This article from Vox is like the Platonic Form of my documentary. The reason for my journey, the message I have about neighborhoods, community and urban planning for Americans, the sense that friendship grows out of spontaneous repetitious, unplanned encounters, and the push towards solutions. It’s all here.
From the article:
“Our ability to form and maintain friendships is shaped in crucial ways by the physical spaces in which we live.”
“… in America we have settled on patterns of land use that might as well have been designed to prevent spontaneous encounters, the kind out of which rich social ties are built.”
“… as the habits of family and work settle in, friendships become an effort, and as every tired working parent knows, optional effort tends to get triaged.”
“For the vast majority of Homo sapiens’ history, we lived in small, nomadic bands. The tribe, not the nuclear family, was the primary unit. We lived among others of various ages, to which we were tied by generations of kinship and alliance, throughout our lives. Those are the circumstances in which our biological and neural equipment evolved.
It’s only been comparatively recently (about 10,000 years ago) that we developed agriculture and started living in semi-permanent communities, more recently still that were thrown into cities, crammed up against people we barely know, and more recently still that we bounced out of cities and into suburbs.”
“The answer, for many Americans, is that anything beyond a few blocks away might as well be miles; it all requires a car. We do not encounter one another in cars. We grind along together anonymously, often in misery.”
“Thanks to shifting baselines, most Americans only know single-family dwellings and auto-dependent land use. They cannot even articulate what they are missing and often misidentify the solution as more or different private consumption.”
My documentary, “The Space Of Our Time” is in development, and you can watch the trailer here: