In previous years, the settlers came to the New World and began hacking at trees to make room for their log cabins, trains, factories, etc. Now, around 1800, people didn't want to live in the stone cities. They wanted to be part of nature as well; thus, the coming of the suburbs. Unlike before, there was no making of a grid. They followed the land. There were winding roads and pathways. Nature wasn't too extensive, but it wasn't extinct either. When reading about this in Hayden's Building Suburbia, I was reminded of Thoreau's philosophy again. I thought it was interesting that people were looking back to nature for peace.
The suburbs were created as a way out for those living in the cities. They wanted to be near nature. This was a turning back from what the settlers began to do upon arrival. Rather than seeing nature as "in the way of progress," it was a natural temporary escape from reality. The people didn't like living in the over-crowded cities of the 1800s. The suburbs blocked them off from almost everything, but their familiy. Today, people tend to spend $10 at the theater, go to a bar, play video games, etc. just to find some alone time for themselves. I also think it is interesting to look at the methods we use today, which can actually cause us harm if used in excess, and the nature walk from old times, which can increase health benefits.
Of course, the block off from reality caused some people to complain because it felt more like an isolation. They were completely blocked off. One could look at this as the downside of the excess in the "nature walk" method for escaping reality.
I was also surprised to find all of the rules that one had to agree to inorder to live in a suburb. In her book, Hayden said that a person had to sign a covenant. People were not allowed to build fences on their property. They were limited to who they could sell the house to, if they chose to move--this is where race, gender, and religion differences came into play. Special care had to be taken concerning the lawn. I could understand that last one. The lawn was very prized at this time. The lawn was why people decided to move into a suburb. However, these rules are still going on today. Some of them are really strict. There was one woman I heard about who would get a ruler out and measure her neighbor's lawn to make sure it wasn't too high and make her neighbor cut it, if it was. Some of these rules seem ridiculous. If the lawn is over-grown and one could find a car buried beneath the weeds, then that's too much and something should be done. However, it seems rather ridiculous to get in trouble over an extra centimeter of grass.