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Friday, October 19, 2007

Chinese Monster Mansion Houses & Tear downs

I have noticed the emergence of huge houses in many cities where there are a lot of Chinese. Typically they have tiny yards, two stories, usually some type of pillar in the front, stucco, tile room, good school districts, and are much bigger than the original housing, usually ranch style in the area. Places I have seen this are Cupertino, Arcadia, Temple City, San Marino, etc. I thought of this when I cam across an article in the WSJ The Mega-Mansion Comes to Beijing that mentioned this was happening also in China with the super rich. What has happened in California cities, is an older house is bought, then torn down and replaced with a mega mansion. To appease city codes (that have been getting smarter), often one wall of the old place is kept so it is not a new construction, but just a remodel (on steroids). I was looking for articles about this, but could not find any. New areas don't have these issues since there are often new developments in gated communities with monster houses. I can think of one in Rowland Heights (Balan and Fairways).

Here is the only article I could find: Building Ethnoburbia: The Emergence and Manifestation of the Chinese Ethnoburb in Los Angeles' San Gabriel Valley that requires a username/password or a visit to a subscribing library.

No wait, another mention (just have to use the right keywords) that has a nice definition - mostly:

The San Marino area has coined the phrase "mansionization" to reflect the desire of Asian residents to construct large homes that overwhelm surrounding buildings in both size and design. For Asians, this is a means of accommodating their extended families and a reaction to the limited housing space available to them in their native countries.

I am not sure I agree with the sentence I highlighted in red. To me that has nothing to do with it. Extended families - yes, that makes sense. Limited housing in their native countries - no, it's more about what they can afford in the US, which has to do with cost of housing, not availability.

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