Written recently on the occasion of my move-in with the SO. Thoughts and comparison between my old and new home(s) and neighborhood(s).
Lived downtown adjacent for almost 10 yrs. In two different but houses both within a block of each other. First on 524 NW 2nd St then for 4 yrs 541 NW 3rd St. Reflecting on the idea of a neighborhood. Of a hood of neighbors? I didn’t know all my neighbors but i knew the neighborhood. Mostly family, with a growing student population. I have moved from Pleasant Street (also see http://www.pleasantstreet.net/) to the West-side. Although not quite. Still, almost University Park. Further west means not as walk-able. Not in the same way, as being able to walk (in 5-10 mins) to two grocery stores or bars, restaurants etc. At least not downtown ones. Although, the establishments of Mid-town, including the campus stadiums, are surprisingly close. Plus, bicycling not walking is my chief, regular form of transportation and that hasn’t been impacted by the move. If anything I am bicycling more and walking less.
The new neighborhood sits in the middle of an important urban creek-shed, whereas my old one had no water-bodies. This in itself is different and presents its own ecological interests and possible explorations. And although I had some local owls in Pleasant Street, they are a more abundant and vocal presence at our new home.
For so long I lived in cracker houses, elevated off the ground and made of wood with a front and back porch. Easy (enough) to work-on. I assisted my old landlord with some of his renovations. Easy to crawl under. An architectural cousin, I’ve long felt to the New Orleans shotgun style. An architecture so regionally reflexive in its design that some have tried to suggest it as a form of contemporary ecological architecture.
The new house is an old Gainesville brick, ranch style home. Because of the adjacent creek-bed there are some foundation/slope, movement issues. The house while it has less total bedrooms has a spacious internal layout. Plus, I have a long-standing affinity for brick homes after a youth spent being raised in Brooklyn brownstones. Pacific and Schermerhorn Streets, shout-out! I do miss the claw-foot tub (which was one of my favorite aspects of the old home) but appreciate having a washer and dryer. Though, I should really just put up a clothes-line.
More exciting than the house itself is the extra space in the yard for experimenting with productive local landscapes, bug-hotels (subject of a hopefully upcoming fall post) and coming soon a chicken tractor. All attempts at making a more localized, resilient turn in my consumption. None of which are actually easy to do successfully, as they take real work and know-how. Honestly, though the learning process is to me more attractive than the production process(es).