Symbolic Landscapes...

Thus we come to the ineluctable observation that the key landscape symbol in late twentieth century America is not the home but the highway, and community is not so much a discrete locality as a dispersed social network traced on the landscape by the moving automobile. In many ways the automobile rather than the house seems the most powerful instrument and symbol of our basic values. Through it we express our individualism, status, freedom, love of mobility and change, as well as our search for security. It carries us effortlessly to all those amenities and services made familiar and profoundly democratic by the nationwide uniformity of the McDonalds, Holiday Inns, and a hundred other franchise operations. But a nagging question hangs over this scene: can this kind of atomized dispersal of people living in motorized and electronic connection with their environment and with one another be called a "community" ?

-D. W. Meinig
The Interpretation of Ordinary Landscapes (1979)
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