Turns out that McMansions around the world readily model themselves after a very American vision of the upper middle-class lifestyle (it’s so American that a portrait of John Kerry graces a Shanghai model home). From the Atlantic Cities’ interview with the photographer:
What is it about upper middle-class American suburbs that makes them aspirational or exportable to the places you visited?
This copy+paste behavior is a result of America’s cultural dominance over the past five decades, exported through soap operas, movies, and magazines. I also think that the “lifestyle” fills a cultural gap as many of these countries didn’t have an upper middle class until recently and haven’t established a strong identity for this growing class yet.
Side note: This reminds me a lot of Bernd and Hilla Becher’s Typology photos.