Sunday, December 18, 2005

In Exurbs, Life Framed by Hours Spent in the Car: here is framed by hours spent in the car.

It is a defining force, a frustrating, physical manifestation of the community's stage of development, shaping how people structure their days, engage in civic activities, interact with their families and inhabit their neighborhoods.

Ask residents why they moved here, and they tend to give the same answers: more house for the money, better schools, a lifestyle relentlessly focused on the family.

Ask them what the trade-off is, and most often they mention the traffic.

Chris Gray, 34, moved to Frisco with her husband eight years ago, eager for a bigger house in an affordable, family-oriented community. Ms. Gray quit her job as a financial consultant for Electronic Data Systems in Plano, the previous exurban boomtown just to Frisco's south, and decided to become a stay-at-home mother for her two daughters. But her husband, who works near downtown Dallas, has paid the price.

Dan Savage's retort, which warms my heart:

Suffer, bitches.

Let me look inside my heart and see if it's breaking for the Gray family...


You can have a family-focused life in the big city, Mrs. Gray—tons of people do it. And a family of four can live comfortably in an apartment in the city. It all depends on what you value. Do you value your time? Or do you just want "more house for the money"? If it's all about having a "great room" and two spare bedrooms and a media room and a mud room then, by all means, go live in some soulless exurbian shithole. But don't bitch about the traffic—all those other people clogging the roads made the same idiotic choice you did. You have no one to blame but each other for a lifestyle dominated by cars and for your husband's two-hour commute.

And check out this winner from the article:

Christine Obenberger was living in Menomonee Falls, Wis., a suburb of Milwaukee, when her husband said he wanted to move on with his career in high-tech security systems, to greater opportunities someplace else.

Almost immediately, he got a job offer with a sizable raise in Phoenix. "So I jumped on the Internet and was trying to research the area," Ms. Obenberger said, "when suddenly, this box popped up asking me to take a survey on the best place for us to live. It took me about 20 minutes and gave me a list of 20 potential cities. To my surprise, three-fourths of them were in Texas."

Austin she rejected as being too liberal. Houston seemed too hot. So she started looking at the Dallas area, going for the best combination of highly rated schools and lower-than-average house prices. "And I kept coming back to Frisco, which I'd never heard of before," she said.

On July 1, she, her husband and their two children moved into their new house in the Lone Star Ranch development on Frisco's west side. "I got twice the house for the same price, half the property taxes and better schools," she said. "And politically, I feel a lot more at home here."

Look, conservative or not, who the fuck chooses where they live this way? If people really rate where they live entirely by fucking test results on the internet that measure house prices and school scores I can only hope their goddamn commutes swallow them up.
8:59 PM