Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Urban sprawl Essay -- essays research papers

  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  This Halloween, Sean Clancy had the most original costume in his southern Pennsylvania neighborhood. The base layer of his costume wasn’t very exciting at all- a flannel shirt, jeans and boots. However, the next layer really made Clancy’s costume memorable. He tucked a street sign into his belt and draped a GAP bag from his left pocket. He hung a Coke can from his thigh and pinned a Sunoco gas rebate banner on his right knee. A KFC sign was just above his left knee, and Clancy’s mask was a US road atlas. Even among all the goblins, ghouls, ghosts, and Lord of the Rings characters, Clancy was the scariest creature of them all. Urban Sprawl.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Since the emergence of prefabricated housing in preplanned neighborhoods in the 1950s, the Pleasantville ethic has brought more than half of the country’s population to the suburbs. Yet while the suburban value system has improved the quality of our lives, it has tarnished the quality of our character. This trend of modernization was recognized by Henry David Thoreau more than a century ago, when he wrote that â€Å"While society has been improving our homes, it has not improved the men who are to inhabit them. It has created palaces, but it has not been so quick to create noblemen and kings.† It seems that today’s kings and queens lord over backyard bar-b-q’s, and ride in SUV chariots. But the purpose of this speech isn’t to criticize these kings and queens. What I take issue with is the society that makes them royalty. Herein lies the problem: Our society has come to idealize a destructive vision of the American way of lifeâ₠¬â€one that puts up white picket fences to keep out our neighbors. Rather than valuing what the suburbs used to stand for—community and opportunity—now we first, embrace isolation, and second endorse exclusion.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Clancy’s roadmap Halloween mask may have been clever—but it was probably useless. Roads connecting the suburbs to other locations spring up so fast, maps can’t keep up. Many parts of the country lack public transportation that would integrate our communities rather than isolate them. According to the April 28, 2002 New York Times Magazine, â€Å"In most parts of the country, people now spend more on transportation than on medical care, education, clothing and entertainment- combined.† In Atlanta, the average person wa... ... can’t change the ours in the work week or even our commute we can take the time to make time to spend with our family and friends. Getting beyond isolation is only half the solution. Perhaps most importantly, we need to start considering the well-being of others as integral to our own well being. Being part of a community doesn’t mean just reaping it’s benefits. It means accepting that one of our responsibilities is to consider the well-being of those around us. As individuals, we need to start thinking of ourselves as part of a community, and acting knowing that what we do affects those around us. Our sprawling lifestyle simply means that—like it or not—we’ve enlarged our communities and increased the lives we effect with our actions. Pursue luxury and the American dream, but take ownership of its impacts. For the not-so-huddled masses of suburbia, there’s still something appealing about the white picket fences, the 2.2 kids, golden retrievers and even the distinguished title of soccer mom. Granted, giving up the SUV may disqualify us for membership in the manly fraternity of Those Who Haul Things, but through interconnectedness and diversity, it will make us better neighbors.

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