I’ve never really thought too much about the design aspect of where I lived until recently. I’ve recognized the beauty of my town in Deal, NJ but it wasn’t until I moved into a house off campus by Rutgers that I actually started to compare and pay attention to the details. It’s the simple things like grass that can really make all the difference aesthetically as well as functionally. I’m going to compare my hometown to my neighborhood in school and highlight my likes and dislikes of these areas.
Unfortunately, there are many more dislikes than there are likes when it comes to my neighborhood in New Brunswick, specifically when it comes to my block. Starting with the road, the road itself is not narrow, but the fact that there’s parking on both sides of the street definitely impacts driving. I even witnessed an accident from this where a car hit another car in the other lane, causing that car to hit a parked car. I definitely think that the parking is a major necessity but if there was a way to fix the parking situation by having parking on one side and a parking lot, then that would be much better. Another reason the parking here is very stressful because on all of these blocks you cannot park unless you have a parking permit which can be extremely annoying, especially for the many houses that don’t even have driveways (like mine). The parking on both sides of the streets also makes it really difficult for pedestrians to cross the street. I know that I personally always have trouble seeing if there’s a car coming because the cars parked are blocking my view.
Another major dislike is the fact that most of the houses do not have front lawns and there’s barely any grass. My house is literally on the sidewalk without one strand of grass. This not only has a big impact on the aesthetics of the area, but it also has an impact on the people in the houses. I can hear every single conversation someone has that is walking by my house on the sidewalk, which is especially annoying when it’s 2 am and there’s drunk college kids running around!
I do like however, the fact that there are sidewalks on every street which is very practical considering the amount of pedestrians. I also like how there’s a park right near the neighborhood to contrast the “urban” area.
I found many more likes in Deal than I did dislikes. My favorite thing about the area is how big the front lawns (and backyards are). It makes for a beautiful separation between the houses and the street. Another thing I love is that most of these blocks have trees that are lining the streets, creating a beautiful archway that can only be fully appreciated when seeing it in person.
All of the blocks leading up to the beach have sidewalks but if you go a few blocks out, most of them do not have sidewalks, unless an individual got one for outside their house. Since there isn’t a sidewalk or curb on most of my block, a major benefit to having the land sloping upward is that the cars that aren’t able to park in a way that is damaging to the grass or creating potholes.
The area of Deal itself is beautiful and very spacious but I realized that it’s actually really hard to design for this area because for 10 out of the 12 months in a year the area is practically a ghost town. Most of the houses in Deal are owned by people from Brooklyn who only come for the summer. For most of the year the area is silent, but for the summer months it’s EXTREMELY busy and the summer months are the most important time of the year for the beach town. For example, there’s an intersection on my block that gives no trouble at all during the year, but once summer comes it’s the source of many accidents because there’s thousands of more people living there. The question is whether or not to put a traffic light there if there’s no problems there during 10 out of the 12 months. This is just one example of how hard it is to plan and design for the area because you have to do so for two extremes: the deadly silent and then the extremely busy.
Overall, there are many pros and cons to both neighborhoods, especially because the nature of these areas are so different, but my personal preference is Deal.