Shared Space, Spontaneity, and Friendship

suburban livingAfter I wrote this post about creating culture, community, and public spaces, I came across an article on Vox about how our housing choices make adult friendships more difficult.

The Vox post reveals the social benefits of spontaneous interaction and shared common spaces, contrasting Americans’ car-dependent, walled-off lifestyles with co-housing and other options. At one point he laments the lack of non-commercial public spaces:

Those of you who are married with kids: When was the last time you ran into a friend or “dropped by” a friend’s house without planning it? When was the last time you had a spontaneous encounter with anyone who was not a clerk or a barista, someone serving you?

Where would it happen? What public spaces are there in which you mix and mingle freely with people on a regular basis? The mall? Walmart? How about noncommercial spaces? Can you think of one?

Here’s another great quote from the article:

But I do not think we should just accept that when we marry and start families, we atomize, and our friendships, like our taste in music, freeze where they were in college. We shouldn’t just accept a way of living that makes interactions with neighbors and friends a burden that requires special planning.

If you are into urban planning and car-free living, then this is definitely worth a read!

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