Really insightful critique, which reminds me of Kenneth Frampton's despair about the role of architecture in the modern megalopolis. Thanks for pointing me to the Pope essay, look forward to reading it.

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Indeed it is disheartening to see the way architects have been obsessing over the urban core to the neglect of everything else. My intellectual engagement this side of architectural theory is limited and mostly comes via Wolfe's "From Bauhaus to Our House" and Venturi's "Learning From Las Vegas"; that latter book, especially, I would have expected to guide architects toward a more inclusive view of the suburbs. However it seems they have disregarded Venturi's advice.

Your points about he lack of public space were quite appreciated. It is harder and harder to find neutral ground for the kinds of half-informal, half-serious talk that is often uncomfortable when held in one's own home, although I would hope that coffee shops would make a resurgence in this area (sadly, however, they are the kind of business that struggles the most during the process of gentrification; the large, rambly, open-late coffee shops get replaced with Starbucks once the developers buy up the old neighborhoods).

Perhaps Arcade Fire's question at the end of "Mountains Beyond Mountains" —"Will we ever get away from the sprawl?" — must be answered in the negative.

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