This excellent column by Anna Quindlen, titled "Put ‘Em in a Tree Museum," ponders the fallout from overdevelopment. For example, the bald eagle may be back but how long can it last, with its habitat fast disappearing? And when will this very local issue start to reach momentum, like the dangers of smoking finally did after the findings of the ’70s? What does it take?
Well, a pretty radical shift in land use, if you ask me. As much as I love my 1/3 acre in the burbs, if we all take up that much land pretty soon there’s no more open spaces. (300 million and counting.)
Which reminds me to show you Takoma Village, the first urban co-housing development in the U.S., in the nearby Takoma section of D.C. If you’re not familiar with the concept, they’re communes for grown-ups. First popularized in Denmark (where else?), the movement is spreading even here in me-me-me America. This one features such shared facilities as a large dining area and kitchen, playroom, workshop, gym, library and gardens. And it’s 2 blocks from a subway stop, so residents can ditch their cars. To learn more, check their website.
Now I’ve followed Takoma Village from early planning to now-thriving not because I’m an anti-sprawl activist but because my friends are part of its community. And my personal reaction has always been "Great, love it, just not for ME," which makes me feel downright anti-social. Too many meetings! But I’ve gotta think this is part of the big answer to the mushrooming problem of overdevelopment.
So how about their lovely central garden? The resident gardener is a buddy of mine and he’s even incorporated some of my passalong plants, so I admit I’m biased. But notice that in a community like this, even nongardeners get to live among lush personal gardens – and yard space isn’t wasted on them, either.
Click to enlarge the photos.