“If the City of Boulder railroads their home size limits, we may have to move.” Is the regulation of house-flippin’ McMansioners (and a few folks who just want big homes) un-American?

Via elephant journal
on Sep 17, 2009
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The complete tweet that inspired this post: “@PQBoulder If the City of Boulder railroads their home size limits, we may have to move. Too bad ego and insecurity play such big roles.”

house home square feet mcmansion

Is it a case of Big Brother—or good ol’fashioned green common sense—for Boulder to limit the construction huge homes?

Boulder, Colorado and the Case of the Ever-Expanding Home.

Why do we need huge homes? In 1970, only four years before I was born, 1,400 sq ft was America’s national average. My green-renovated Victorian, “Hotelephant,” in downtown Boulder, Colorado, built in 1904, is 2,100 square feet—it feels big, and yet is less than half the size of your average “McMansion.”

Do we need super-sized homes? Why? If you got five dogs, two parrots and a Kennedy-size family, okay. But if not…why don’t you give a go at giving a care about the next seven generations? Hear about this thing called “green?” It’s not just a fad: it’s about living a good life that also happens to be good for others, and our planet. Living a responsible, yet meaningful and fun life. You can do that in 2,100 square feet, I promise you—and studies have shown that, no matter the size of your home, the vast majority of your time is spent in just one or two rooms.

Disagree? Fine. Let me know why in the comments section, below. Always happy to have a dialogue!

Via the Daily Camera:


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8 Responses to ““If the City of Boulder railroads their home size limits, we may have to move.” Is the regulation of house-flippin’ McMansioners (and a few folks who just want big homes) un-American?”

  1. Via FB:
    Tyson: It's hard to make people see the light, it's kind of
    un-American if you will. Kind of the dilemma of democracy, especially if that democracy is representing a consumption based society.

    Waylon Lewis: Sure, as a society we've got some strange mores. But where do we as individuals get off explaining, rationalizing a 5K or more square foot home? Honest question: I don't get it.

  2. Via FB:
    Erin: If someone wants to build their 5K sq. ft. dream home, I'm all for it…as long as they can make a sound argument in a 75 page proposal that outlines preciously what the hell they need all that space for. Unless part of it will serve as an orphanage, community center, or free clinic – I don't get it either.

    Kim: As my boss, Eric Doub, says: "Huge homes will become refugee camps when California falls into the ocean." Humorous but hopefully never the case, right?

    Truth is, you really never know what these monster homes will become in the long run. Not that I'm advocating building huge homes as a rule…I myself never would (or could). But, look at Capitol Hill in Denver. Most of the housing stock in that great little neighborhood are historic mansions that have been converted to apartments. They are beautiful, solidly-built beasts that continue to evolve and serve a purpose. It's important to have a long view of development. What we should be advocating more is ensuring these homes are of quality in terms of energy efficiency, the ability to withstand nature's forces, and the ability to transform as the demographics change. Cities change, it's both inevitable AND okay.

  3. Well, as a hipster who does own a home, I don't want my neighbors on either side to be able to build McMansions. Not that they would—because they're neighbors. Still, in my 'hood, the West end of The Hill, there's a fair number of absentee owners who would be happy to expand their home to make more money…because they don't live there and don't particularly care about neighbor impacts.

    Another comment via FB:
    Tyson SpeerI agree that houses nowadays are too big and not built very well, but creating legislation telling people the size they are allowed to build is not really the job of the government.

  4. JoanaSmith says:

    I think building a huge home for yourself is irresponsible and also sort of a metaphor for how distanced we have gotten from each other as a culture (gets awfully lonely in there…). But I think it's also a trend, and somehow it's easier to mindlessly follow trends than to restrain yourself and think about what's good for the earth: our culture of consumption, we're trained well. If you see your rich friends from the country club and the beautiful people on tv and movies with uber-huge homes and you have the cash, why wouldn't you? People are blind to the collective cost of their selfish actions (spend, spend, spend!). Who will show them a better way?

  5. MattMakowski says:

    I couldn't have said it better, Osman. A well thought out analysis.

  6. […] FAR: green or Big Brother, or both? It’s our latest entry in the oppressive socialistic Boulder environmentalists vs. McMansion house-flippers greed vs. green fest. […]

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