Re: Looks still and quiet

1

Sometimes I wonder how all the old people in Florida aren't killed by malaria.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 1:19 PM
horizontal rule
2

Some look more like crop circles than housing developments.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 1:22 PM
horizontal rule
3

2: Old people in South Florida housing developments are aliens.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 1:24 PM
horizontal rule
4

Either there are no mosquitoes in Florida or people have not thought this whole "water feature" thing through.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 1:28 PM
horizontal rule
5

3: Old people in South Florida housing developments are aliens.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 1:29 PM
horizontal rule
6

Jeez, if only Shelly "The Machine" Levine could have gotten a few of those Glengarry leads, all of those empty cul-de-sacs might be full of houses.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 1:31 PM
horizontal rule
7

Flying over parts of Florida gave me a very anxious "that's way too much water for that flat piece of land" feeling.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 1:40 PM
horizontal rule
8

I wonder if, in places where people are willing to live life like Jenga blocks as they do in some of those photos, the houses that are alone or nearly so on huge swaths of divided-but-undeveloped land - I'm thinking of images such as #15 - skyrocket in value when people realize no one is ever going to fill in the rest of that block and the houses that exist are now going to enjoy tremendous privacy?

I mean, "skyrocket" in the context of the larger real estate bubble, etc. I guess in a place with a century of housing lots, though, nothing really skyrockets, ever.

I love these pictures. I'm a sucker for that whole ghost-of-habitation thing.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 2:08 PM
horizontal rule
9

Less wistfully, won't it be great when sea levels rise three feet or so and all those people try to drive over top of one another to get to where we live?


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 2:12 PM
horizontal rule
10

Old people in South Florida housing developments are aliens.

No, they're "pheezers," freaky geezers.

(From Rudy Rucker's Software:)

"Too many old people. It was the same population bulge that had brought the baby boom of the forties and fifties, the youth revolution of the sixties and seventies, the massive unemployment of the eighties and nineties. Now the inexorable peristalsis of time had delivered this bolus of humanity into the twenty-first century as the greatest load of old people any society had ever faced.
None of them had any money . . . the Gimmie had run out of Social Security back in 2010. There'd been hell to pay. A new kind of senior citizen was out there. Pheezers: freaky geezers.
To stop the rioting, the Gimmie had turned the whole state of Florida over to the pheezers. There was no rent there, and free weekly food drops. The pheezers flocked there in droves, and "did their own thing." Living in abandoned motels, listening to their crummy old music, and holding dances like it was 1963, for God's sake."
Actually, I wish the Tea Partiers were even remotely this freaky.
Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 2:33 PM
horizontal rule
11

10: Sounds like the Giant Eagle, except there "doing their own thing" is blocking the aisle while they decide on what type of soup to get.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 2:36 PM
horizontal rule
12

Which isn't the same thing at all, but it does make it hard to shop quickly.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 2:37 PM
horizontal rule
13

Photo number 8 has like 30 goddamn dicks.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 2:47 PM
horizontal rule
14

Reclaiming land like that can be clever and beautiful. Me, I would be tempted to get a whole peninsular cul-de-sac to myself and dig a moat... except I remember having alligators in the backyard, and also my family gave up on Florida when the lakebeds were on fire, they were proposing to pump sewage into the exhausted aquifers, and solar panels on the roof were declared against code.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 4:12 PM
horizontal rule
15

I recall this from my trip to Orlando last year - you could see huge reflecting shallow lakes everywhere during the approach.

Also, one of the telling things about the satellite photos is that these places make sense (vaguely) from a car. Nicely laid out curves and turnoffs. It's only from above that the weird becomes apparent.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 4:55 PM
horizontal rule
16

It's only from above that the weird becomes apparent

And the city planner and the developer laughed and laughed, 'cuz they'd drawn the maps.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 5:00 PM
horizontal rule
17

10: and I hope Rudy is sorry, because Social Security is just fine in the year of our Lord 2010, and did he give the faintest thought to what free food and no rent in FL would cost, and, well, thanks for pushing out the talking points!


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 5:03 PM
horizontal rule
18

15: It's only from above that the weird becomes apparent.

I'm not so sure about that. I haven't been to Florida, but I've been in housing developments in other states not unlike the ones pictured. They're still weird at ground level. Like how you drive along at 50 mph on a big county road, make a harrowing left-hand turn in through a little gate (all the houses having their backs to you) and suddenly you're in this weird, twisty maze of housing and pretend lakes, where everything is squished together and identical. It looks really, really absurd to my eyes, even from a car. When you actually try to get out and walk around in it, you're in dissociative Hunter S. Thompson territory pretty quick.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 5:04 PM
horizontal rule
19

You probably share my heart felt joy at seeing a nice grid, with the main streets every mile.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 5:09 PM
horizontal rule
20

18: true, that. I remember baby gated communities off the A30 in Surrey where the gate faced onto a major road with a 60mph limit. HST's advice on turning up the offramp with the police on your tail would have been relevant.

Also, election canvassing these places is an enormous pain in the arse, for the same reasons as fibre deployment is. March-mileage per citizen too high, numbers too high to ignore/trench mileage per subscriber too high, total too high to ignore.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 5:27 PM
horizontal rule
21

20: The Harmonized Sales Tax is giving advice on losing the fuzz? Those wily Canadians really are Scots at heart.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 6:02 PM
horizontal rule
22

I grew up in a Miami-area neighborhood not unlike the example in photos 21 or 22 (the shape of the cul-de-sacs was neither as linear as the former nor as circular as the latter, though the rest looks identical). My family moved in to a newly built development in the early 90's when I was very young, seeking space; the experience of living there indeed bears out one's worst suppositions. After a few years of outdoor-oriented enthusiasm - the "first generation" of the development's life - everyone, rather simultaneously, retreated indoors, to their computers and TVs, where they remain. My parents still live there. The lake water grows gradually more stagnant and malarial as the stocked fish begin to die and their ecosystem collapses.

It's worth saying something about the demographics, though. At least in the Miami-Dade outer suburbs, there are almost no old people at all, instead a vast preponderance of young immigrant or second-generation Hispanic families. My particular area was majority-Colombian and very genuinely middle-class, with very few households making above $80k and few making below $30k. Like lots of outer suburbs across the country, it could be quite an interesting culturally place if the spatial factors were't so poisonous for public life.


Posted by: Angela Lurkel | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 7:14 PM
horizontal rule
23

Angela Lurkel

Heh.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 7:15 PM
horizontal rule
24

When I lived on Treasure Island in SF I thought of it as the ultimate suburb; no stores, no nothing but very, very cheap cookie-cutter housing (former Navy family housing) and if you wanted to get literally anywhere you had to take the on-ramp right turn at the stop sign onto the Bay Bridge. The exit off the bridge, from the left lane, was a 15mph exit, and they meant it.

Then, if you did hop in your car to go someplace, the nearest place you could possibly go to shop was downtown San Francisco, followed closely by downtown Oakland. Very, very odd.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-30-10 7:23 PM
horizontal rule
25

@1, and this: The lake water grows gradually more stagnant and malarial as the stocked fish begin to die and their ecosystem collapses.

I think the answer is probably the same as for northern Australia - people don't get malaria because of a surprisingly energetic public health effort, actually...


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 10- 1-10 2:42 AM
horizontal rule
26

A bunch of comments there of people going "How horrible to live so densely."


Posted by: David | Link to this comment | 10- 1-10 4:54 AM
horizontal rule
27

26: Some here, too.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 1-10 5:23 AM
horizontal rule
28

dammit, sifu, how did you live on treasure island? I didn't even really know that was an option. well, I never could have lived there because I can't drive, but still. well, I guess I would get boyfriends to drive me places on motorcycles, like usual. but why was I never invited to a party there (generally, not at your house per se)?


Posted by: alameida, who has rather a strong opinion | Link to this comment | 10- 1-10 7:41 AM
horizontal rule
29

28: it wasn't really an option until '98 or so when they got tired of having the whole island empty; they rented the bigger warehouse/old airport buildings out to film studios, the barracks and some of the family housing was (is) used for transitional programs for homeless people and then, out of ideas, they just rented the rest of the family housing to whomever. If you were there from '98 on I don't know why you didn't go to a party there; it was a terrific, if freezing place to have parties, since (a) it wasn't really policed in the usual sense and (b) all of the units had backyards and obviously (c) the views were insane. New Year's 2000 as seen from TI was quite something. It was also an excellent place to grow pot as the units weren't separately metered, which dovetailed neatly with my prior point about parties. It also had ample parking; combine those three points and the place was pretty much full of burners, growers, hackers, and various other less-stylish SF weirdos. It was fun, in a way, but the built environment was so bland, and the island so isolated from, like, stores or street life or anything, that it ended up being kind of alienating and unhappy. Sort of a prison camp for freaks.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 1-10 7:52 AM
horizontal rule
30

18: Also, at least around here, anything planned with that layout is recent enough that there aren't many trees or not big ones, in a way that always looks wrong and sad to me.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10- 1-10 7:54 AM
horizontal rule
31

29: My dad really liked being on Treasure Island. But this was in 195? and he was in the Navy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 1-10 8:00 AM
horizontal rule
32

31: my experience may have been influenced by concomitant events in my personal life.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 1-10 8:02 AM
horizontal rule
33

Probably my dad's opinion was influenced by the fact that Treasure Island was not in Korea.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 1-10 8:03 AM
horizontal rule
34

Yeah, I mean, as a Navy base, it must have been top notch. As a neighborhood, it's a little weird.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 1-10 8:06 AM
horizontal rule
35

29: I'm beginning to see where William Gibson got the idea from...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 1-10 8:29 AM
horizontal rule
36

35: the other way 'round, if anything. Virtual Light came out in '94.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 1-10 8:33 AM
horizontal rule
37

A good point and well made.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 1-10 8:34 AM
horizontal rule