People often bemoan the spread of malls, suburban strips, subdivisions, and other sprawling places in contemporary America. But are these places as bad as critics claim? In Sprawling Places, David Kolb questions widely held assumptions about our built environments.
Are contemporary places as bad as some critics claim?
Are we building "non-places"?
Are we imprisoned in a universal Disneyland?
In this text I argue against the concepts used to attack contemporary places as inauthentic or unreal or totally commodified. I develop a new critical perspective that emphasizes the need for complexity in places and fights against oversimplification. We can get beyond criticisms that concentrate on the problems of place today without also seeing their new possibilities.
Do our new kinds of places make room for new kinds of community? With places being themed and the past thinned for easy consumption, what can be done?
Contemporary places can be improved if we understand their new modes of unity and linkage. Besides exposition and argument, this site also contains narrative scenes of places today, and reflections about philosophical issues lurking in the background.