Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The McMansion Is the Big Mac of Suburbia

The McMansion Is the Big Mac of Suburbia McMansion is a derogatory term for a large, showy neo-eclectic architectural style home, usually built by a developer without the guidance of an architects custom design. The word McMansion was coined in the 1980s by architects and architecture critics in response to the many over-sized, poorly designed, expensive homes being built in American suburbs. The word McMansion is cleverly derived from the name McDonalds, the fast food chain restaurant. Think about what is offered under the golden arches of McDonalds  - big, fast, tasteless food. McDonalds is known for mass producing super-sized everything in huge quantities.  So, a McMansion is the Big Mac hamburger of architecture - mass produced, quickly built, generic, bland, and unnecessarily large. The McMansion is part of the McDonaldization of Society. Features of a McMansion A McMansion has many of these characteristics: (1) over-sized in proportion to the building lot, which is usually a defined space in a suburban neighborhood; (2) poorly proportioned placement of windows, doors, and porches; (3) excessive use of gabled roofs or a bizarre mixture of roof styles; (4) poorly planned mixture of architectural details and ornamentation borrowed from a variety of historical periods; (5) abundant use of vinyl (e.g., siding, windows) and artificial stone; (6) unpleasing combinations of many different siding materials; (7) atria, great rooms, and other grand open spaces that are rarely used; and (8) quickly constructed using mix-and-match details from a builders catalog. McMansion is a snarky word used to describe a certain type of house, for which there is no absolute definition. Some people use the word to describe an entire neighborhood of overly large houses. Other people use the word to describe an individual house of new construction, more than 3,000 square feet, that has replaced a more modest house on the same lot. A very large house in a neighborhood of mid-century modest homes would look disproportional. A Symbol of Economic Status Is the McMansion anything new? Well, yes, sort of. McMansions are unlike the mansions of yesteryear. In the Gilded Age of America, many people became very wealthy and built opulent homes - usually a city dwelling and a country house, or cottage as the Newport, Rhode Island mansions are called. In the early 20th century, large, rambling homes were built in Southern California for people in the movie industry. No doubt, these homes are objects of excess. Generally, however, they are not considered McMansions because they were individually built by people who really could afford them. For example, Biltmore Estate, often called the largest private home in the United States, was never a McMansion because it was designed by a well-known architect and built by moneyed people on many, many acres of land. Hearst Castle,  William Randolph Hearsts estate in  San Simeon, California, and Bill and Melinda Gates 66,000 square foot house, Xanadu 2.0, are not McMansions for similar reasons. These are mansions, plain and simple. McMansions are a type of wannabe mansion, built by upper-middle class people with enough down payment money to show off their economic status. These homes are usually highly mortgaged to people who can afford the monthly interest payment, but who have obvious disregard for architectural aesthetics. They are trophy homes. The leveraged McMansion becomes a status symbol, then - a business tool that depends on property appreciation (i.e., natural price increase) to make money. McMansions are real estate investments instead of architecture. Reaction to McMansions Many people love McMansions. Likewise, many people love McDonalds Big Macs. That doesnt mean theyre good for you, your neighborhood, or society. Historically, Americans have rebuilt their communities every 50 to 60 years. In the book Suburban Nation, Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and Jeff Speck tell us that its not too late to untangle the mess.  The authors are pioneers in the rapidly growing movement known as New Urbanism. Duany and Plater-Zyberk launched the groundbreaking Congress for the New Urbanism which strives to promote the creation of pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods. Jeff Speck is the director of town planning at Duany Plater-Zyberk Co. The firm is noted for designing pristine communities such as Seaside, Florida, and Kentlands, Maryland. McMansions are not in their visions for America. Old-fashioned neighborhoods with walkable roads and corner shops may seem idyllic, but New Urbanist philosophies are not universally embraced. Critics say that pretty communities like Kentlands, Maryland, and Seaside, Florida, are as isolated as the suburbs they try to replace. Moreover, many New Urbanist communities are considered pricey and exclusive, even when they arent filled with McMansions. Architect Sarah Susanka, FAIA, became famous by rejecting McMansions and the notion of what she calls starter castles. She has created a cottage industry by preaching that space should be designed to nurture the body and soul and not to impress the neighbors. Her book, The Not So Big House, has become a textbook for 21st-century living. More rooms, bigger spaces, and vaulted ceilings do not necessarily give us what we need in a home, writes Susanka. And when the impulse for big spaces is combined with outdated patterns of home design and building, the result is more often than not a house that doesnt work. Kate Wagner has become the go-to critic of the McMansion form. Her commentary website called McMansion Hell is a clever, snarky personal assessment of the house style. In a local TED talk, Wagner rationalizes her animosity by suggesting that in order to avoid bad design, one must recognize bad design - and McMansions have a plethora of opportunities to hone ones critical thinking skills. Before the economic downturn of 2007, McMansions proliferated like mushrooms in a field. In 2017 Kate Wagner was writing about The Rise of the McModern -  McMansions persist.  Perhaps its a byproduct of a capitalistic society. Perhaps its the notion that you get what you pay for - small houses can cost as much to build as larger houses, so how do we rationalize living in tiny homes?   I believe, concludes Sarah Susanka, that the more people put their money where their hearts are, the more others will realize the validity of building for comfort, and not prestige. Source The Not So Big House by Sarah Susanka with Kira Obolensky, Taunton, 1998, pp. 3, 194

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Asians And Census 2000 Essays - Organization Of Chinese Americans

Asians And Census 2000 Essays - Organization Of Chinese Americans Asians And Census 2000 There are numerous reasons why full participation is in the Census 2000 is important to the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. The estimated undercount of the Asian Pacific Islander community in 1990 was 2.3%. Because census data is the basis for almost all demographic information used by policy makers, educators, and community leaders, undercounted communities miss out on their fair share of federal funding for services, adequate governmental representation, and enforcement of civil rights laws that prevent discrimination. An undercount prevents government and other agencies from planning for and implementing culturally and linguistically appropriate services for the Asian Pacific Islander community. (U.S. Census Bureau) Unfortunately, the Asian Pacific Islander community is at risk for a high undercount in the upcoming census. Undercounts tend to be high in communities in which there are language barriers, resistance to outsiders, suspicion of government, disbelief of census confidentiality, non-traditional household living arrangements, irregular housing, large numbers of children, large proportions of renters, and among people or families who are highly mobile. (U.S. Census Bureau) One important reason for full participation by Asian American and Pacific Islander communities is the need for adequate governmental representation. Reapportionment occurs after every census, which is when political districts are reconfigured to reflect changes in the population. When Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are not counted, they are not assigned the correct number of representatives. It is important that they have a voice in the government. There is a need for political empowerment among the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, and that can happen only when there is accurate representation, which is the result of an accurate census count. Another important reason for the full participation of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities is the need for community funding. Hundreds of billions of dollars in federal, state, and county funding are allocated each year on the basis of census information. This money is used to support schools, employment services, housing assistance, hospital services, programs for the elderly and disabled, child care, substance abuse prevention, battered womans shelters, and transportation. If there is not an accurate count, the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities will lose out on millions of dollars for community funding. Census information is also used to identify areas that require assistance in languages other than English. For example, it is used to determine whether bilingual material is needed during elections. It also helps government agencies serve the needs of limited English proficient people in education, health care, police and emergency services. This is very important for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders that speak a language other than English, especially in terms of bilingual voting documents, which allow them to participate in the political process. Fortunately, many efforts are being made to ensure that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are not undercounted in the next census. An Asian Pacific Islander Census 2000 Task Force was formed to organize community education around Census 2000. Community education materials are being translated into the numerous Asian Pacific Islander languages. Bilingual enumerators are being recruited to reach out to non-responding households. These proactive measures will help ensure a more accurate count for Census 2000, which will greatly benefit the Asian American and Asian Pacific Islander communities.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Concept of Corporate Personality Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 2250 words

The Concept of Corporate Personality - Essay Example But over time, the concept was gradually given to all sorts of organizations engaged in commercial ventures such as trading companies, consortia for roadway construction projects, groups formed to undertake public infrastructure but funded by a private group of individuals (Hoffman 18) and the so-called parastatals or government-owned corporations. The category of parastatal can mean also a state-owned enterprise (SOE) which is similar to government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs). Either, both are formed specifically to operate in commercial ventures but with a public-interest nature in them such as building bridges, tollways, waterworks and sewerage systems which affect the entire community rather than just a small group of people. An SOE or GOCC is, therefore, the same as a private stock company in terms of issuing shares of stocks but only in this instance, the state either holds all the shares or a majority thereof. As a stock company, it has an inherent obligation to give a decent return on investment (ROI) to its investors from the tolls or tax revenues it is able to raise by virtue of being a stock company; UK laws often require golden shares retained (Mahoobi 107). Because the law now allows an organization like a commercial corporation to acquire a legal personality separate from the personalities of the members who formed a corporation, it has created a new but extremely important legal technicality. With this concept of a separate personality, the corporation separately on its own can acquire or buy assets and in same way or manner also incur debts in the course of its operations. This gave rise to another concept which is limited liability. This simply means the creditors of a corporation, in the event it goes bankrupt, can run after the assets of that bankrupt corporation in the hope of satisfying debts or credits it had extended to the corporation in the ordinary course of business.