Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Spotless in Suburbia

When it comes to suburbia, many planners consider  Orange County, Ca as ground zero. Last week I had a chance to stroll around in what is technically the "city" of Irvine.

But as the area is known for its suburban character, "city" is a euphemism in this case, even though there is a train station and a notable university and all kinds of successful employment and, of course, shopping. 

The subdivision in which I took the stroll is a planned community near the university, not unlike Columbia Maryland. Plenty of walkways separate from cars and streets, sidewalks, playgrounds galore, pools, community centers and a shopping center where even the dumpster and delivery area had immaculate landscaping. Everything was so perfect, so manicured, so without cracks and flaws, so free of conflict and weeds that I wished for a piece of trash to mar the perfection. Can you imagine?

So much pristine cleanliness brings to mind the downside of an antiseptic setting (Let them eat dirt) and the strength of diversity, including, yes, dirt, cracks and even trash. That diversity we know from cities. Real cities.

Klaus Philipsen, FAIA

see also the blog articles
The Dirt about Trash in the City
What Columbia can Teach us

Orange County, CA: Recreation center with pools (Photo ArchPlan Inc.)
streets and walkways are carefully separated in this particular community and streets have wide landscaped center pieces
(Photo ArchPlan Inc.)

a careful system of open spaces, playgrounds and parks permeates the neighborhoods (Photo ArchPlan Inc.)
the pathways away from streets are carefully landscaped, no sense anywhere that the area is drought stricken
(Photo ArchPlan Inc.)

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