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January 18, 2018

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It's too bad Kunstler has devolved into a racist old coot.

As to your point, it seems logical to me that depressing built environments help make people who are depressed, disengaged, sometimes even violent. And most of the "communities" built since 1946, at least the ones where working-class people can afford to live, are deeply depressing.

In my experience, very few people want to acknowledge this.

Too many rats in a cage.

This was predicted half a century ago.

The column makes some good points, but even in more traditional neighborhoods, such as the one we live in when we are in Portland, a streetcar suburb that dates from the turn of the 20th century, parents drive their kids to school — safety being a consideration. Electronic media has kept neighbors eyes and those of children off the street and into each others’ lives. Chat groups in communities such as Next door are designed to counteract the isolation you write about. We belong to one in Pointe Tapatio, one of the socially engineered, automobile-dependent suburbs in North Central Phoenix and one in northeast Portland, where I am sorry to say I know about as much about my neighbors as in Phoenix.

Sad, i live in the desert 35 miles away from Central Phoenix but yet i have friends in Phoenix that do not know their neighbors as well as i do even though i do not live there. But i make it a point wherever i am to get out and walk and talk. I learn peoples first names and some of their history in AZ.
More mas tarde.

Azreb, if u r referring to the rat study at ASU school of Psychology, i think that was a study of violence in housing projects with the recomendation that federal funds should instead go to help poor folks obtain funds to buy homes in local neighborhoods thus increase pride and reducing violence? The federal program had a name that i dont recall?

Two things have contributed to the isolation of neighbor from neighbor, I think. No. 1 is television. You have to be inside to watch it. Unlike radio, tv shows are designed to be watched, so sitting on the porch and listening to the tv isn't usually practical. No. 2 is air conditioning. In the evening you don't sit on your porch because the house is hot and stuffy -- you stay inside where it is cool. This all means that home architecture has changed. Virtually no homes are designed with a front porch any longer. So the combination of the above has eliminated the virtually automatic contact one had with one's neighbors just by being more public. These are not the only reasons, but I think they may ultimately the most powerful reasons.

A/C and TV were game changers but T.R's decision to build a dam and not declare all the SW a roadless wilderness will eventually kill us all!

Cal-T.R. was the foremost believer in manifest destiny of the US.This included making the great desert into liveable space.Unfortunately,we have loved it to death and I feel fortunate to have a cabin in Flagstaff to retreat to.I guess the Roosevelt dam will just be another of the unforeseen consequences faced by man.

Modern society is based on respect for other people's desires to buy what they want and live how they please. Social conservatism itself has devolved to little more than disapproval of some other people's choices. Into this mix, you find interesting cultural contradictions like celebrating untrammeled capitalism while blaming lax social standards on wrong thinking like, say, tolerance.

I don't think it was possible after WWII to avoid this wholesale transformation of society. People were busting loose from old norms and living large. They liked cars, modern ranch houses, television, and fast food. There are other nations and societies where this didn't occur as rapidly but almost every first-world nation now has ceded to the individual much more autonomy than used to exist.

So, how do we live as if other people not only matter but have value beyond their ability to make us happy or give us pleasure? I'd like to suggest this means respecting them and modeling, perhaps, the behavior you would want them to exhibit. That's it. I think Kunstler's mistake is to take change as a personal affront. He's a first-rate writer and a second-rate sensibility. He's entertaining but also frustrating for this reason. Like many other doomers, he's in love with the darkness of his own bad moods.

I'm in Phoenix for a couple of weeks and I'll admit my own bad mood. The dreary homogeneity of its vast urban form makes me want to take solace in movies and music. That said, I'm struggling to see the people here as maybe more wonderful than I was capable of seeing. Or, as Kunstler liked to say, "it's all good".


" I'm struggling to see the people here as maybe more wonderful than I was capable of seeing. "You have to remember these are the same people who voted Trump into office.

That said, we must let people, regardless of how we feel,make their choices and live with the consequences .That is what makes us different from other countries and why we have had a history of peaceful change of government every four to eight years.So like you said "it's all good"

Sorry boys, greed pollutes and hate destroys. Always has, always will. It is not all good and we cannot be enablers.

Another thing that makes us "different" from other countries is historical amnesia.

We keep re-fighting our battles. Battles some of us thought we had won.

You know, like worker's rights, civil rights, voting rights, women's rights, gay rights.

Next up, the return of the back alley abortion, courtesy of the Republican party.

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