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Plaza Esparto

Plaza Esparto (Click image for source)

There’s this question that sort of plagues me. It has to do with the individual perceptions we have about the world. There is no accounting for taste, as they say. And I have come to terms with the fact that there are people out there who have different ideas about what is attractive and what the meaning of beauty is.

But the question that I keep coming back to is could it be that aesthetics simply isn’t an issue of significance to many people? Certainly there are people out there, who just don’t have an opinion on such things and go about their lives with other things on their mind—more practical things, I imagine they would tell themselves.

The reason this idea so troubles me is because aesthetics—for me at least—when it comes to our cities and towns is closely aligned with function. Of course this isn’t the case with some people. Garishness and extravagance is what attracts a good many people. But at least that would be an explanation for why some people choose to live in poorly designed and planned homes and communities. But what of the communities that seem to lack all sense of design? Considering only a singular function without any consideration of how that function exists in relation to anything else. The bedroom communities or big box malls.

It comes down to three scenarios, I guess:

  1. Communities that strive for an attractive and livable environment that can be enjoyed by many.
  2. Communities that aim for grandeur and extravagance; whose aim perhaps is wealth with the assumption that everything else will fall into place if there is enough money.
  3. Communities who don’t really have an interest in community at all; a more individualistic conglomeration of inhabitants that just want to be left to their own devices. They have no desire for an attractive town or city. Their inclinations are insular and—at the risk of sounding insulting—parochial.

This, I think, is an interesting issue, because it also seems to align with our current political environment. It is our new three-party system. And it needs to be examined more closely.