Suburbia; Apartment Style
BJM 01 - 28 - 2010

I have always had the idea that all of Europe was highly populated vibrant communities. People use public transportation whenever possible and cars are used only by a handful of people. Most buildings are mixed use and all are surrounded by vibrant street life. Maybe these expectations were too high but they have not been fully met. Large portions of the cities do meet these expectations. We usually spend most of our time in these portions as they are geared more toward the tourist population and are centered around the city's more prominent landmarks. But these are large cities and their population has to live somewhere; so where do they live? The same place our cities populations do; the suburbs. The suburbs of Europe are very similar and yet very different from our American version. They were developed as a location for the lower class to live at a more affordable rate, as opposed to our suburbs filled with the wealthier of the community who wish to live away from the city center. The biggest most crucial difference seems to be the scale of the suburban buildings. The European suburbs are usually composed of low-rise apartments, quite different from our single family home with lawn counterparts. Apartment style living seems to be a step in the right direction. The main issue is that these apartments are built in much the same fashion as our subdivisions are built. They are entirely dedicated to residential use with the commercial realm entirely neglected. These European suburbs could have a rather easy fix to their suburban problems. All that would be needed is the integration of commercial venues into the ground floors. Not only would this add more life to the street it would also begin to eliminate some of the vehicular transportation woes. By doing this, the city itself, in all its vibrancy, would begin to grow and expand creating a more succesful urban environment. The first image shows a diagram of the issue at hand. The second image is an example of succesful mixed use in Sevilla.

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