Monday, June 23, 2008
(1:59 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
Soviet-styleCR alerts us of a Bloomberg column in which it is averred that opponents of suburban sprawl "would apparently love nothing more than for the population to be confined to Soviet-style concrete-block high-rises and be forced to take state-run streetcars to their little jobs at the mill."
Let me say that I, for one, would be in favor of Soviet-style concrete-block high-rises and state-run streetcars (are there other kinds of streetcars?). As one who grew up in the suburbs, I often felt confined to my own home. It was spacious, of course, but at the same time rather lonely. Presumably in the Soviet system, I could've had easier access to friends.
Perhaps there would've even been some type of make-shift yard or playground generously supplied by the authorities. We did have a nice swingset with monkey-bars, etc., in our yard, but again -- it wasn't as much fun for just me and my sister. Even if we didn't have many friends in our stark, concrete building -- nothing really matches the hominess of cheap drywall, after all -- we would've had access to the aforementioned socialized transit system.
Indeed, even after becoming adults, we would've been able to get around without needing to personally operate a piece of expensive and quickly-depreciating heavy machinery on which we'd need to pay exhorbitant insurance premiums mandated by state law. Perhaps that trade-off would've meant working fewer hours at the good old mill! More time for family, for friends, for repainting the concrete walls. Hell, more money for paint! Though one would assume that the only color of paint available would be grey.
Oh, how I sometimes long for the stark Soviet upbringing! I imagine that it would've been possible to give people simple and rational directions to my dwelling place, rather than saying, "Yeah, go up Deer Creek Lane and then kind of follow the curve around. Then turn right and follow that curve to the left, and we're the fourth identical house on the right. It's the one with the nice big yard we never fucking use because we're working so many hours, to pay for the landscaping that we put in to keep our neighbors from bitching about our ugly yard -- which we can't actually verify that they're doing, because we never talk to them."