Get Married, Have a Short Commute

Apparently, those are the keys to happiness…

This article (via Planetizen) suggests that human psychology causes us to fundamentally mis-weight the benefits of a larger home versus a shorter commute when making housing choices.

3 responses to “Get Married, Have a Short Commute”

  1. We keep hearing the term “social engineering” used when one describes a townhome, flat, or other form of higher density housing. However, it’s this same “social engineering” that’s used to sell large houses. The “Homes” section (actually written by the advertising departments) of major newspapers comes to mind.

    Not only is there the “extra space when you need it” angle, but there’s also when they try to sell the useless stuff like “custom spackled walls” (which are actually the same for all one thousand houses in the tract) or kitchen appliances with fancy gadgets on them (IMO, a refrigerator is a refrigerator is a refrigerator), or the shade of paint that’ll fade in less than a year anyway. Then there’s added costs of heating and cooling, not to mention the personal time spent cleaning and maintaining the additional space and the yard (or strip of grass) that comes with it. And I haven’t even mentioned homeowners association dues or the fact that around Portland this means that you and your family will be living outside of Portland-proper and will probably get somewhere near zero transit service, the closest grocery store a mile down the road, and a lack of essential services.

  2. The sad reality is that some people LIKE that. Millions of people would be happy to get by fat, happy and dumb driving around from dinner party to the next and never even thinking about the urban issues that you have touched on Jason. Different strokes I guess… or not their problem if you approach it that way as well

  3. What the article actually does is make the case for why congestion pricing is problematic. People’s actual decisions are irrational.

    The round trip from Battle Ground to the airport is about 40 miles each day at a cost of $.50/mile that is $20 per day or about $5000 per year someone is spending to get to and from work. Do you suppose they factor that into the cost of the house in Battleground or the value of that job in Portland. I doubt most people do. Of course some will, and I suppose those are the ones congestion pricing is targeting.

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