6. Mixed Socio-Economic Neighborhoods

As election season is upon us, you will no doubt hear many heated arguments in favor of one candidate or another.  When the topic is brought up among architects, the flow of the conversation trends to the candidate’s position on social and economic problems.  How a candidate feels about city beautification, or what the candidate’s plan is for infrastructure and public transit are top priorities for architects.

A big point of contention between architects and the general public is the creation of diverse socio-economic neighborhoods.  Architects, being the idealists they are, favor this arrangement.  They argue that such neighborhoods are healthy and encourage community interaction between the most unlikely of neighbors.  They also believe that most low income families prefer to live in tiny homes clad in corrugated aluminum, while their richer counterparts live in slightly larger homes, though still clad with aluminum.  After all, these are the types of dwellings that architects design for such mixed neighborhoods, and who can contest the ideas of an architect?

“There will be parks, and a community center where all neighbors meet for picnics and birthday parties!  There will be a farmers market where the ‘less privileged’ neighbors can sell their wares to the elite ones next door.  Crime is non-existent in such mixed neighborhoods because the wealthy inhabitants take it upon themselves to educate those who are ignorant of the laws.  It’s a genuine utopia, with pristine streets, lush landscaping and cute houses tucked beside mixed use plazas.  Everyone lives in harmony!”

Once you have encountered an architect who monologues about this topic, you’ll be quite shocked to hear what they say when asked if they would like to move into the developing neighborhood down the road a bit.

“Live there?  You want me to live there?  Oh, no…I like economic diversity within a given area and all…just not my area.  I like my [all white, middle-class] neighborhood just as it is.”

Please don’t mess it up.

“But I’d be happy to design one!”

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