Social media has a way of drilling into your likes and shares. I did one google search for a non-stick omelet pan before the holidays, and throughout Christmas, my feed was full of reviews and advertisements for the latest pan endorsed by a celebrity chef.
This article was written by Edward Erfurt and originally published by Strong Towns.
With my work at Strong Towns and passion for urbanism, my social media feed is usually full of sales advertisements from the latest production builder selling their latest home. These advertisements are produced and brought to us from the same advertising companies selling new cars, and each ad I receive has flashy images from places with names that allude to Americana or prosperity. They paint a picture of the alternative reality you will have with the purchase of their product.
A little slice of the very best of everything is captured into a simple image to obtain the maximum reach. All of these advertisements showcase a hodgepodge of market research of architectural design that has been value engineered to match the current housing interest rates. The pictures in these advertisements are glossy, but upon closer inspection, you can begin to see how traditional architectural styles and patterns have been distorted.
My friend John Anderson recently shared a markup of the latest model from a national builder that arrived in his social media feed:
This is a brilliant critique, and what I like most about it is that it is constructive. Implementation of any one of these recommendations would not only result in a better-looking house, but these recommendations are also either budget neutral or could actually reduce construction costs.
I am not disillusioned and I do not believe this image will compel a national builder to change their product type. However, I do believe that this type of critique is important for non-architects, such as private builders and incremental developers, in offering better homes.