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All in the Family, But Never Outside: Why No Love for the Yard?

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What does a recently completed UCLA study that videotaped 32 Los Angeles families over a three-year period tell us? The backyard is never used, and witnessing the stressful grind of family life is the best form of birth control, according to one UCLA researcher (who went on to have children, regardless).Via the New York Times: "The study captured a thin slice of Los Angeles’s diversity, including two black families, one Latino, one Japanese, and some ethnically mixed couples, as well as two households with gay, male parents. The families lived, most of them, well outside the city’s tonier ZIP codes, in places like La Crescenta, east, and Westchester, near the airport.

Husbands and wives were together alone in the house only about 10 percent of their waking time, on average, and the entire family was gathered in one room about 14 percent of the time. Stress levels soared — yet families spent very little time in the most soothing, uncluttered area of the home, the yard."

And more: "Outside the homes, the yards were open and green — but “no one was out there,” said Jeanne E. Arnold, a U.C.L.A. archaeologist who worked on the study. One family had a 17,000-square-foot yard, with a pool and a trampoline, and not even the children ventured out there during the study." Oh, the sad and ignored yard. Families opting never to use lawns--although some people find them useful places for building pirate ships---has been debated before on Curbed.
· Families’ Every Fuss, Archived and Analyzed [NYT]