Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


Day 56: Urban Sprawl, Sacramento Style

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, when the market for residential housing was booming in ridiculous (and unsustainable) ways, the area around Sacramento was a fast-growing hub of development.  One area that was developed - maybe over-developed - was the region north of downtown, known as Natomas. 

Some parts of Natomas are composed of older, established residential neighborhoods, but the majority of the current housing stock is a poster child for urban sprawl -- homogeneous houses, lots and lots of cul-de-sacs, minimal (if any) mixed use within walking distance, etc.

On paper, the planned communities probably looked quite appealing and were originally designed to be centered around amenities such as parks or other gathering spaces.  However, when the economy plummeted, many of these additional components were never built, so the neighborhoods only have residential units that are barely distinguishable from each other:

Neither Mr. E nor I is fond of urban sprawl, as we prefer a quality of life that isn't car-dependent and that allows us easy walking or biking access to most of the amenities and commercial businesses that we enjoy and need.  And between the two of us, "natomas-ing" has become a verb synonymous with "sprawling," which just so happens to quite accurately describes a position that Calypso frequently assumes!

However, occasionally I do make the 5-mile trek up I-5 to I-80 to visit Natomas Marketplace for some "big box" shopping - Bed Bath & Beyond, BevMo, Pet Smart, Ross Dress for Less, Best Buy (but never WalMart, of course):

On the rare occasions that Mr. E and I go out to see a movie, we sometimes head to the Regal Cinemas in this district as well, as we did this afternoon for "X-Men: Days of Future Past."

In general, thought, we prefer to keep our outings confined to the grid of downtown and midtown Sacto, with possible forays across Tower Bridge to West Sacramento (Ikea!) or in the other direction into East Sac.  Given everything to which we have access nearby, there's just not much reason or need to go much farther afield!


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