How do McMansions affect kids?

I recently ran into an article about kids helping to clean a 16-acre preserve in New Canaan, Connecticut that one local leader described as a much better alternative to having multiple McMansions erected. This got me thinking: how exactly do McMansions influence children? I suspect there are multiple factors at play: the neighborhood(s) in which the child grows up; the socioeconomic status of the family; the comments about McMansions made by family, friends, and others; how they see McMansions portrayed in the media.

Some questions that could be pursued. Are children who grow up in McMansion neighborhoods more alienated or isolated from society? Critics of McMansions argue they are frequently located in auto-dependent, wealth neighborhoods. Are children who grow up in McMansions more prone to excessive consumption? Critics argue McMansions are symbols of overspending and an American tendency to buy large. Are children familiar with McMansions more or less likely to appreciate high culture? Critics argue McMansions are typically lacking in design and quality.

If I had to guess, I would suggest McMansions have little or no effect on outcomes independent of factors like social class and educational attainment. But that doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t be fun to pursue some of these questions…

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