Recalling Our Basic Pride of Place

In the fifth of his "place-decoding" series from France, Chuck Wolfe recalls how we carry with us the ability to mine pride from place, even in places that are, perhaps, least expected to shine.

2 minute read

October 25, 2014, 9:00 AM PDT

By Charles R. Wolfe @crwolfelaw


PDL_ChuckWolfe03

What do the politics of urban housing have to do with a seasonal caravan park in Provence, asks Wolfe?  

Plenty, he notes, tying current debates about housing affordability in his native Seattle to exemplary illustrations from a manufactured housing community near Fréjus.

Recapping current focus both in Seattle and nationwide on issues such as micro-housing and linkage fees, he suggests that it is time to remember underlying, qualitative issues:

Our political discussions, mired in jargon and positioning, often lose sight of a human pride of place inherent in even the simplest forms of shelter.

He suggests, that when people take pride in where they live, their homes' appearance shows a bonding with the place, often with considered ingenuity. He provides examples from the Domaine du Pin de la Lègue, a 53 year-old caravan park (in American terms, a seasonal manufactured housing community), where, in addition to many "urban" services, there is the "pride of place surrounding the small living spaces in the homes all around, from clever retrofits to landscaping and rockeries befitting the best of single-family neighborhoods":

In the ways called for among some urban redevelopment movements today, small-scale innovation is on display---it's a locale where the plot-basedlean and pop-up urbanism movements of the United Kingdom and the United States merge with some admirable diversity.

Like a neighborhood, notes Wolfe, the homes become nurtured, planted around, and modified in functional ways, without expensive building materials, identities or complex regulatory tools.

Thursday, October 23, 2014 in The Huffington Post

Aerial view of homes on beach in Maui, Hawaii

Hawaii Passes First Legislation Regulating Short-Term Rentals Statewide

The new law will give counties the power to limit number or short-term rentals and convert existing short-term rental units back into long-term residential housing.

May 13, 2024 - USA Today

Google office building in Virginia.

Virginia Data Centers Draining State’s Water Supply

Being the world’s largest data center hub is having a severe impact on local water resources.

May 9, 2024 - Grist

Entrance to a drive-through car wash at night with green 'Enter' sign.

Ohio Towns Move to Ban New Car Washes

City officials in northeast Ohio are putting limits on how many car wash facilities can open in their towns.

May 16, 2024 - News 5 Cleveland

Grand Coulee Dam in Washington state.

Northwest Power Demand Could Surge as Data Centers, Transportation Electrification Ramps Up

New estimates project a steady increase in electricity demand due to population growth, data centers, and the shift to electric power in homes, buildings, and transportation.

May 17 - Governing

Blurred traffic speeding by on freeway with Los Angeles skyline in background.

California Testing Per-Mile Gas Tax Alternatives

A summer pilot program will test the fairness and efficacy of collection mechanisms for mileage-based fee options.

May 17 - Newsweek

Close-up of 'Pay rent' note in red marker on day 1 of monthly calendar.

After Months of Decreases, Rents Nationwide Are Going Up

Average rents rose by $12 around the country so far this year.

May 17 - Smart Cities Dive

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.