Architectural Equivalent of Fast Food

I don’t want to live in a house that’s the architectural equivalent of fast food. Right now I live in a neighborhood that has a lot of diversity. The houses have character. They all look different, some of them radically so. One looks like the bungalow from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Another looks like one of the flat-roofed buildings of the American southwest.

And I don’t want my house’s yard to be part of an unending chain of unsustainable, biologically defunct ecosystem. When the lawn mower is the most productive herbivore and I have to motivate it with sweat, cursing, and gasoline, it’s not the best arrangement. Granted flowing fields of green grass are great for children to run through, but that’s what parks are for. And most yards around here don’t have enough square acreage to support more than one bored, lonely child. Unless of course you have one of those inflatable swimming pools, in which case you can entertain half the block.

There’s something about suburbia that doesn’t thrill me. When the fast food joints begin replicating themselves every ten miles you start to wonder what happened to all the character. The small business is a dying breed, and you can see it in the outskirts of every city. It’s the no man’s land between downtown and suburbia, and it’s the only place where small businesses are left. And most of them are on their way down. Urban sprawl is the new American way. Miles upon miles of concrete highway with corporate glut at every exit ramp. One of these days there won’t be any open space left.

Do I sound a little pessimistic? Maybe a little delusional? A little to extreme? Perhaps so. But sometimes it’s necessary when people have been swallowing the same old line for so long without ever stopping to wonder whose pockets are being lined and whose soul is being auctioned off.

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