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Lawns are under-utilized capacity. Mostly too small or poorly laid out (like, almost all front lawns, for instance) to be much use. A pain to maintain, and done individually rather than more cheaply and efficiently as a group. Every other house with a playset rather than having lawns half the size and a couple much nicer, maintained parks per block. They're absurd.

I understand your premise, but society is litigious for me to be willing to make a public accessible anything on my property. Little johnny falls off the slide or swing, and little johnny's parents sue me (or at least my home owner's insurance policy). I'm not willing to accept that liability.

I'm also not the type to consider lawn work a pain to maintain. Of course, I'm talking an actual yard, not the back 40. In fact, that's my guaranteed weekly bit of escape from tech. Once the yard is being cared for, a simple bit of mowing doesn't take that long. A few times a year, it takes an additional stroll around the yard with some fertilizer.

Cities can run parks, I'm not saying open up your lawn to others, our society's too batshit crazy for that. We have some city-run parks, they're just way less common than they could be with somewhat smaller lawns and part of the cost savings from smaller yards going toward park upkeep. Could have a house-lot-sized one every few houses by just squeezing the houses very slightly closer together, and could have huge ones every few houses with significantly smaller lawns. Every single house within a two minute walk of a nice park, maintained at a cost lower than maintaining all that space divided among a bunch of individual families.

Of course cities seem to quickly be abdicating care of common spaces to HOAs anyway, with neighborhoods and common spaces laid out by developers with little or no incentive to fix this problem—another part of the death of the commons and the atomization of civic life and the growth of "eff you, I got mine" generally—so I'm just pulling an Old Man Yells at Cloud here. Though this is literally why we can't have nice things, so it remains frustrating.

And indeed more and more communities are stacking houses nearly right on top of each other, but building an above average number of community parks.

I get it. It makes sense.


Personally, it's not for me, since

(1) I just don't like being gutter-to-gutter crowded. If I had my way, I'd see nothing but grass and tree, with not a single neighbor in a straight line of sight.

(2) I like entertaining family/friends in the intimate setting of kitchen/backyard rather than a public park.

(3) A park lacks certain things, e.g. a trampoline, which my kids love.

(4) My young children (ages 1, 3, 5) can't yet go to the park independently, even a nearby one, but they can open the back door to the fenced background.

(5) Same as #4 but pets (dogs, ducks, chickens).

Oh, I get the appeal of land. Country living makes sense to me, and appeals. Done that. I like dense, walkable 'burbs, with nearby stuff to do, too.

Not a fan of apartment living (at least not for a family) though I get why people like it. What I don't like and can't understand the appeal of are typical low-density-but-not-low-density-enough suburbs, though. Worst of both worlds—few or no things in walking distance, not enough space to do much with or keep the neighbors away, but enough you have to own some stuff to keep it up, and the neighbors mean you have to keep it up. Ugh. Unfortunately it's that or suburban apartments (now that may truly be the worst of all options) if you want decent or good schools, in our city. Schools in denser areas are mostly bad, schools in the country are mostly bad. It sucks.

There's a lot of people that want private property but can't buy as much as they'd like.

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