Monday, March 8, 2010

Blog post changed America

Today's post takes off on another article from the AJC - we'll chalk it up as a coincidence and not a trend. 

I decided to spend the extra time taking the train in to work today and finally read an article that I've kept putting off for a while since the headline intrigued me so much (of course you may have noticed on this site that I have low standards for headlines considering the ones I've used in the past.) This article was titled "Doraville subdivision changed America."

Wait for it....wait for must be wondering how a subdivision in Georgia could have changed America, right? (Ok, maybe I'm the only one.) Did someone invent some new type of cul-de-sac there? Maybe it led to a lawsuit or a major Supreme Court case. Anyway, I decided to read this article and I ended up a little disappointed. Why? Let's make a small list:
  1. So this subdivision (Northwoods) was the first large-scale planned development in Georgia. Alright - that's a notable claim despite the dubious honors that Atlanta has gotten from suburbs spreading like kudzu around here.
  2. Apparently some local & state officials are seeking to make this community a historic landmark because of its ranch houses and "a vision of what suburban community living could be."
Let me stop right there for a moment. I understand the importance of post-WWII residential development but once you give Levittown a historic designation shouldn't we have this category pretty much covered already? I'm sure this community is a very nice one but historic...not too certain about that. Yes, it would be good to capture the architectural elements that were used there and study how the community's social ties develop but where do we draw the line at historic? Looking at the official designation from the state's criteria (since there is a state list and a national list), I guess this community could be considered historic but I'm still not sure it sits well in my mind.

I say let's not hand out these historic designations like candy but if they want the sign let them have it (especially considering the ~30,000 national designations given out each year.) If I live in this area and want to modify my lovely little ranch house it would be a bit trickier with the requirements that come with the national designation though.

So those were my thoughts - if you have some let me know in the Comments section. Other than giving me some food for thought this morning one more positive benefit from this article is the introduction of a new tag category on the PlanMetro blog: Only in Georgia. I bet I'll get to use it a fair amount in the future.

P.S. Apparently the folks at the AJC realized there was a slight letdown from headline to content so they changed the title of the article to "Doraville subdivision preserves American turning point." Might have skipped over this one entirely if that was the headline I originally saw though. Thanks to the AJC for giving me a valuable and practical lesson in writing headlines.

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