Austin recently started conversion of its old Mueller airport into a housing development. There are some things right about it: mixed use, public space. But the actual houses are crazy. Look at this photo:
Note that it has huge stand-alone houses that almost completely cover the available space. The alleys are a nice touch, but they aren't very efficient in terms of space. The houses are so close together that you could almost reach out one window and touch the other building.
Consider this analogous random chunk of suburban London. The houses are touching! But that leaves more room for a back yard.
Maybe its just me, but I would rather have my house touch my neighbor's house and have some open space. Having the houses touch actually gives more room for windows that you want to look out. The American style might have more windows, but there is less view.
I am not sure exactly who to blame... It could be the American architects, planners, and builders. It is partly their fault. But in the end they build what American buyers want to buy. And those buyers are not very rational, I fear.
Is there anything we can do?
The Ultimate Honda
9 months ago