A pre-housing-bust development near Las Vegas has a street layout that impedes foot and bicycle traffic.
Diane Roseman and her husband, Steven Spitz, had lived all over the world by the time they decided to settle in Westborough, Mass., in 2002. Roseman grew up in the suburbs of Morris County, N.J. She and Spitz had their first child while living in Southern California and then moved to Jerusalem. By the time they returned to the U.S. -- Spitz, a computer engineer, had been transferred to the Boston area -- they had three children under 5 years old, and Roseman coveted the space and ease of life the suburbs would provide. "I wanted the minivan and the big house," she says. "I wanted to try the whole American dream."
They looked at Newton, a wealthy, older suburb, but prices were high, so they started looking farther out. "You get into this mindset that if I'm spending $500,000, I should get a big house. It shouldn't be a little house," she says. In Westborough, a suburb some 30 miles west of Boston, they found a 3,000-square-foot center-hall colonial built in 1985 in a subdivision that was brimming with other young families. The schools were excellent. It was all going to be great. Their fourth child, a girl named Ella, was born three weeks after they moved in.
It didn't take Roseman long to realize the life she'd signed up for was not the one she wanted. She missed being surrounded by people of a wide mix of ages and life stages; most people in her neighborhood were couples in their thirties to fifties raising children. She didn't realize how much work would go into keeping up the house; her husband spent almost every weekend shoveling snow or taking care of the lawn. And she had no idea how much time she would be spending in her car. Roseman says she would spend the hours from 3 to 6 p.m. each day shuttling her children to and from swimming, chess, ballet, Hebrew school, jazz, soccer, music lessons, and more. "I'm in my car from morning till night," she said at the time. "My car knows the way to gymnastics."
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