We have created neighborhoods designed for a tiny slice of the population--and then we've separated those slices out over vast distances,and in some cases to such an extent that they don't even share the same entertainment, shopping, business or civic services. We are segregating people based on their income level, their marital status, whether they have kids or not, their cultural preferences, and by inconsequential and arbitrary tastes like"whether they want a yard or not." Our hardware is physically making real diversity within communities impossible.
Most Americans, we don't have community. We have friends, we have family, and we mayhave some work colleagues, but those relationships, more often than not, areseparated by miles of physical distance from where we actually live. Meaning: we don't live in communities. We live in storage units that providephysical shelter, but not much else. Isit a wonder that 74%* of Americans report a sense of non-belong in their local"communities"? That'scrazy! While there may be numerouscontributing factors to the skyrocketing rates of loneliness, depression,anxiety, suicidal ideation and substance abuse, I believe this in particularplays an outsized role. Wouldn't it makemore sense to start with the software we want to run, start with how we want tolive, and then back into the hardware we actually need?
Now compare a homogenous housing mix to a diverse one. A good example here in Oklahoma City isWheeler District. There is a diverse range of housing in different price rangesthat all share the same businesses and services. And what's the practicaleffect? People can stay withing the samecommunity much longer as they move through life, and their life circumstanceschange. Just imagine how this couldchange your sense of belonging, of community, over time? You can have all kinds of relationshipsthrough small, consistent touches over a long period of time, in differentcircumstances, at different locations. Neighborhoods like this have potentialthe potential for long-term community, belonging and rootedness.
I hope you can see how our architecture, our hardware, isnot neutral. It's built to run certainkinds of software, and not others. Itencourages certain behaviors and it discourages others--and you didn't haveanything to do with that. You had nochoice in the matter. The people whoregulate, design, and build the hardware chose for you. They have determined how you can live, whatyour options are, without your input. And when people ask "why" our laws and regulations are as theyare, the answer we usually get is, "because that's what the codesays", or "that's just the way it is", or "that would makeit too hard on us"--says the public works departments who are supposed tobe in service of the public good, in service to you as citizens--not in serviceof what makes their jobs the easiest.
RESOURCES & STATISTICS:
- 74% of Americans report a sense of non-belonging: Americanimmigrationcouncil.org
- Oversubscribed -https://www.amazon.com/Oversubscribed-How-People-Lining-Business/dp/0857088254/ref=asc_df_0857088254?tag=bngsmtphsnus-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=80264466333902&hvnetw=s&hvqmt=e&hvbmt=be&hvdev=c&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=&hvtargid=pla-4583863993388741&psc=1