I rambled a bit about Philly and houses and perceptions of age back in July. For a more articulate assessment, from a slightly different perspective, see William Gibson:
MC: Right — SF has often shown us a fairly abstract future, in works like Asimov’s Foundation series.
WG: Yeah, and I think of that as the American future — because Europeans have lived forever happily among their own ruins. The very concept of retro-fitting strikes Europeans as weirdly redundant, because their world is in large part a retro-fit, and they expect what they’re building now to be retro-fitted. In North America, we’ve only recently come to that. Our cultural idea of the future has been something totally brand new, with no dirt in the corners.
See also the rest of the interview, interesting as always.