New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Happiness is a Warm Neighborhood

April 14, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Ecology, Family, Jay Walljasper

Designing Our Communities on ‘Common Ground’

by Jay Walljasper

Biology is destiny, declared Sigmund Freud. But if Freud were around today, he might say “design is destiny” — especially after taking a stroll through most American cities.

The way we design our communities plays a huge role in how we experience our lives.  Neighborhoods built without sidewalks, for instance, mean that people walk less and therefore experience fewer spontaneous encounters, which is what instills a spirit of community to a place. That’s a chief cause of the social isolation so rampant in the modern world that contributes to depression, distrust, and other maladies.

You don’t have to be a therapist to realize all this creates lasting psychological effects. It thwarts the connections between people that encourage us to congregate, cooperate, and work for the common good. We retreat into ever more privatized existences. (more…)