Monday, February 8, 2010

Paradise Without the Poor

The Paradise without the poor concept has been in existence since people could build fences. Just as Jefferson’s house on a little hill secluded him from his neighbors, the gated communities and complexes of today continue to financially segregate our cities and towns. Recently, one of the world’s most exclusive housing developments has sold all but two of its mansions. Through strict rules and requirements, the community maintains an atmosphere free of hanging laundry, dogs, and the poor. Though in Russia, this example is no different than the type of financial seclusion seen in the United States. Like the Trump Tower sitting on top of skyscrapers and class systems, Monticello quite literally devised the blueprint for modern day American self-segregation. In “An American Icon,” the author portrays the idea of republican hermitage Jefferson so embodied, stating that,

“Houses shielded their faces from the street. They were surrounded with elaborate verandas and their entrances were concealed by recesses and porticoes…the use of nooks and bay windows would allow residents a measure of seclusion even when they gathered in the social spaces of the household.”(An American Icon. P.45-46)

Today, this idea is kept alive not only through the architecture, but by district planning. America is financially segregated, placing the rich within suburban gates or beyond toll roads to ensure the poor only visit in times of gardening. On the other hand, the lower class are dissected by freeways surrounded with commercial property and trapped by walls enabling the bourgeoisies to take the freeway from one Monticello to the next and never know what exists between.

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