Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Place versus No Place

I love places that have a unique spirit that I can feel when I'm there and that stays with me long after I'm gone. Places that have texture, character, and beauty. I've traveled all over the world to places that have become part of my mental geography and have helped shape my connection to the world. Yet the place I love above all others becauses it gives me the greatest sense of connection is America, most particularly Virginia, which is my Home.

And I'm saddened that it's becoming No Place. I live in Loudoun County, one of the fastest growing counties in America, so I have a front-row seat to how sprawl is blanketing our landscape and people with sameness. While Western Loudoun still retains much of its unique spirit, Eastern Loudoun is a sea of McMansions, minimalls and megaplexes. It might as well be Any Place since all the distinct elements that tie it to its particular location in the world are blotted out by chain restaurants, traffic-clogged highways, and vinyl siding.

In this on-line journal I'd like to explore the distinct difference between Place and No Place . . . why I feel this profound sadness when I'm in "the sprawl" . . . the impact that No Place is having on America as a whole . . . and what we can do, as individuals and community, to create real places again.

In my mind Place is a prerequisite for human happiness and wellbeing.

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