood without places to walk is one that is utterly foreign to me. Sure, there are a few cars here and there, and roads, of course. But there's usually a footpath or pavement or space to walk at a very minimum.

I currently live within eyeshot of a large shopping centre, a medium shopping centre, a small shopping centre, and a small cluster of shops. They're all about 10min walk, less if I'm brisk. They are all a 10-15min drive, because parking sucks. Did I not get burnt so easily, I would always walk there. This is not an unusual state of affairs in my city. For lunch or a decent steak or croissant, I'm likely to drive the 5min to the cluster of shops over the hill that would take too long to walk to, instead of the big-ticket shops nearby. This is not uncommon behaviour here.

Incidentally, there are 4 schools within a 20min walk from where I sit. They're closer to the trainline, though, which is how most of their population gets here of a morning.

Brisbane is a lovely city. It's a bitch to get around in, because we don't have much in the way of highways. I've seen the areas that are suburbia in the classic american style, and I don't live there. Never have, never will. That's okay. There's plenty of areas that aren't like that.
posted by ysabet at 3:58 PM on October 6, 2007


hmm, maybe amberglow! Good catch, the homes are priced high -- four times as much as most places in the state (while incomes are only three times as much). Anyway, thanks for the post, very interesting to know what's going on down there.
posted by salvia at 10:05 PM on October 6, 2007


pracowitty, I don't live in the US. We don't have HOAs here. That said...

Neither, last I heard, does pracowity. Last I heard, he's still in Poland.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:58 PM on October 7, 2007


the homes are priced high -- four times as much as most places in the state (while incomes are only three times as much).
Yup--and it seemed from a lot of the articles about the town that people moved there from elsewhere attracted to the town and idea and Disney brand strength-- and not because they got jobs down there first and had to move there anyway (and that was probably all during Clinton days, i bet--when the economy overall was much better)
posted by amberglow at 6:02 PM on October 8, 2007


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