Do the Suburbs Have Sacred Spaces?

“Suburbia’s Sacred Spaces”

Joel Kotkin is an Orange County Register opinion columnist, a Distinguished Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and is the executive editor of www.newgeography.com.  He has written about public policy and development of the Southern California suburbs and an interesting column article “Suburbia’s Sacred Spaces” – which was published June 21, 2013, by the Orange County Register.

Suburbia's sacred spaces

Kotkin said in part:  “From the earliest times, cities have revolved around three basic concepts – security, the marketplace and what I call ‘the sacred space.’  In contemporary America, everyone wants safe streets and a thriving economy, but what about the ethereal side, the places that makes us take note of a place and feel, in some way, a connection with its history?”

Urban planners have criticized the suburbs for years on the basis that there was what they called a “lack of permanent establishments” or sacred spaces.

Kotkin suggests that we should look in other places than the old grand and now empty church buildings and synagogues in the cities for sacred spaces – and suggest that such sacred spaces can be where children play, where people gather to recreate, parks and rec centers where we meet and greet each other, and said that these spaces can be defined by “what animates peoples feelings about place and their connections to it” and that “these places also constitute the connective tissue of suburbia.”

He argues that “sacred space in the current context is basically about home – those places where one has lived, children have played, pets have lived out their lives and where holidays, religious or not, are shared with neighbors.  Suburbia not only does not negate this kind of sacred space but, in a surprising way, nurtures it.”

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