McMansion as a verb: “could McMansion R.I.’s coast”

I have seen numerous creative uses of the word McMansion but using the term as a verb is rare. Here is some of the story with the headline “Planners Concerned New Rules Could McMansion R.I.’s Coast“:

Two bills recently approved by the General Assembly support the construction of taller buildings along the Ocean State’s shoreline, which, according to some municipal planners and building officials, would essentially result in the walling off of the coast…

“This new bill would allow for three to three and a half floors instead of two,” Warner said. “We promote elevating above base flood elevation and the changes we made two years ago are working well. This bill isn’t adding any incentive or benefit for flood protection or protection against extreme weather. It does nothing to protect buildings from damage. We’d be building elevated mansions.”

Perhaps the use of McMansion as a verb is a function of writing a concise headline. The meaning of “to McMansion” seems clear: to construct large, undesirable homes. It also gets at some of the use of the word McMansion alongside words like “invasion” or “sprouting” which suggest the spread of McMansions. Whether this use of McMansion as a verb is better than the existing phrase mansionization is unclear.

The issue is one that many communities in the United States face: just how large should new homes or teardowns be allowed to be? At the same time, the shoreline adds further complications in that debates rage about who should have access to beaches and how the land should be best used to benefit the community in the long term. For an example of the shoreline issues, see my review of One Big Home which details of the fight over mansions on Martha’s Vineyard.

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