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Thread: Culture/Character of your city or neighborhood?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Culture/Character of your city or neighborhood?

    Every city is different. A person may say that they feel like they do, or do not fit in to a particular city or culture. New York City for example has a culture or character of being the center of the universe, yet each of itís different neighborhoods have their own unique character and culture.

    How do you define the character and culture of your city? What about your neighborhood?

    How would you explain your city or neighborhood? What about the people who live there?
    Invest in the things today, that provide the returns tomorrow.

  2. #2
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    How would I describe my neighborhood?

    My Neighborhood
    A veritable Ode to Geometry with its' precisely laid out right angles
    Meticulously manicured verdant lawns line its automobile-friendly streets
    The smell of backyard barbeques behind the confines of protective stockade fences
    Good Christian folk washing their SUV's and minivans in the driveway
    Snowblowers redistribute snow into orderly piles
    Away from the hustle and bustle of downtown
    Convenient shopping malls with plenty of parking nearby
    Well funded schools where the children of middle managers go on to college
    Indoors the plump ivory children play Grand Theft Auto on their Xboxes
    A singleness of mind and values reign supreme
    My very own 80' by 120' parcel of Paradise on Earth
    Manifest Destiny's promise delivered
    George W Bush would be proud to campaign in my neighborhood!


    I gotta stop! I'm getting misty (sniff)
    Last edited by Maister; 29 Aug 2006 at 3:16 PM.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, ďWhere are you from?Ē doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  3. #3
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    The best way to describe where I work is wanna be sopranos/ youshuddappayouraface

    The city I live in is a total multicultural mishmash.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  4. #4
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    How would I describe my neighborhood?

    My Neighborhood
    A veritable Ode to Geometry with its' precisely laid out right angles
    Meticulously manicured verdant lawns line its automobile-friendly streets
    The smell of backyard barbeques behind the confines of protective stockade fences
    Good Christian folk washing their SUV's and minivans in the driveway
    Snowblowers redistribute snow into orderly piles
    Away from the hustle and bustle of downtown
    Convenient shopping malls with plenty of parking nearby
    Well funded schools where the children of middle managers go on to college
    Indoors the plump ivory children play Grand Theft Auto on their Xboxes
    A singleness of mind and values reign supreme
    My very own 80' by 120' parcel of Paradise on Earth
    Manifest Destiny's promise delivered
    George W Bush would be proud to campaign in my neighborhood!
    So... what are your neighbors like?
    Invest in the things today, that provide the returns tomorrow.

  5. #5
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    My neighborhood:

    History: Initially developed in 1960s following completion of a large hydro/flood control lake. Lots of people have weekender homes here.

    Development Pattern: Streets flow with the hillside, only one cul-de-sac. Street width is about 18' with no curbs and open drainage. No sidewalks, but traffic is so light that they really aren't needed. Lots are about 7,000 to 12,000 square feet. Several 2 bedroom houses built on piers, indicative of their original purpose as weekenders. New houses are often built into the side of the hill and use native materials, particularly limestone exteriors. Most houses have large porches, many of them spanning the width of the house. They are larger than the existing houses, but typically stay under about 2000 square feet. Houses are relatively close to the street, usually about 15 feet off the street edge. The neighborhood is about 80% built-out; some are starting to buy and extensively remodel. You don't see the urban green lawns here; people in the neighborood are into xerics and wildscaping.

    The Peeps: About 40% of the houses still function as weekenders/summer homes, with many of the owners being from Houston (our neighborhood turned into party central when Hurricane Rita caused an evacuation of Houston last year). Of the full-timers, there are lots of aging baby boomers in the neighborhood, but younger families in their 30s are beginning to buy into the neighborhood. My wife & I are the youngest in the neighborhood at 25. People here are very outdoors-oriented--we pass 10-15 people walking dogs every evening. Sailing and waterskiing are the big activities for the neighborhood since the yacht club entrance is just down the street. Those that are not retired commute to nearby New Braunfels or San Marcos (20-25 miles; about 25-30 minutes), or San Antonio (45 miles; about an hour). Those that work are mostly in white collar professional jobs, but there is a restaurant owner, mechanic, electrician and handyman in the neighborhood. It also has a couple of university professors. Politically, there are a lot of crunchy conservatives (you see this a lot in the Texas Hill Country), but also your fair share of liberals and everything in between. If a Republican or Democrat were to campaign at a neighborhood BBQ, they would likely both be told to shut-up and have a beer. The neighborhood has a surprisingly large Jewish presence, though the majority are Christian faiths with about 75% of those active in the church. There are three homosexual families, one of which happens to own a local BBQ restaurant. They are completely open about it, but none of the neighbors care. The neighborhood is lily white, with about 85% white, 13% hispanic and 2% Asian/PI (this is within about 5% of the county demographics). People in the neighborhood are very "live & let live"--there has not been a neighbor dispute here in quite some time and everyone gets along well. Once a quarter there is a neighborhood BBQ. Expect to get a ton of free food when you move into the neighborhood--folks are very friendly and outgoing.
    Last edited by Suburb Repairman; 29 Aug 2006 at 5:48 PM.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman GŲring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  6. #6
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Here's the rundown:

    --52% Neuvo-Middle Class Redneck

    --47% Upper Middle Class Colorado Republican Retiree

    --1% Liberal bastion of pseudo-Green Party Socailism (monitored by Black helicopters of course)

    All (except for the Liberal Bastion) are trying the darnedest to achieve the status of Maister's neighborhood.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  7. #7
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    The culture of mine is:

    20% A hodgepodge of Quasi-post-neo-traditionalist Audi or BMW driving white collar working yuppies whom wanted the American dream, yet still be able to walk downtown. (Although they are more likely to drive to the nearest mall instead)

    20% Post 60 year old former hippies turned pro or anti anything activists whom refuse to conform to the norms of society, have fully organic gardens and are pro historic preservation. They also tend to pay the most for lawn and landscaping services and their houses look like everyone else’s.

    15% Wanna’ be snobs that come from old money and have lived in the same house since Lincoln was shot. Only seen at corporate fundraisers or on their front porch with an irish coffee and some Werthers Candy Originals, cursing about the young punk kid riding a bike in the street. Their houses often smell of a combination of kerosene and ben-gay. In reality, they are very nice people if you can build up the nerve to walk up and say hi.

    15% Recent post graduate overachievers who make an attempt to relive their college lives by living close to downtown. They cherish the past while embracing the future. Often they will buy something and fix it up themselves in an effort to save money and gain experience knowing that their investment will yield high returns in the future. They try to interact with everyone else, however are not as accept acted as the snobs, yuppies, for neo-traditionalists.

    15% Current college students who found a cheep place to rent. The couch on the front porch, a pile of natural ice cans in the side yard and a car in the driveway that accidentally keeps getting towed from public lots because people think it has been abandoned are likely indicators of their property. They also have great kegers that are crashed by the former hippies looking for a release from the “pressures of the ‘MAN’S’ society” as they put it.

    10% Open homosexuals (8% blend in to the crowd and 2% that make the cast of "Chorus Line" look like the Federal Reserve Board.) Typically very active in neighborhood events and often have some of the nicest homes in the neighborhood. Almost always nice to everyone and very reliable when volunteering to organize neighborhood events.

    %5 Just this side of homeless individuals with a combination of mental, social, and ethical disorders that have limited their ability to obtain acceptable and profitable employment. They often live in funding assisted housing or in a house owned by a slum lord from Chicago or Farmington Hills. This group is likely to sit on the front porch and yell strange things at anyone they notice.
    Invest in the things today, that provide the returns tomorrow.

  8. #8
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    Mine is Mayberry with a bad attitude and a hit of window pane.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    C'mon and get me you twist of fate
    I'm standing right here Mr. Destiny
    If you want to talk well then I'll relate
    If you don't so what cause you don't scare me

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    I'm in a small city with agricultural roots and families who've been here forever. It's definitely got a redneck bent. They are annexing affluent new developments right and left, and of course the residents do NOT want their address to be this city. They want the next one over, which is more prestigious.

    My neighborhood is older with an eclectic mix of rednecks who let their place go to he$$, big old-family homes, and little family homes like mine. But I like it. Except for the trees when storms are coming.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Swanton, OH

    84% German heritage
    12% Eastern European heritage
    2% Mongolian Chinese heritage
    1% West Virginia heritage
    1% Robotic heritage (Steely Dan Fans)

    90% of residents own their own homes
    65% of residents have an adult kid still living in the basement

    100% of residents believe that Meijer's prunes are better

    .0000001% of residents regularly attend Cyburbian fests

    99.9% of residents hate going "into Toledo" because it is "too big"

    100% of residents know that the Swanton Police force really does have an "Officer Duck"

    2% of the homes have bats in the attic (and living room, sometimes )
    20% of the residents own a motorcycle that they purchased in the last 2 years

    44% of the front porches have little old ladies on them

    Demographics Shore Is Fun Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    my city

    Old Southern City transformed to New Northern Playground

  12. #12
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Everyone keeps up their yard and everyone is a weekend warrior, running all the errands and doing all the household chores necessary they do not have time to do during the week

    How nice your patio is is a major factor in your status

    If you own a pool, that can be considered an even greater status symbol

    An idea of Friday night fun consists of getting the hell out of here and going somewhere else or sticking around and eating at Cheeseburger in Paradise or Applebee's, catching a movie at the local 12-screen cineplex, and getting some ice cream afterwards at Coldstone Creamery

    People shop at power centers and lifestyle centers for both recreation and necessity

    The local Lifetime Fitness complex is pretty much the only fitness center around

    Kids kill themselves drag racing on "Rollercoaster Road" and other notorious country backroads. Those that survive were often driving large pickup trucks.

    Retired folk from the inner burbs have moved out to the largest age-restricted neighborhood outside the Sunbelt to golf, vote en masse against school referendums, and drive everyone else in the area nuts

    It still isn't surprising to see a tractor going down the road

    Either you or somebody you know runs a small business, and it is likely growing immensely

    A line of 50 buses or more at the local schools isn't out of the ordinary, as absolutely no kids walk to school due to school sprawl

    A traffic jam of backed-up semi-trucks on the state highway is common

    SUV moms and office park dads prevail here. More people also are likely to work in burbs like Schaumburg or Hoffman Estates than they do in the Loop or in their own county.

    The most significant crime is city folk from the Tollway coming to steal car radios at the outlet mall or young girls shoplifting at Kohl's

    The most important local gathering spot is the 7-11

    People buy all their produce, fall decorating, and flower needs at Tom's Farm and all their deli and meat needs at the local butcher

    The few remaining older shops in town make you feel like you've gone back 20+ years everytime you enter them

    An increasing number of yuppies moving in, driving BMWs and acting like they own the place

    All the Polish immigrants and Hispanic immigrants who have repaired everyone's house, attended to everyone's lawn, fixed everyone's sewer system, and every other working class service job the past 15 years are finally becoming able to afford to live here

    There are a dozen grocery stores to choose from and at almost anytime, especially the weekends, you can find them all to be extremely busy

    Going to Wal-Mart after church services appears to be a local pastime

    The only places open at lunch time during the week are fast food chains and the local Chicago food chains (hot dog, burger, beef, etc.) and they are all packed

    There are still residents who have been in the area a long long time, and many are growing fed up with the old people, yuppies, and working class immigrants. But in the end, many of them end up selling their farmstead to a housing devoloper and buying an even larger homestead further west

    Bike trails are increasing but still incomplete

    People golf, go to Lake Geneva, attend Country Thunder, go to summertime festivals, or go to the Chicago loop on summer weekends

    People go snowmobiling, Christmas or post-Christmas shopping, and run snow-blowers in the winter, not to mention stay inside and be warm. Christmas lights displays also become a status symobol during this time of year.

    The amount of churches is equal to the number of bars

    Gravel trucks and wide-load trucks hauling lumber is just a way of life

    It's not a complete day until you've seen multiple dead animal carcasses on the road, especially racoons, skunks, and the occassional deer

    Airplanes, whether commerical jetliners or small general aviation aircraft, roaring over your house is perfectly normal

    Everyone, besides the retired folk, have lots of kids and at least 1 dog

    Townhome developments separate single-family residential from retail and are typically occupied by young couples, swingin' singles, empty nesters, and the working class

    The most signifcant employers are local school districts, local government, big box stores, and behind them a select few tool & die companies and distribution warehouses

    Driving out of a local fireworks display is more complicated than driving out of a Sox game

    Someone you know personally is in the military, and if not, you still know somebody who is as the community tends to rally around and support the local troops

    Traditions such as the Memorial Day parade, Boy Scout pancake breakfasts, 4-H club meetings still exist

    Little league teams getting ice cream at Dairy Queen or the local drive-in Dairy Mart is a local past-time

    George W. Bush would be happy to campaign here too
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post
    I'm in a small city with agricultural roots and families who've been here forever. It's definitely got a redneck bent. They are annexing affluent new developments right and left, and of course the residents do NOT want their address to be this city. They want the next one over, which is more prestigious.

    My neighborhood is older with an eclectic mix of rednecks who let their place go to he$$, big old-family homes, and little family homes like mine. But I like it. Except for the trees when storms are coming.
    Kinda sounds a lot like Vacaville, actually. My neighborhood is a mix of decrepit cottages, my little (semi-decrepit ) condo complex, and a row of pretty nice "old money" mansions dating from the 1890s-1960s. I love my neighborhood.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Victorian/Edwardian.

    Bedford Park, in some ways the first 'modern' suburb (as in, a new development on (semi)-green site meant to be an alternative to ctiy living but near the city).

    It's built into the fabric of the city now grown around it so it's not sprawl like modern burbs (when it was built, rail and horse were the means of transport).

    The 'high street' (Chiswick High Road) and environs sports fairly decent shops and a VERY good selection of restaurants...more.
    Life and death of great pattern languages

  15. #15
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner View post
    How nice your patio is is a major factor in your status
    Does the size of your deck matter?
    Invest in the things today, that provide the returns tomorrow.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Neighborhood: Historic Victorian homes with large front porches, porch swings, water fountains, palm trees, and incredible landscaping intermingled and surrounded by small bungalows and shotgun shacks. Horse and carriage tours frequently travel along our street, as do crackheads traveling between the neighborhood of shotgun shacks and the downtown riverfront. The residents are an odd mix of African-American families and senior citizens and newly-arrived white Northerners, yuppies and UNCW students. There are quite a few punk/surfer/mod kids who are probably in a local garage band.

    City: An extremely laid back beach town full of surfers, college students, retired Yankees, and old school African-American and Southern white families. There is also a large population of Mexican immigrants, who are especially visible at Wal-Mart and local construction sites. The city can basically be divided into two distinct areas: Downtown and The Beach (Wrightsville Beach). Church is big, but not overwhelmingly so. Dress is very casual (flip flops being the most common footwear). Poverty is rampant in parts of Downtown, but crime is minimal. Nightlife is great, both Downtown and at The Beach.

    The central and eastern part of Downtown is a large swath of exclusively black neighborhoods, but many are stable middle class. The historically African-American area near the riverfront is rapidly gentrifying without a lot of the usual local outcry. There are tons of infill units being built throughout Downtown. Most of the early suburban neighborhoods, between Downtown and The Beach, are racially integrated and are comprised of 1000-1300SF brick ranch houses on 1/3-1/2 acre lots. The newer suburban neighborhoods near The Beach are composed of massive waterfront/beachfront homes ($600K-2.5M), many built in New Urbanist styles. Neighborhoods farther from The Beach mostly consist of small wood-framed vinyl-sided snout-nose homes on postage-stamp sized lots ($120K-240K). The urban area is growing rapidly, spreading into two adjacent counties at a rapid pace.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    Does the size of your deck matter?
    Yes, that too.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  18. #18
    Cyburbian
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    Neighborhood: built in the 1920's, mainly old bungalows and cottage style homes. with some duplexes, triplexes, and 3-4 condo smaller condo buildings. Narrow streets, decent sized park strips, two small commercial districts, one is a block away from me and contains a few national chains (starbucks & einsteins bagels) but mostly consists of locally owned businesses (french, italian, and mideastern restaurants, a bookstore, a dog grooming place, a hair salon, and a few other retailers). T he other is aobut a 10 minute walk and has a drug store, a small neihgborhhod grocery w/ a killer deli and bakery, and a breakfast place and service station. There are two parks, one is about a 5 minute walk and is more of natural area with a stream in it, a community garden, and a tot lot & pavilion. The other is about 5 acres of grass, huge trees, and a good tot lot. a great place in the heat of summer. The elementary school is within walking distance.

    The People: We have a good mix of people. I have no idea what the percentages, but the majority of people are married couples with no kids. The next major household type would be younger professionals with young kids (there are six three year old boys, in addition to our twins, on our block alone). The rest is about equally distributed between the elderly, college kids, and gays. based on political lawn signs, we are probably the most liberal voting block in the state. Virtually all of our locally elected officials are democrats. George Bush would NOT campaign in our neighborhood (he is in town today by the way), but Bill Clinton has picked up a cup of coffee from the starbucks up the street when he was president. There are very few LDS people in my neighborhood (thankfully).

    What we are lacking: racial diversity. We have very few minorities in our neighborhood which I think sucks. Also, because the majority of people are virtually the same, we lack cultural diversity. It is still Utah afterall. The saving grace is the ethnic restaurants up the street. On weekends it is not unusual to hear multiple languages being spoken at the same time in the same restaruant.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner View post
    Yes, that too.
    Is their special cachet associated with decks made from endangered tropical hardwoods?

  20. #20
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    about 30 percent arabic
    about 25 percent black
    about 5 percent hispanic
    30 percent other, including the old predominate group polish (my grandma and I both have homes here and qualify as this), asians, hillbillies.

    The retail corridors of the neighborhood is full of stores, not of the classiest of quality, but they do serve the local population. These stores include arabic and polish bakeries, computer stores, fruit markets, neighborhood markets, barbers, dairy queens, family dollar, drug stores. I am really amazed at the number of full storefronts there are. An empty one is a rare occurance, and newer stores are being built to replace the older ones that are multi-story buildings instead of single story ones.

    One thing the neighborhood is losing quickly are the corner bars. This is largely due to a decrease in drinking in general, and the influence of the muslim populations.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  21. #21
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    My neighborhood is a sprawling appendage onto a Village whose population has grown by 200% between 1990 and 2000. All the homes were constructed in the 1990s. Most are big, but some (like mine) are small. There are only about 10 different homeplans present in my subdivision of about 150 homes, most have snout garages, and all the homes are either white, light blue, yellow or beige. Some have a little brick on the facade. Other than that it is all vinyl siding. Really, the style of my neighborhood is exactly what I hate about homes today. They have no character, no front porches, there are no sidewalks, and the trees in the neighborhood are just getting large enough to supply a tiny bit of shade. But, crime is low, schools are good, and our home is low maintenance, in an area where home values are appreciating. Most homes have wooden swingsets in the backyard, atop unnaturally green lawns. A few homes have pools, and there seems to be an awful lot of trampolines. Most men spend their weekends on their riding lawnmowers, on lawns I donít think are big enough to warrant a riding mower. My subdivision is basically a square mile of single-family homes, with a water tower in the corner and farmland surrounding us on all sides.

    My neighbors are virtually all transplants. Our next-door neighbors happen to hail from Iowa, just like us. They are predominantly white married couples with children. The children in the neighborhood range from infants to teens. There arenít that many mini-vans in the neighborhood; mostly SUVs and sports cars. My husband and I are the minority, with my compact car and his old pick-up. In the evenings I see pre-teen girls practicing cheer-routines in a side yard, older couples walking dogs, and lots of pre-schoolers on battery operated vehicles circling in the cul-de-sacs as their parents look on. Everybody waves to everybody, even though they donít know each others names.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    Does the size of your deck matter?
    Only the men worry about the size of their deck....

  23. #23
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post
    Only the men worry about the size of their deck....
    Sheesh...you people over 20 are so immature.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

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