Redefining Urban Beauty

The bridge over the train tracksThis weekend I came to the sad realization that I live in an unattractive neighborhood. No, not the people, we are an amazing multicultural, age-mixed population. The land and the structures, though, are simply ugly.

I always have my phone, and sometimes my camera too, looking for something – anything- to do my area proud. But all I see are apartment buildings and single family (or two family) homes in shades or greige and brick. Tiny lots with some landscaping and maybe a peek through the double front windows show signs of life inside.

But that’s where the beauty lies: each individual home looks as unique as the people who live in it. I would guess that every apartment in my line, with the exact same layout, would look different. There’s no way anyone’s home looks like mine, with a few furnishings brought with me from my suburban previous home and others, cool finds sourced from garage sales and Craigslist. (Yes, many were bought in normal stores!)

To be sure, there is a variety of shopping and dining; I’m never bored. But I miss living near salt water and some color. Last week I attended a terrific fair in a waterside town and despite the booths and attractions, couldn’t get enough of the shoreline.  Moving there is not an option. That could add a whole hour or two to my daily commute, not to mention about $300.00 per month for the train.

High-density living is efficient: the smaller the dwelling, the less resources are used. It costs less to heat apartments than detached houses. Most of us  take mass transit, using less car fuel.  We walk. We buy less junk because there isn’t room to hoard.

I like that. I just wish there could be a little more pretty.


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