13 August 2010

Where in the world is this suburb?

My post about American-style suburbia in Melbourne, Australia yesterday sent me on a wild search across the internet. I was on a quest to find similar developments around the world and I found them in spades. I don't know whether to be happy that for a lot of people in the developing world life's getting better. Or whether I should cry at the sheer waste of it. I decided that it's really not my place to do either but it does make me scratch my head. So since I found some really surprising images from all over, I thought it might be fun to show you guys a bunch of these homes and have people guess where in the world they might be.

All of these homes are less than ten years old and most of them came from Real Estate Worldwide.

The answers are at the bottom of this post.













  1. Accra, Ghana
  2. Beijing, China
  3. Koprivnica, Croatia
  4. Lagos, Nigeria
  5. Moscow, Russia
  6. Nairobi, Kenya
  7. Varna, Bulgaria
  8. New Dehli, India
  9. Sanok, Poland
  10. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  11. Slobozia, Moldova
  12. Tallinn, Estonia
How many did you get right? Any? Is this sort of thing surprising? Thanks for playing this game of Where in the World is this Suburb? One final question though: is this sort of development in the developing world a good thing or a bad thing?


  1. Wow, I got every one wrong :). I think people are going to start moving away from oversized homes back to ones that make sense.

  2. That's been the topic around here all week. I would love to see people clamoring for sensible homes and there's a lot of chatter about it out there. However, I'll believe it when I see it.

  3. Well I lost, Paul. Didn't get any of them right. Funny how westernized they are, even the roofs hummmm my spelling is probably wrong!

  4. Your spelling's fine and I lost too. I never would have guessed any of these had I not found them myself.

  5. I was thinking Texas, NC, etc. certainly not in those countries. Hope we Americans can turn this around before the entire world is covered with big houses (and where will everyone else live??) I still love the Not So Big House concept, but builders aren't building them.

  6. I guessed Salt Lake City, Utah on every single one of them because they ALL look like they could be in my very own neighborhood. I live in a neighborhood that has four different home styles and it's honestly quite depressing. When we first moved into our neighborhood I used to joke that I'd pull into the wrong driveway and walk into the wrong house because they all look the same. Luckily that hasn't happened....yet. :)
    Anyway, my grandma is from Bulgaria and she still spends her summers there. She was telling me last year when she got back how one of her neices wants to build a home on my grandma's property that she has out in the country. My grandma already owns a beautiful "villa" out there that looks completely in place. The neice wants to build a "McMansion" (as my grandma put it) on this same area of land. My grandma was appalled and quite distraught that she had to tell her neice no. I didn't know they even had "McMansions" in Bulgaria until this conversation with her.
    It's not my place to judge, but these pictures did make me a little sad today.

  7. Anne: Meeting with and talking to Sarah Susanka is one of my proudest moments as a blogger. I love her whole philosophy. Builders do build them (you can buy plans from notsobig.com) just not in subdivisions.

    Steph: Great story! I never think of Bulgaria as a land given to McMansions but there's a photo above that dispels that myth. Your grandmother sounds like a cool lady.

  8. WOW, I would have never guessed. Looks like Anytown, USA. Probably built by the Americans sprawling over seas! :)

    Small is the new BIG in my mind!

  9. Well, I thought 7 and 11 had Eastern European elements, and are not too bad. Can't help wondering how comfortable such designs are in hot climates where a/c is expensive -- at least, I guess it's expensive.

  10. I definitely get a Moldovan vibe from number 11. I'm still reeling from the house in Lagos.

  11. Well you certainly got me with that one Paul! I never would have guessed anywhere outside of the US. Goes to show how the American Dream is the ideal everywhere even if the interpretations are pretentious and exagerated (maybe not so much for some places --I used to live in Texas Anne, I would have thought there too! LOL). So much for speghetti westerns! It's HGTV nowadays!

  12. I just had to add --#8 (in India) reminds me of a new townhouse project just south of us near the CA coast in Solvang --which is a town that pretends to be Danish. =O

  13. Hmmm. #8 doesn't strike me as being particularly Danish. But Solvang figures highly in the greatest movie of all time, Sideways, so they get a pass.

  14. Funny you should mention Sideways. I live in the condo unit (for the time being) that is directly behind the one the guy's mother lived in the movie. The scene where he's stealing money out of his mom's dresser drawer --you can see my unit through the window. Hint --it's not really in Oxnard as it says in the movie. When they pan away from the place in the scene, you see ocean... great bit of green screen creativity.

  15. That's one of my favorite scenes in the whole movie. It's a brilliant, brilliant, wordless exhibition of that awful man's character. No matter how sympathetic he looks when compared to his reprehensible traveling companion, he's still a man who steals from his mother.

    And there you are, right in the middle of it. I feel famous by association!


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