Sunday, December 16, 2007

In dense block housing . . . (part 1)

Both Chip and I have lived in dense housing out of the country; him in college in Vienna in dormitory housing, me in graduate school in Paris in a residential tower. We keep telling each other that, aside from the fact that we’re in the center of L.A., with it’s legendary lack of center and reputation for sprawl, the experience of living in our tower at Park LaBrea echoes some of our experiences in the European block housing set-up (which is losing it’s stigma and catching-on as an appealing form of housing in the US , as it has been in other country besides the US for over fifty years.) This means a few things:

1) In dense block housing you interact with your neighbors.
This isn’t always a good thing. I live next to a big fat man who eats Dominoe’s pizza for every single meal and blares his schlock action films every night. There’s a pack of noisy kids too on my floor (at the other end of the hall, thank God), and if someone’s cooking greasy fish or cabbage, you’re gonna whiff it too. On the other hand, the idea of actually living in close proximity to other people – which is arguably the definition of “city” – is a completely refreshing lifestyle change after living in Los Angeles for most of our adult lives.

2) In dense block housing you must be much more aware of your trash.
Trash builds up quick in the dumpsters in the basement; and by the end of the weekend it can be fairly pungent in the depths of the towers. That’s a fact of life in dense living. Ask a New Yorker. Here’s the solution: use smaller trash bags and take the trash out more frequently; use the trash chutes on your floor of the tower so that you don’t have to venture down into the smelly dark rooms with the dumpsters in the basement. I learned that one in gay Par-ee.

3) In dense block housing you are close to groceries, gym, parks & other commercial establishments.
We walk to get all of our groceries, we walk to breakfast at Farmer’s Market on Sundays, we walk to movies at the Grove, I ride my bike to my job, I run in Pan Pacific Park, etc., etc. I buy less gasoline too. And I’m losing weight. Heee!

4) In dense block housing you do more walking.
From your car, to the front gate, down the hall, up the stairs, back to the car. This is a good thing in my book. See the losing weight part above.

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