We live in boxes, work in boxes, drive on grid-shaped box-like streets. We take home our food in boxes, stare into computer boxes, slip discs into game boxes, take movies out of DVD boxes to watch on TV boxes. We drive in boxy little cars and read square-shaped books.
Sometimes, visiting the streets I grew up on, I feel like a caged bird who has come back to revisit the cage, afraid someone will shut the door on me again. Being in the same old faceless stretch of strip mall sprawl from one end of California to the other makes me itch in my skin, a sense of doom seemingly lurking on the horizon.
“Is this all there is?” I think, and I begin to fear that the future for the entire world is shopping at Target and driving endlessly back and forth, schlepping more and more useless stuff packaged in plastic and cardboard and bags and more plastic, back and forth, up and down freeways, from table to garbage to landfill and on and on.
Human beings have decided to build easy, square shapes and lay down simple square diagrams, to make things easy. We’ve compartmentalized things inside things to keep them sanitary, for easy transportation, because its cheap.
Many of our methods lack imagination, have no thought for the future beyond now, now, now and generally drive me nuts. Ever since I watched a video about our dwindling water supply at Great America as an eight-year-old kid, I’ve suffered a buzzkill in the form of lack of enthusiasm for many aspects of the wasteful ways of our convenience-focused modern society.
Give me wide open spaces, roaming, freedom, creativity. Victorian architecture. More bicycles, locavores, farmer’s markets, vintage throwback careers. I really liked an article I read recently, about old-school jobs that are making a comeback, including butchers, milk maids and cloth diaper services.
Give me a world more like Alice in Wonderland’s — something other than the bland stretches of strip mall, freeway, suburb, strip mall, freeway, suburb I find harder and harder to escape on a repeating film reel loop. Or maybe a zombie apocalypse.
Here are some examples of houses that are a little different from the same old, same old, for a start.
- Awesome tree houses
- Shipping container houses that are square but still awesome
- Yurts (I want a yurt!)
- A shell-shaped house
- This square house is actually OK because it’s zombie proof
- Check out the Kansas City Public Library!
- Or cities, including Dubai and Chicago, with amazing architecture
- Creepy urban decay at Six Flags in New Orleans