Home vs. House

Home vs. House

Jonathan B.
Feb 8, 2008

What happens when a real estate company asks kids to describe how they think of home? Home is a place for memories and family -- not so much a material space, but more of a place created in the mind. Why do we think this is interesting?

As Carol Lloyd writes in this San Francisco Chronicle piece about the findings of the contest, the connection between home and homeownership usually goes unquestioned -- the assumption is that whatever the problem, homeownership is the answer. (This attitude is apparent in the design of the poster Coldwell Banker targeted to elementary school students, where individual houses are prominently featured and an apartment building is cropped out of the frame.) Similarly, rental housing gets neglected in policy and people who live in rentals are framed in the media being as less than fully American.

When the question comes around to what's green, the answer is clear: those who live in rental housing tend to use less energy, generate less trash, and have shorter commutes to work than their counterparts in single family homes. So why not build rentals that have the same benefits as single-family homes? A rental that's well-built, quiet, and has easy access to the outdoors should be every bit as appealing as a brand new house on the suburban fringe.

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