CPX have reviewed the latest work by psychologist and social researcher, Hugh Mackay. Apparently Hugh has picked up the link between city design and psychological and community health.
There is much Mackay wisdom to be shared here—well researched with a touch of the grandfatherly fireside chat. He has something to say about the contemporary hunger for community and he urges planners and governments to create places and spaces that encourage human interactions. He offers a sober assessment (Mackay is no Luddite) of technology and the online world. He speaks of a three-fold need of connection—with our inner selves, with others, and the natural world—each of which may suffer when we allow the virtual to replace the physical.
So as well as being aware of the dangers of replacing real relationships with virtual ‘relationships’ with strangers over the net, we also need to build in such a way that community just happens. Reports are emerging from all quarters about the need for natural meeting places where vibrant interactions occur as a part of our daily lives. We need a place with soul, a town square with life, a place that is fun to just go and ‘hang out’.
Even back in 1989 I instinctively found the cult classic “The Burbs” hilarious. I was a young bloke fresh out of high school and in my third year in the army. Yet The Burbs really tickled my funny bone. It wasn’t just the dark humour about possible horrors in the Klopeks’ house. It wasn’t just the para-military exploits of Tom Hank and his paranoid neighbours spying on the Klopeks’, and the inevitable slapstick as they execute epic fail after epic fail.
It was Corey Feldman as Ricky Butler, the teenager inviting all his friends around because (from memory) ‘some-thing’s happening… get over here because it’s awesome!’ This is not an exact quote. Anyone got the movie to help me out here? It was fantastic. It was hilarious because now that Cracker Night has been cancelled, hardly anything ever happens on a suburban street. It’s counter-intuitive. Isn’t that a bit sad?
Here’s Ricky Butler in action, just to resurrect the vibe.