A few weeks ago I came across this series of Google Earth arial photos of housing developments in southwest Florida posted at the Boston Globe. It’s really worth taking a look. At first glance it’s hard not just to get carried away with them as abstract designs.
Of course when you start to think of about the lived reality of these designs, a surge of other questions might come to mind. If you lived here, where would you shop? How would you get there (and looking the complex patterns of streets–how would you find your way back)? Could you live there without a car? How much do these developments reflect the kinds of communities people would really like to live in? How much do they reflect the boom and bust cycles of credit or financial policies? How do they relate to the natural environment and what impact might they have on the environment? All of these and more are questions we’ve been talking about in the Shaping our Towns and Cities project.