Plumb Lines

April 3, 2009

Cul-De-Sac Communes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Matthew Schmitz @ 1:22 pm

cul-de-sac-2

One problem with the “Benedict option” is that people who deplore the decline of community end up withdrawing from their local communities to form smaller, more perfect ones. This ironically ends up further weakening the broad social fabric. Now, some residents of the the California suburbs have decided they can have it both ways:

The stay-at-home convenience of the cul-de-sac commune is, as Smith sees it, a solution to the biggest design flaw of its predecessors.

“In the past, utopian communities have often failed because people who started them have really insisted that the best way is to leave your old community, leave society, leave culture and start over, and it’s a valid idea in many cases, but, it also leads to failure,” she said. “So what we’re interested in doing is make them effective as part of a culture, not a counterculture this time.”

The idea of building a sustainable community-based culture in the exurban wasteland (what Walker Percy would call “Love in the Ruins”) seems well-nigh impossible so long as such developments rely on things like a petroleum-based economy.

-Matthew Schmitz

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4 Comments »

  1. Suburban residential developments are uniquely ill suited for commune-establishment. Even leaving aside all the regulatory prohibitions on turning your lawn into a vegetable garden, keeping livestock, etc., a suburban commune has all the usual drawbacks of communes like squabbling over shared resources and few of the substantive efficiencies like buildings with specialized uses.

    Comment by David Schaengold — April 3, 2009 @ 3:34 pm

  2. […] Calgary Church – Join a movement…. placed an interesting blog post on Cul-De-Sac CommunesHere’s a brief overview…started them have really insisted that the best way is to leave your old community, leave society, leave culture and start over, and it’s a… […]

    Pingback by Topics about Culture » Cul-De-Sac Communes — April 3, 2009 @ 4:29 pm

  3. This would only be remotely plausible should these cul-de-sacs include shops and businesses within walking distance which employed the vast majority of the residents in that area. Otherwise you just have commuting culture with fewer cars speeding past – a good thing, but not nearly enough to build up a healthy community.

    Comment by E.D. Kain — April 3, 2009 @ 4:43 pm

  4. “This would only be remotely plausible should these cul-de-sacs include shops and businesses within walking distance which employed the vast majority of the residents in that area.”

    That’s exactly right. And, of course, starting such businesses and shops right in a development is almost universally illegal.

    Comment by David Schaengold — April 4, 2009 @ 1:37 pm


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