Nowhere landposted by Ron Beasley at 2/20/2005 11:42:00 AM
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As US towns sprawl into the countryside, creating anonymous zones dominated by soulless malls..."Anonymous zones dominated by soulless malls"; that sure sounds like most of the suburban sprawl to me. The suburbs have no soul, no sense of community. You have no neighbors, only people who live next door who you rarely see. Man is by nature a social animal and what is missing in the suburbs is a sense of belonging to a community.
What hits one first about exurbia is its ugliness. Laid out by competing developers, disparate 'cookie-cutter' housing developments (often christened with faux Wild West prefixes such as Vale, Ranch or Stable) wander into the distance, devoid of any master-plan. Self-contained behind electronic gates, each house seamlessly resembles the others in a conveyor belt of McMansions. Behind the walls, uniformity is enforced by a strict system of covenants, conditions and restrictions that outlaw individual alterations to homes and gardens.This sterile lack of community is just as if not more painful than the suffering that results from physical poverty. The big house and all the technological comforts cannot give you a sense of belonging. While the poor may look to religion for an afterlife free from physical hunger the affluent suburbanite may be looking for an afterlife where they belong to a community.
Each house comes complete with garage-room for SUV and 'compact', while six-lane highways link the 'resorts' and 'communities' to the ubiquitous golf course and nearby freeway. Walking is confined to planned-out parks (to which one drives), while public transport is usually voted down by residents as either wastefully expensive or surreptitiously socialist.