Lonely Neighborhoods

I could never live in one of those housing developments where all the houses look exactly the same. They are devoid of personality. It would feel like living in a storage facility to me. A place where people are warehoused. Communities like that have no soul.

Have you ever noticed that some neighborhoods seem more lonely than others? In some places, you see no one out on the sidewalks. Even the cars disappear into their own little garages, and don’t emerge again until it’s time to take someone to work or school. It’s positively dreary.

I prefer more vibrant neighborhoods, where everyone gets to be unique and has a reason to get out and mingle. I finally figured out what makes these places different. It’s completely a matter of zoning.

If you have small businesses mixed in with the housing, people are more apt to know their neighbors. They also get to know the people running the businesses. You eat at the local café. You walk to the library and the corner store. There are playgrounds for the children. People know each other’s dogs by name.

I think that neighborhoods that are all business or all residential are a blight on the landscape. They do not speak to the most basic human need to interact. We already have too much temptation to hide in our houses and stare at our televisions. We need incentive to get out there and engage with one another. Without that, we have even more reason to be polarized.

If a study hasn’t been done already, I think someone should look into the rate of depression as it correlates to the type of neighborhood in which one lives. I think the results would be quite interesting. In the meantime, I think more city zoning commissions should take actual human beings into account when planning livable spaces.

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