Crestwood Heights: A Study of the Culture of Suburban Life

Crestwood Heights: A Study of the Culture of Suburban Life

Crestwood Heights: A Study of the Culture of Suburban Life

Crestwood Heights: A Study of the Culture of Suburban Life

Excerpt

SPACE has perhaps much to tell us about Crestwood Heights and its people.

Part of that story -- and the greater part of this chapter -- tells how Crestwood came to be what it is, as a place : how the necessities of organization led to the selection of a site and a setting for that differentiated part of the urban way of life which is Crestwood.

But part of the story has to do more with people than with place. Since Crestwooders are largely free economically to choose where they will live, and, earlier, were free to impose to a large extent their will on the site selected, the story of the place is the story of its people. Thus the impress of the site on the people is a not unimportant theme, and what they have done with the space -- building huge houses on small lots, for instance -- suggests much. But a deeper and more important, though not wholly independent, theme is concerned with how Crestwooders view space itself, and how they view it in relation to time and money. These themes are interwoven with the principal theme of this chapter -- the development of the site.

That "time is money" is a commonplace in our culture. But that space means time is familiar to every commuter, and that money means space (and place) is well known to every realtor and house-buyer. The relations among the three variables -- with taste as a complicating fourth factor -- call for subtle compromises, a complex balancing and regulating of competing considerations.

The house, for instance, must be large enough to ensure privacy and symbolize success -- but not so large as to chill contact or to make maintenance crippling. Home and office must be far enough apart to connote exclusiveness and the power to annihilate distance -- but not so far as to cause serious strain and inconvenience in the daily journey from the . . .

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