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I have a problem with the terminology used in this article. It starts with a very British and historical point of view. My perspective is from Philadelphia where we have many rowhouses. A rowhouse is defined by at least three characteristics: it has a flat roof, is narrow, and shares side walls with neighboring houses down the block. Traditionally they were made of brick.
There is confusion regarding the term "townhouse", or townhome, which is not normal here. A townhouse is wider than a rowhouse. Sixteen feet seems to be the border line. Rowhouses do not exceed this width. They normally do not exceed three stories, although there are a number of houses in gentrifying areas there decks and a fourth story are being added.
A wider house is naturally larger and considered more upper class than a rowhouse, which has working class implications. Townhouses are typical of newer and more upscale housing stock. Typically they have more amenities and may be built of other materials than brick, e.g. stone. For this reason marketers like to relabel rowhouses as townhouses to justify higher prices. Whether the term is justified depends on the relative width, size, and luxuriousness of the house.
The "terrace" houses illustrated at the beginning of the article could not be called rowhouses here because of their non-flat roofs. I am not sure what to call them. Rowhouses have no differences at the ends of the rows, except for side windows.PhillyFrog (talk) 23:01, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
- Although most of Philadelphia's rowhouses were built with flat roofs, quite a lot of rowhouses in Pa have pitched roofs similar to their UK counterparts. For example, Allentown up the road from Philly has whole suburbs of rowhouses and if you look via Google Earth you can find quite a few with peaked roofs (West Chew Street for example). Another interesting point about Allentown in Particular is that it was a coal and steel town and much of the Victorian housing stock looks very similar to the terraced houses built in Cardiff, Wales, UK - especially the "upmarket" three story bay-windowed style where the engineers, managers and more "important" families lived. I lived in Wales and was immediately struck by the similarities. Very many Welsh immigrants arrived in the 19th century and I wouldn't be surprised if they brought their architectural tastes with them. Using a combination of Google Earth and Streetview you can find some villages (For example Bath, Pa) with rowhouse-lined main streets that look as if they were lifted straight out of the South Welsh Valleys - peaked roofs as well --MichaelGG (talk) 04:25, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
Town house vs. rowhouse: split?
I'm surprised noone, in all these debates, seems to have consulted McAlester's canonical Field Guide to American Houses for a discussion of the whole "American Usage" thing. There is a clear distinction between row houses and town houses, though the former being a subcategory of the later. The former meets the British usage of "terraced houses", whereas the later related more generally to form-factor and lot size usage - the defining characteristic of a "town house" is that the house is rather linear due to the narrow size of the lot (due to the urban conditions). A townhouse can be free-standing and detached, attached and be unrelated to its neighbors, or have been built as part of a uniform row with its neighbors - in only the later portion is it a rowhouse. A "town house" need not share walls nor be identical, and thus fails the definition as given in the lead. Ergo, I think "townhouse / town house" merits becoming its own article, as many, if not a majority of them, do not meet the definition of a row house; though likewise, any new page should have a section with hatnote direct to this one. Morgan Riley (talk) 04:31, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
With regards to the title...
I think an excellent reason for keeping the title as "terraced house" is as follows: they are the primary type of housing found in most parts of the UK and Ireland. It is hard to go to any town and not find some terraced street. In America, on the other hand, where space wasn't rare, they are much less common. Most towns, even in the crowded northeast, don't have terraced houses. In general, only cities do. But in Britain, most suburbs, most cities, and many rural village are made up chiefly of some form of terraced houses. The concept of the terraced house has much more significance for the British user than for the American user, and hence it should be labeled in the British form...I would ask any American that doubts me to take a trip to England, Scotland, Wales, or Ireland and go to any random town....184.108.40.206 (talk) 20:30, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
- As a American (USA) who has taken coursework in Scotland on architectural conservation in the UK, I very willingly and readily concede the point when referring to what in American English is termed "Rowhouses". Yet as I noted in the above post, in A.E., the term "townhouse" means something different--a type of house that is on narrow lots, like that of a rowhouse (the latter is usually considered a subset), yet (except for rowhouses) *isn't* physically connected. Thus as a distinct and not-subsidiary topic, it shouldn't be on the same page/redirect. Thoughts? Morgan Riley (talk) 00:12, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
- The problem is that in the UK, the word "townhouse" is now used by estate agents as marketing term for "high-class" terraced houses. It is an americanism, but is used because many people associate the phrase "terraced house" with working class victorian style terraces. It is not in common usage among the general population, however. I also believe that in the Northeast of the US, townhouse can be used to refer to what most people would call a "brownstone". I've seen estate agents using the term for such. Townhouse seems to be a very broad term on the whole. As an American myself from New England, I've never really used the term townhouse. Perhaps that's because the cities I am familiar with lack that type of housing. I was used to "3-family" houses, known often as "tripple-deckers" and brownstones...confusing to say the least.... — Preceding unsigned comment added by 220.127.116.11 (talk) 11:28, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
Victorian through terrace
There's some info at uwe.ac.uk, including a photo dating from c. 1890. It'd be useful to have a free period photo, if there are any which are arguably within the public domain. A recently taken photo would should show a recreation of the period environment, rather than the genuine example... maybe a sepia tone photo would help! -- Trevj (talk) 14:35, 19 March 2013 (UTC)