There are a lot of things in this life that only strike you when you get older. When you have a little perspective to look back – way back – to your childhood (at least). For example, the very meaning of buildings, how they are arranged, how many units they contain, what kind of car you drive (you don’t have a driveway); how much did your place cost?
All the signs of how well or poorly you are more obvious if you own and display your own palace, uhm private house. That was a long way around, but I was trying to make the point that when you squash a bunch of people together into a bunch of small places, the only way to know how your neighbor is doing is to actually be in their apartment.
In the burbs, and extra-burbs, there is the illusion of knowing your neighbors. Even if you haven’t been in their house.
I was hoping to expand this idea to cover the meanings of government buildings – but I’ll leave that for another day. But think about it as it relates to photography. How different (if at all) would your shooting be if you had been raised in a crowded tenement instead of a split level ranch?