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Thread: Difference between rowhomes v townhomes

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Difference between rowhomes v townhomes

    Hey all,
    I am writing a glossary for this specific plan and i have searched for a good definition between rowhomes and townhomes and could not find any. Does anyone have a good example from the municipalities code?
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  2. #2
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    I found this definition from my good friend Wikipedia:

    In the United States and Canada, a townhouse has two connotations. The older predates the automobile and denotes a house on a small footprint in a city, but due to having multiple floors (sometimes six or more) it has a large living space, often with servant quarters. The small footprint of the townhouse allows it to be within walking or mass transit distance of business and industrial areas of the city, yet luxurious enough for wealthy residents of the city. In areas so densely built that detached single-family houses are uncommon or almost nonexistent, ownership of a townhouse connotes wealth. Some examples of cities where townhouses are occupied almost exclusively by the wealthy are New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Toronto, and San Francisco.

    "Rowhouses" are similar, and consist of several adjacent, uniform units originally found in urban areas on the east coast such as Baltimore, Detroit, and Philadelphia, but now found in lower-cost housing developments in suburbs as well. A rowhouse will generally be smaller and less luxurious than a dwelling called a townhouse.

    The name "townhouse" or "townhomes" was later used to describe non-uniform units in suburban areas that are designed to mimic detached or semi-detached homes. The distinction between dwellings called just "apartments" or "condos" is that these townhouses usually consist of multiple floors, although ones with more than three floors (including a basement) are uncommon.

    In Canada, and especially in Ontario, townhouses are split into two categories:

    * In condominium townhouses, the purchaser owns only the interior, while the building itself is owned by a condominium corporation. The corporation is jointly owned by all the owners, and charges them fees for general maintenance and major repairs.
    * Freehold townhouses are exclusively owned, without any condominium aspects.

    "Stacked townhouses" have multiple units vertically (typically two), normally each with its own private entrance from the street.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  3. #3
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    We only have definitions for attached and detached dwellings.

    Really from a land use perspective there is usually not difference between a rowhouse and townhouse. In contemporary development they are only useful depending on the image you want to elicit.

    Townhouse is used more, because it does not have the same negative connotation as rowhouse, which usually conjures images of dirty and cramped inner city neighborhoods of 19th industrial cities.

    When I hear the words:
    Townhouse = no or little yard, garage under the building, usually 2-3 stories and tightly spaced in a large cluster of like buildings - http://www.progressiveurban.com/new_...or%20photo.jpg

    Rowhouse = yard between detached garage and house, 2-3 stories and direct access to a public street - http://www.dcpreservation.org/endang...68%20Perry.JPG
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mendelman View post
    When I hear the words:

    Rowhouse = yard between detached garage and house, 2-3 stories and direct access to a public street - http://www.dcpreservation.org/endang...68%20Perry.JPG
    This is what i think of when I hear "rowhouse". Housing built for the working class, most often found in northeast cities. No garages, no yards.


  5. #5
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    When I think of rowhouses, I think of townhouses that are identical. Like a lot of dwellings I have seen in pictures of England.

    But according to The Latest Illustrated Book of Development Definitions (Rutgers, 2004) a rowhouse is "an attached dwelling separated from others in a row by a vertical unpierced wall extending from basement to roof. See Dwelling, Town House. Comment: Row houses are urban housing types, usually on their own lots with little or no front yard and a small, enclosed rear yard."

    When we follow instructions and see Dwelling, Town House we see, "A one-family dwelling in a row of at least three such units in which each unit has its own front and rear access to the outside, no unit is located over another unit, and each unit is separated from any other unit by one or more vertical common fire-resistant walls."

    Not much help. I think the identicality is what distinguishes them. At least in my mind, such as it is. This site seems to agree:
    http://www.boston.com/realestate/art...se_brownstone/

  6. #6
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    Hey all,
    I am writing a glossary for this specific plan and i have searched for a good definition between rowhomes and townhomes and could not find any.
    Off-topic:
    If Cyburbia ever creates it's own rendition of The Devil's Dictionary, I'd offer the following:
    Rowhouses are like townhouses, only built in floodplains.
    [Written under the influence of an episode of "Wait, Wait..... don't tell me!"]

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