Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona, just for fun. Advertising-free, supported by my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

Why the houses all look the same in Phoenix

If you live in suburban Phoenix, like I do, and have ever driven past the house you were looking for, even if it's your own, you know that Phoenix is a sea of same-looking houses. But it's not a civic regulation that all of the houses have to match each other exactly in a community, and in all communities, it comes down to not wanting to be the "oddball house" that won't sell.

Yes, Phoenix is driven by the real-estate market. And if your house is strange, even its location won't save it from being passed over by potential buyers. And it isn't just the real estate people who are dictating this. Get involved with any discussion about the look of a house in Phoenix and you will find that "everyone" insists on beige stucco.

Ad for townhouses at 77 E. Missouri in 1976. Some of these units have been kept in their original condition, out of respect for the time period.

A stylish Phoenix home interior from 1973

The larger effect of this way of thinking, in addition to creating a city that looks incredibly bland, is the destruction of anything that "offends the eye". Fifty years ago, the ugly old Victorian houses were torn down as fast as possible, to the cheers of "people of good taste". Today, many people look at homes and interiors of the 1970s and have the same reaction. Destroy it! Modernize it! Tear it down!

Speaking for myself, I have respect for all types of design, from all eras, even the 1970s. Someday it will all seem so beautiful, and so original. And to me, it already is.

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