Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Culture and Building

There are some commonly noticed differences between US and European (as varied as it is) culture.

In the US, it seems that work and moneymaking has priority - even at the expense of sinking roots and friendships. People typically move after about 5 years, and most often because of work. Connection with local friends and neighbors is less important.

In Europe, family, friends and free time seems to be a priority (still). People typically stay in one place most of their life, and create deeper connection to place and local friends.

Some of the consequences, beyond the personal ones, can be seen in buildings. In the US, houses are seen as a temporary investment - something to stay in for a while and then sell again. It means that poorer construction techniques and materials are chosen, and the houses are not individualized. In Europe, people see their houses as somewhere to live for most or all of their lives, so they invest in high quality construction and materials - and they tend to be given more character.

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