Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wall Cities

I saw a bunch of framed prints depicting scenes of nostalgic urbanism for sale at a strip mall thrift store last week.

A European village,

a European city,

and a New England village.

I only saw one print depicting suburbanism. It was an architectural visualization* for a suburban motel. Probably a Hampton Inn.

I imagine that visualization hung on the office wall of the motel's architect, developer or owner until they couldn't look at it anymore, while the former images hung on a living room wall of a home, perhaps not far from the strip mall.

You probably won't see the motel image on a living room wall in a house close to the motel. And you probably wouldn't see brick and mortar urban village neighborhoods on the streets close to the homes where their images hung.

We all might crave beauty in our built and natural environment, but flattened wall hangings appear to be one way (along with nostalgia, knicknacks, theme parks, vacations and migration) we can ignore its absence on our streets.

*idealized. The mature if boring trees in front probably wouldn't have made it through construction. The robust stand of trees in back would already have been whacked for a parking lot or speculative clearcut for more highway commercial use. And despite a hefty parking lot, there are no cars in front of the motel.

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