August 19, 2003

Conceptions of space

America is a funny place. People immigrate to New York, never go beyond its suburbs and think that they've seen America. In fact, you can't even understand New York unless you've seen Dallas, Chicago, and a few other US cities for comparison. It's simply not possible to understand the scale of the place until you've done at least one major interstate drive (my first one was NY to Washington, DC, my wife's was NY to Chicago) to get a sense of scale.

Once you start looking around, you see more and more how differences in how people live, how much space they put between buildings, between each other, can affect the local culture and outlook. There's a great deal of stress in having people jammed next to each other cheek to jowl. Spreading things out changes the background noise of a place in a surprisingly pleasant way. No doubt architects and city planners have said this for centuries but as we gain more control over our surroundings and gain the ability to spread out or cluster by choice instead of need, it's something that we need to include into a new aesthetic, not that people aren't already trying.

Posted by TMLutas at August 19, 2003 10:20 PM