Tuesday, September 27, 2005


It's too large to be practical. It's out of place among the things around it. It's made for a small cost and sold for a big one. It looks a lot like every other one ever made. And it's popping up everywhere.

It's not a retail chain, a mega mall, or a fast food restaurant. It's a McMansion.

The term "McMansion" came into use in America in the 1980's, after these ubiquitous oversized houses began popping up in neighborhoods across the nation. What, exactly, is a McMansion? Also referred to, in the same vein of sarcasm, as a tract mansion or a starter castle, McMansions are a style of oversized house, built with mass-produced quality, usually adorned with a cookie-cutter style of "traditional" features such as gates, gables, and wrap-around porches. In spite of the variance of the individual features, all McMansions have a tendency to look alike, which helps spawn the derogatory attitude they tend to inspire. People also dislike them because of the fact that they are built hastily and haphazardly, with no real regard for the environment, the lay of the land, individual tastes, or, most importantly, the historic value of a particular neighborhood.

McMansions- the elegant estate in a to-go box- are popping up in neighborhoods all over America. And in some areas, it's becoming a real problem.

With the size of American homes increasing in alarming rates over the past few years, people have to realize that all of these big houses must be going somewhere. Although in the early days there were often separate communities for this type of housing- often on the edge of a town, and featuring a gate, a playground, and a manufactured stream- nowadays there is less space and a McMansion can very well be plopped down in the middle of any neighborhood where land is available.

Some cities are fighting back. Suburbs around Detroit, MI and Dallas, TX are fighting the tract mansion boom particularly hard. Citizens in those cities, and in other cities whose historic neighborhoods are being affected by the building of these ever-larger homes, are lobbying the government to pass regulations preventing the tearing down of smaller, older houses in order to build something so out of keeping with the rest of the neighborhood.

In the meantime, as more of these ubiquitous mansions continue to appear, neighborhoods are changing face, lots are becoming too crowded, and old cities are losing their charm. The more McMansions that are built, the more alike they become- after all, there's only so many ways to arrange a porch and three gables. It might have been okay when it was all within one gated community. But now, there's a problem: they're spreading.





Dobler Consulting Inc
2339 Warwick Dr
FL 34677
United States

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