Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The Great Good Place

Ray Oldenburg begins the first chapter of his book The Great Good Place with the following passage:
A number of recent American writings indicate that the nostolgia for the small town need not be construed as directed toward the town itself: it is rather a "quest for community" (as Robert Nisbet puts it)--a nostalgia for a compassable and integral living unit. The critical question is not whether the small town can be rehabilitated in the image of its earlier strength and growth--for clearly it cannot--but whether American life will be able to evolve any other integral community to replace it. This is what I call the problem of place in America, and unless it is somehow resolved, American life will become more jangled and fragmented than it is, and American personality will continue to be unquiet and unfulfilled.
Max Lerner
America as a Civilization
I thought this was a prescient statement for 1957. It seems very relevant to the conversations happening in South Pas. I wonder if this is a general trend in communities across the country. The City of Claremont appears to be going through a similar future-envisioning process.


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