A UCLA study confirms that most Angelenos rarely use their backyard, the LA Times reports today.
Anthropology professor Jeanne E. Arnold, lead author of the study that will be published in the March Journal of Family and Economic Issues, says that Angelenos put a lot of money into making their yards attractive and entertaining. “They are a buffer of green” from the outside world, she says, but “backyards might as well be blocks away considering how often the families go in them.”
From my own personal experience, it seems that the backyard has been shrinking, both in size and importance from the days, 30 years ago, when I played for hours in our family yard in Lincolnwood, IL.
In older neighborhoods of Los Angeles, like Venice, Pasadena or Hancock Park, there are many tree shaded yards, often small, but lovingly tended. But in the new areas, such as Santa Clarita and Calabasas, enormous houses take up 95% of the lot, and the backyard is often a harsh, concrete, fenced and cinder block prison without trees.
Then there are the crazed schedules: mom works, dad works, kids are in programs. On the weekends, people are running to the mall, sitting on the freeway, or in cyberspace.
The decline of the backyard parallels the rise of the flat-assed fatties who one sees all over the Southland.