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Does living in an apartment make you more considerate to neighbours?

Does living in an apartment make you more considerate to neighbours?

Old Apr 24th 2011, 8:06 am
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Default Does living in an apartment make you more considerate to neighbours?

The article is about Paris, but the issues affect all those city dwellers who live in flats.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programme...nt/9463155.stm

In apartments you get to know your neighbours much more intimately than perhaps they or you would like. So you learn to keep your relationship one of formal distance, respectful but not friendly.

You learn not to express your independence too readily by playing music late or having parties, or running a bath at midnight. And you learn that there are overarching institutions that decide things for you, such as whether to plant flowers in the communal garden or how much to pay the concierge.

In short, you learn to give up a bit of liberty in return for a more social, communal life.

Obviously this has an impact on society as a whole and I am certain that the fact French and other European societies are more socially-minded, both less free and less individualistic, is linked to the habits of apartment living.

Though whether people live in flats because they are more communal-minded, or vice-versa, they are more communally-minded because they live in flats, is moot.
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Old Apr 24th 2011, 9:39 am
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Default Re: Does living in an apartment make you more considerate to neighbours?

Well, I wouldnt believe that to be true generally.

We have "an apartment" in the UK, and neither my daughter or us know any of the neigbours. I dont think in modern England people seem to know much about their neighbours in houses, let alone flats or apartments. In fact there was a discussion on BBC TV about it, and they said as much ..... thats why Cameron wants to encourage social activity with neighbours. Trouble is, he's making them work so bloody hard they dont get home until so late it's impossible

In Spain I guess it may be more possible as many apartments have communal pools where people can mix.
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Old Apr 24th 2011, 6:16 pm
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Default Re: Does living in an apartment make you more considerate to neighbours?

""Though whether people live in flats because they are more communal-minded, or vice-versa, they are more communally-minded because they live in flats, is moot.""

Not sure which way it is myself with regard to the Spanish, however most of them appear to be content in flats anyway.

As regards noise I don't suppose it's a major issue, as most of them don't seem to be able to get enough of it anyway, many even preferring to live next to a busy road rather than in a quiet area.
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Old Apr 24th 2011, 6:52 pm
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Default Re: Does living in an apartment make you more considerate to neighbours?

I've lived in several apartments in Spain, mostly totally Spanish ones. The safety aspect usually compensates for the noise, and you do get used to 'happy' noise which is natural.

One such apartment in Denia was typical, it was large enough to grow things on both the balconies and other inside spaces. The dozen or so Spanish neighbours kept their distance at first, but once we got to know them, we became friends with all of them.

When we left after a year there, there were some tearful goodbyes and we are still in touch with a couple of them. My wife had to return to England on several occasions and for lengthy periods, months at a time, and my Spanish was not as good as it is now, but the neighbours never failed to enquire if I needed anything, strangely enough, mostly in Valenciano, which I got to know quite well.
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Old Apr 24th 2011, 7:29 pm
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Default Re: Does living in an apartment make you more considerate to neighbours?

Originally Posted by HBG
I've lived in several apartments in Spain, mostly totally Spanish ones. The safety aspect usually compensates for the noise, and you do get used to 'happy' noise which is natural.

One such apartment in Denia was typical, it was large enough to grow things on both the balconies and other inside spaces. The dozen or so Spanish neighbours kept their distance at first, but once we got to know them, we became friends with all of them.

When we left after a year there, there were some tearful goodbyes and we are still in touch with a couple of them. My wife had to return to England on several occasions and for lengthy periods, months at a time, and my Spanish was not as good as it is now, but the neighbours never failed to enquire if I needed anything, strangely enough, mostly in Valenciano, which I got to know quite well.
I fully agree with you regarding Spanish neighbours, maybe I've just been lucky, but I've found them superb wherever I've been.
Good neighbours are often mentioned high on the list of selling points when properties are listed in estate agents windows around here, and can often turn out to be a very pleasant and unexpected bonus.
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Old Apr 24th 2011, 7:55 pm
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Default Re: Does living in an apartment make you more considerate to neighbours?

A funny observation of mine, is that Spanish people often complain about living in flats, and many dream of having a house, but in Galicia, a lot of folks have land to build a nice detatched house on.

But the strange thing is, even though it may look like a house it is in fact 2 "viviendas" one on the bottom and one on the top with the stairs outside, actually 2 flats.

The British on the other hand, if they had the same budget and amount of land to build on would rather build two semi detached houses......

So it seems that the Spanish must like flats better then houses.
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Old Apr 24th 2011, 8:13 pm
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Default Re: Does living in an apartment make you more considerate to neighbours?

Originally Posted by Dick Dasterdly

Not sure which way it is myself with regard to the Spanish, however most of them appear to be content in flats anyway.
As regards noise I don't suppose it's a major issue, as most of them don't seem to be able to get enough of it anyway, many even preferring to live next to a busy road rather than in a quiet area.
If you're born into apartment living, I guess that's all you know, personally knowing how noisy the Spanish are, I'd hate it! I remember reading the author Ian Gibson saying he could never write anything until he moved to the top floor of his block of apartments. Although being an hispanophile and having spent a lot of time in Spain, he never got used to his noisy neighbours above him!
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Old Apr 24th 2011, 11:33 pm
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Default Re: Does living in an apartment make you more considerate to neighbours?

Fortunately after thirty years of holidaying in Spanish apartments twice a year we had learned already that we couldn't stand living with people above us.
Road noise you can get used to, even campo dogs fade into the background and are not noticed after a while....but people above we found would soon drive us crazy, so we were smart....we bought a house!
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Old Apr 25th 2011, 7:51 am
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Default Re: Does living in an apartment make you more considerate to neighbours?

Originally Posted by JLFS
A funny observation of mine, is that Spanish people often complain about living in flats, and many dream of having a house, but in Galicia, a lot of folks have land to build a nice detatched house on.

But the strange thing is, even though it may look like a house it is in fact 2 "viviendas" one on the bottom and one on the top with the stairs outside, actually 2 flats.

The British on the other hand, if they had the same budget and amount of land to build on would rather build two semi detached houses......

So it seems that the Spanish must like flats better then houses.
I've noticed the same thing in France and Germany, and often the houses contain three apartments on separate floors. The youngest family would live on the ground floor, the parents above and the grandparents on top. Family closeness is the answer.

In the apartments in Denia, the neighbours on our floor had their grandmother living on the floor below.
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Old Apr 25th 2011, 9:12 am
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Default Re: Does living in an apartment make you more considerate to neighbours?

Originally Posted by HBG
I've noticed the same thing in France and Germany, and often the houses contain three apartments on separate floors. The youngest family would live on the ground floor, the parents above and the grandparents on top. Family closeness is the answer.

In the apartments in Denia, the neighbours on our floor had their grandmother living on the floor below.
I saw a similar thing in Canarian towns where they built one floor at a time for each generation over the years.
The ground floor usually had a big door to drive the car in and appeared to be a combined lounge,kitchen and garage in the biggest room.
The other advantage of it, apart from family closeness,was the fact that the buildings were never finished and always had steelwork protruding from the top floor ready for the next level.
Because the buildings were never finished, they didn't have to pay any rates.
Whether or not that's still the case I've no idea, but the authorities were unhappy with the shabby appearance of some of them and even provided free paint to try and get them tidied up.
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Old Apr 25th 2011, 9:36 am
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Default Re: Does living in an apartment make you more considerate to neighbours?

Originally Posted by Dick Dasterdly
The ground floor usually had a big door to drive the car in and appeared to be a combined lounge,kitchen and garage in the biggest room.
This "room" in our next door neighbours is where we have our parties if the weather is inclement and the street is not convenient. Noise really does not matter as everyone attends.

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Old Apr 25th 2011, 10:05 am
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Default Re: Does living in an apartment make you more considerate to neighbours?

I've had the same experience as Megmet.

We were on holiday in Benalmadena with my step daughter and son in law a couple of years ago. A group of Spanish lads, 20 -25 years olds I would guess, were in the apartment above. They went out every night and got back to the apartment about 3am and spent the next hour or two scraping every chair, table and bed in the apartment across every room, or that's how it sounded. I didn't count the people but assumed they needed to convert the sofa bed every night.

After 3 or 4 nights stepdaughter and I went to reception to complain. The guy at the desk listened then asked our apartment number. His face fell a mile when we told him, he explained that the apartment above us belonged to another organisation and he had no control over the occupants.

Thankfully that group left after our first week and were replaced by a family with small children who were all considerate enough to go to bed early.

It put me off apartment living but we may end up living in one for our first year here purely out of practicalities.
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