Urban Planning: A Remedy for American Community?
In an attempt to revive American culture back to the community centric 1950's and 60's, an urban developer in Kansas City, Missouri is moving away from conventional suburbia. In modern suburbia, many of the homes are large and similar in structure to the surrounding homes in the subdivision. In contrast, this urban planner built a subdivision that has smaller, uniques homes that are very different from each other. Additionally, the new subdivision has large front porches designed to entertain neighbors, friends, and family. This plan echos Putnam because it addresses the same societal ill: the decline in American community. This urban planning venture attempts to revive the casual card games and chats on front porches by providing a living space where this is possible. The goal is to create a bond between homes instead of a random aggregate of houses.
On face, this remedy for the lack of community and involvememt is compelling, but has one major flaw. Most modern subdivisions are composed of similar houses because it is more efficient to build several similar houses instead of several differet houses. The benefits of this efficiency are twofold for the comsumer: 1) houses that are built efficiently are less expensive and 2) houses that are built efficiently allow for more houses to be constructed. The creation of this urban planning venture may lead to the construction of simply another wealthy neighborhood rather then a bonding community. Moreover, there is no compelling evidence to suggest that this venture will bridge into the community at large. Rather, this venture may serve to unite the neighborhood but keep all other participation (clubs, leagues, ect.) at the same rate. In conclusion, this neighborhood echoes Putnam because it recognizes the decline in American community but does not necessarily solve for this harm.