This week, Al Hsu's The Suburban Christian collided with Wendell Berry in my head.
Berry, discussing farming, says, "We need to confront honestly the issue of scale. Bigness has a charm and a drama that are seductive...but bigness promotes greed, indifference, and damage, and often bigness is not necessary."
Hsu feels convicted that most American homes give each occupant 718 square feet of space, while most Canadian homes provide 442 square feet, and Japanese homes offer 170. In other words, he questions the drama of the big house, which often carries with it the drama of a big mortgage payment (and the banks like this kind of theater... why is that?, Hsu questions).
So I wonder... does the big house and the big mortgage do what Berry claims in a different context? Does it promote greed, indifference, and damage? Is the bigness necessary?
Photo by Stefani M. Rossi Used with permission. Berry quote is from p.xi The Way of Ignorance. Hsu summary is from Chapter 2 of TSC.
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NEW LINKS TO THIS POST:
Charity's Me Casa, Me Casa
Maria's Suburbia: A Home of One's Own
Al's Housing Size