Tag: geography

American Architectural Geography: Part 1, Timing

 

Last winter, Ricochet’s own @thelostdutchman published a great series about Pennsylvania political geography. Being something of a geography geek myself (the map-loving kind, not the critical-theory-spouting kind), I thought I’d try my hand at writing something a tad less detailed and a tad more ambitious — a brief description of American architectural geography.

Finding data which says something meaningful about architecture is not an easy task, perhaps because architecture is an art, and art isn’t quantifiable. But, still, the statistical gods have smiled upon us Americans. In 1940, the Census Bureau decided, for the first time, to ask detailed questions about American housing. As the libertarians winced, homeowners and renters filled out a questionnaire inquiring about such subjects as property values, housing size, mechanical systems (like heating, plumbing, and electricity), and, best of all, housing age. The data is aggregated by county and city (and farm and non-farm), and it’s organized, roughly, by decade — with a category for houses built before 1860, one for houses built in the 1860s and 1870s, one for houses built in the 1880s, and so on. This means that the interested obsessive (like me) can gain some understanding of any one county’s architectural chronology. Is the data accurate? Not entirely. Self-reported data is seldom accurate. But it’s accurate enough to show trends. I’ve done plenty of spot-checking, and the data usually aligns with what I’ve observed. The picture it paints is a meaningful one.

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Pardon my amateur city planning geekiness but testing a theory here. The source is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MehKgIcoj6o&feature=share …wherein an anthropologist got curious about why the eastern parts of cities were (broadly speaking) so often assigned to the under-privileged. It struck him that factory and railroad emissions usually drifted that way, because, ya know… the spin of the earth. […]

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People wonder all the time why various groups of people do better than other groups of people economically. Some people say its climate. Other people says its religion or ethnic group but those variables fail in explaining economic success. Flat out. It happens to all of us. But before I get into my reasons for […]

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As I stated in Brian’s thread about the South’s heritage, the Rebel flag remains the only universally recognized symbol for Southern culture and any symbol that replaced it would be decried as racist as well. Many people cannot consider the South apart from the Confederate States of America or segregation history. That’s their problem. But let’s […]

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