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After being home for just over 2 weeks I have taken on an experiment, though a mostly unsuccessful one; this place isn’t meant for humans.

I have been reading a book that goes by the same name as the title of this blog, which is written by James H Kunstler. It talks of the history of the United States from the European settlers to present, with regards to how cities towns and communities were planned or happened; and how we got to the autocentric environments of today. This is not the Experiment.

“In almost all communities designed since the 1950’s, it is a practical impossibility to go about the ordinary business of living without a car. This at once disables children under the legal driving age, some elderly people and those who cannot afford the several thousand dollars a year that it costs to keep a car…This produces two separate classes of citizens those who can fully use their everyday environment and those who cannot,” Kunstler states on page 114.

Levitt and “community” developers like him actually have given us a great starting point  despite the shortcomings of suburbs and neighborhoods. I imagine a neighborhood like yours and mine where one of the foreclosed homes or run down spaces is converted to a weekly produce and artisan market and or a small locally owned market that could be walked or biked to, a plaza, a community space where instead of looking at my neighbor with suspicion I would have a venue to start a conversation through community events, through a space for public art.

That would be a small start to a big change.

Already since returning from Spain I have taken several trips to the grocery store by bike. In Spain the 1.5 mile walk was the norm and here it is a half mile closer, yet the only people I pass are the health conscious jogger, who will pass the store and later drive back to go shopping, or less-financially-rewarded.

Consider it a free gym membership. And if you want a free, brand new dryer that works in about the same amount of time, try line drying your clothes… it will work day and night, whether there is power or not.

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