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Memorial City is a suburban community in Houston, TX. A majority of the homes were built in the 1950s-60s along with the adjacent construction of the Memorial City Mall in 1966. Today, the mall is suffering and facing demolition as a new lifestyle center constructed just two miles away is thriving. Lifestyle centers are an increasingly desired urban form of retail and recreation that typically provide ‘luxury’ living in affluent communities. In order to understand this form of urban living more within the context of Memorial City, another student and I completed the following research.

The adjacent suburb can be categorized into seven phases, referred to as communities, between 1955 and 2016. Typical characteristics of these communities are rendered including home designs, sidewalks, setbacks, average lot and home sizes, and a comparison of home size and the average family size of that year. There is a clear trend of increasing home sizes and lot coverage as well as a priority of having the garage become a main access point into the home. The distance between family members is noticeably farther. This distance can also be seen in the spatial organization of the home. As the home grows larger to include the garage and other formerly separate uses, such as offices, bars, and gyms, the central gathering space no longer exists and family members see less of each other. Images of the home in media and pop culture are also included to show the changing views on life in the single family home.

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