Follow

This was posted as "a guy from Slovakia asks questions about US suburban neighborhoods" and the questions themselves are pretty good regardless of who wrote them, but the insecure reactions from US residents were even better

People were replying with "uh, yeah, this must be why Americans are clamoring to move to Slovakia" or "I would hate to raise kids next to a makeshift house-tavern."

Ok but I'm in the suburbs and there is literally nothing to do out here within easy distance. It's just houses and churches. Some people had a food truck, but neighbors complained about the noise and it shut down!

US suburbs were born of scared, paranoid white people, and the same people make them a dreary place to live

I swear, half the people are like "you can't do XYZ with my CHILDREN around," and the other half are like "fuck why are all these children around, being noisy and getting in my way"

I had one oldster neighbor try to get me to call the city on a working family down the road with 4 kids bc they didn't like the dad parking his truck in the street. I told her I don't rat on my neighbors.

although this has given me a good resolution. The next time I need milk, I should just bike down to the store instead of taking my car. I've gotten more used to biking around a little since I started picking up lil guy that way. Why not do it when I just need to pick up a few things

@InternetEh My partner inherited a house and I'm planting hedges that attract BEES all around the edge of the property to keep the neighborhood children away from me.

@InternetEh The kids will refer to us as "stay away from the bee house"

@megabyteGhost @InternetEh

If they're not invasive to your area, plant a bunch of sedum. Bees love that stuff.

Honeysuckle is popular with bees, butterflies and hummingbirds too.

@Nezchan @InternetEh Awesome, thank. I'll look into sedum. I'm not sure about that one.

I do know that we have "coral honeysuckle" which attracts the humming birds, bees, and butterflys.

I think it needs something to latch on to, so I might do an arch to designate stepping from our front yard into our back yard and cover it in coral honeysuckle

@InternetEh the description of hell from The Great Divorce maps onto suburbia almost 1:1, except for the literalness of the perpetual greyness and the lack of material reality

@InternetEh I spent my adolescence in a US suburb itching to get out at the the first opportunity, which I did.

@InternetEh < I mean þese are really good questions ⭐
⭐ I especially love þe last one. Yeah you have all þis fucking land why don't people Do Anyþing wiþ it. Grow someþing not just. Grass??? ⭐

@Paradox it is a pretty common thing to do where I live. I have three raised beds that I built on top of useless grass and grow herbs and veggies with

In other places, there are neighborhood covenants that forbid it, or even local laws. I guess because growing food is unsightly

@InternetEh < its so weird ⭐
⭐ I mean okay I fuckin hate lawns ⭐
⭐ But like. What þe fuck do þey mean its unsightly. Have þey seen like. Idk potato flowers? Like plants are pretty! Þey look good! A million times better þan just Grass þat's not even allowed to grow freely ⭐

@Paradox I agree, but it seems like your yard stands out unless it just has the usual 4-5 ornamental plants that are in every yard

individualism isn't allowed inside or outside. If you paint an actual color and not beige, white or grey, then your property value might dip!! :ohno:

@InternetEh < yeah ⭐
⭐ I mean. It sucks þat "standing out" is someþing bad ⭐
⭐ I realize we pretty much have þe same opinions here I just hate lawns a lot lol ⭐
⭐ Like. Hell even if you don't wanna take care of plants. Maybe a neighbour does and you could let þem take care of food plants in your yard and you boþ get some of þe crops ⭐
⭐ But nope. God forbid þere's no monotony and fresh produce ⭐

@Paradox @InternetEh "A lawn was about power. It was a way for these English elites to show off that they were so wealthy that they didn’t need their land to grow food—they could afford to let their fields go fallow, and could afford to keep grazing animals and scythe-wielding peasants to keep it short."
https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/lawn-order/

@InternetEh @Paradox

In most North American suburbs, nobody grows food in the front yard, aside from the few who might have a fruit tree. That's to be kept in the back, away from the public.

@InternetEh @Paradox

Ironically, one of the most gentrified neighbourhoods in Toronto, Cabbagetown, got its name from the poor Irish who originally lived there, growing the vegetables in their yards and boiling it for supper. The whole neighbourhood smelled of cabbage for a good part of the year.

Now it's valued as the largest continuous area of preserved Victorian housing in North America.

@InternetEh @Paradox Zoning laws AND potentially local laws that dictate what you can and can't do on your own property? Good heavens, that sounds terribly regimented. The idea of America as the land of the Free is seriously misguided. Maybe once upon a time but not anymore.

@InternetEh the main question i had when i saw the layout of suburbs was: why aren't there any footpaths connecting all those backyards?

and one of the answers I found was more terrifying than simply NIMBY:
a lot of them are build on (more or less) drained swamp land, so, good luck

@meena @InternetEh I live in South Florida; can confirm.

Long before I was born the Army Corp of Engineers came in and planted "Melaleuca" trees to suck up all the water. Turns out their extremely invasive, spread fast and everywhere, and release awful smells that are apparently bad for human respiratory systems (I just learned that one).

And they shed their bark which causes a fire hazard which, in the summer, is already a problem.

natural disasters, death 

@meena @InternetEh Oh yeah they have really funked up Florida.

Ernest Hemingway, who lived down in Key West, was frequently butting heads with them because of the things they were doing to FL and he could see "this is not going to be good."

A bunch of people died in the 1928 hurricane, because of them, and he hopped in his boat and saved as many as he could but there was already so much damage :(

@meena @InternetEh There was a proposal for just this near me, a multipurpose bike/walk path behind peoples houses connecting to our amazing park system.

It got NIMBYed to oblivion. I'd be so jealous to have direct access like that to a park.

@InternetEh It's just super awkward getting a long list of questions and having to start every answer with, "So the thing about racism is…"

@InternetEh almost everything weird in the us is because of racism, and this is no exception. suburbs are terrible

@InternetEh I saw the responses on Twitter myself, I bet most of these people that lack that sort of concept known as "object permanence" cannot even tell where it is on a map.

Tee-hee :)

@InternetEh

The bit about grass is especially telling, since almost all lawns in Canada and the US are Kentucky Bluegrass, an invasive species brought over from Europe and is currently a problem in native grasslands. On lawns, it is terrible at sequestering carbon and when you add mowing in those lawns are actually net carbon *producers*, which also do little to halt runoff.

And that's not getting into frequent watering because the roots are shallow or pesticides and fertilizer use.

@InternetEh

The "bowling green" smooth green lawns are a holdover from European status symbols to start with, and were originally *only* a feature on the homes of the wealthy.

US Suburbia, salty 

@InternetEh I relate so much with his points tbh. I'm in a town that's mostly suburban hellscape and part actually cool downtown mixed use and compact zoning. Guess which part was (re)built in the 1860s? It's so walkable and nice, for like a 12 by 6 block radius...

@InternetEh You mean, nobody grows fruits and vegetables in their yard in those neighbourhood?

@InternetEh It makes no sense, they have exchanged common sense, beauty and fun for the cultural hegemony of the upper classes of long ago

@InternetEh In all fairness, when I rented my house in a suburb of the midwest I inmediately planted tomatoes, potatoes, garlic, peas, a hedge of CORN... I was the only one.

@InternetEh as a European, I'd like to add that the US exists for us as a rhetorical 'land of the free'. Faced with onerous government regulations, someone will usually be quick to claim that in the US, people are trusted to sort this out for themselves.

Learning that, at least for the built environment, it's the complete opposite, is quite a revelation.

@InternetEh
We always make jokes about this kind of things when we see USA movies xd And still through the years we've being seing terrified that they're slowly being copied here! F*cking rich wannabes...

Sign in to participate in the conversation
dads.cool

dads.cool is a Mastodon instance for dads, running the Hometown fork of Mastodon.