Monthly Archives: November 2008

Other people’s blogs

“You might live in Upstate New York if…” (Clearly a North Country/Adirondack edition.)

You might live in Upstate New York also, if you are in a rap group named after a man frozen into a block of ice.

Seven Valley Scoop is a news blog about Cortland — an underrepresented area in the local blogosphere. A sample post: The Cortland Standard’s Traditional Approach to News Does Us All a Disservice.

It is time to start following the Golden Snowball again.

Onondaga Citizens League has another post up about I-81, this time examining what San Francisco did with the Embarcadero Freeway.

Phil, writing at Still Racing in the Street, is disgusted with the commentariat.

And some congratulations are in order over at the Balogh residence!

We need our space

Now it finally comes out — suburbia’s terrible secret:

Forget hot tubs beckoning sybaritic adults, garages brimming with impressive cars and families frolicking on verdant lawns. From their clutter-strewn garages to their mostly lovely but abandoned yards, busy Southern California parents who own their homes rarely use residential outdoor spaces for the purposes for which they were designed, said a UCLA anthropologist who participated an in-depth study of how the average dual-income family really lives in Los Angeles.

“Middle class families in Southern California don’t live the way you might expect,” said Jeanne Arnold, an anthropologist with UCLA’s Center for the Everyday Lives of Families and a UCLA professor of anthropology. “Most parents in dual-income families never spend leisure time in their yards, their children play outside much less than expected and most cars can’t fit in garages because they’re too full of clutter from the house.”

I’m reminded of the films of Steven Spielberg, which initially treated suburbia with great realism — remember Richard Dreyfuss’ awesomely cluttered family home in Close Encounters of the Third Kind? (“Toby, you are close to death!”) But soon his films degenerated into a cleaner, more sterile and more molded vision of suburbia in E.T. and Poltergeist, where the clutter was just mainly identifiable (product-placed?) children’s toys.

Adults were barely recorded in their backyards during the observed times, and when they did step through their backdoors, they did chores. In fact, 13 of the 24 families – or slightly more than half – did not spend any leisure time at all in the backyard during the four days of observation. This finding included both parents and children. Interestingly, researcher logged little or no use of the priciest improvements (pools, play sets, and formal decks and patio spaces).

So, those would be the larger, more expensive homes that everyone just had to have (even if they couldn’t afford them without wonky loans)…

Help me out here

Can someone please explain to me what this is supposed to do? Because I’ve read this story several times and can’t figure it out.

An example of the types of collaboration COLA B hopes to work on just happened over the weekend, when it brought together students from 10 different majors to work with local developers and the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce to imagine what Jefferson Street could look like with a bit of coordinated investment. They came up with dozens of ideas, translated into drawings that will be on display tonight.

Great: more brilliant ideas with no political plan for achieving them? We don’t have enough of those.

(I’m sorry, have I knocked anyone out of their comfort zone with this question?)

Spitzer speaks

Over the weekend, an editorial on the financial markets by Eliot Spitzer appeared in the Washington Post. It’s worth a read. I’m glad to see that Spitzer is still offering his thoughts on Wall Street. His voice has been missed, and I’m sure in coming years we will hear more of Spitzer at his best.