Today I drove 75 minutes each way to see a friend who used to live near me. The drive wasn't bad, but I got to thinking about how much better I feel once the highway passes into the mountains and I can't see buildings from the road anymore. Nature is always beautiful; it always feels right.
But buildings and parking lots generally do not. They make me feel depressed, grody, angsty, or ill. Neon signs. Gray concrete. Featureless warehouses. Power lines clogging up the sky. Ugh. Hate it.
Of course developed areas don't have to be like that at all. There are cities people go to purely to look at.
There are residential neighborhoods with mature landscaping and cute little porches. There are main streets with cute little shops and trees by benches. It can be done!
And yet, largely, in this country . . . we don't. We have:
- cities with impressive skylines, that are gray and trashy up close
- industrial zones where everything is low and flat and oppressive, specializing in loading docks and dumpsters
- giant shopping centers that are mostly one vast concrete desert surrounded by glowing signs
- strip malls, just rows upon rows of grody little pawnshops and tobacconists
- housing developments formed by completely bulldozing a piece of woods, leveling it out, and cramming it full of giant identical boxes
- crumbling apartments that overlook parking lots