"The average size of new single-family homes in the US increased from 1,500 square feet to 2,266 square feet between 1970 and 2000."My townhome is 1260 sq ft, not including the basement.
"The Census Bureau also reports that the average household size declined over the past 30 years, from 3.1 people per household in 1970 to 2.6 people per household in 2002. Thus, the square feet per person have nearly doubled in thirty years, from 483 to 872."With three adults living here, we have 420 sq ft each, again, not including the basement.
An interesting article on historical homes and neighborhoods in Denver by a local real-estate agent.
A selection of homes currently for sale in one of the historical neighborhoods in Denver:
Note that the average for the ten homes in the screen shot is 2828 sq ft. (The image links to a larger version.) I think this is likely a representative sample of homes scraped off the lot and replaced with larger homes, homes with the tops popped, classic homes, and I see one condo conversion of an apartment building in there.
The scrapers are particularly depressing for me. I understand the motivation... in June of 1965 a flood hit the Platte river, which runs through the heart of Denver. Since the Platte is used for drainage, the flood forced water into the basements of thousands of homes in the area resulting in foundation cracks. So, at some point, those houses will have to be replaced.
But frequently the houses are being replaced with mansion-like houses with large garages. The minimum-required open space on a lot is filled by paving -- sidewalks, patios, and parking. And the result is a 6,000 square-foot home in a classic, tree-lined residential neighborhood. But the character of the neighborhood comes from lawns and mature trees, which the new home has no space for. Additionally, as the article I quoted from above argues, a 4,000+ sq ft home can never be made green enough to offset the costs to build it.
The challenge of living smaller and lighter is acurately, though ironically summed up in the first three comments to this article announcing a Global Warming campaign in Pensacola, FL. As suthernboy writes:
Living closer to other people means inevitably we must change our behavior to accommodate them. Of course, we are simultaneously asking them to change for us, but perhaps those requests seem so practical to us that we don't notice.
the only global warming we need to be worried about is all the hot air that is coming out of these politician's mouths that are heading this Global Warming Campaign. They are polluting the airwaves with all their enviromentalist crap trying to tell people how they should run their lives.
So, I think one of the challenges of living greener, of living not so big, is trying to remember -- culturally -- how to live with other people.