Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Monday, June 5, 2006, 12:05 AM
I have never done this, but I made the review of a book the topic of a post. The book is American Green and the review was called America’s Obsession With That Green Patch In The Yard [CS Monitor] via Planetizen, whiched hooked me and I wanted to share it.
An environmental historian ponders the cultural significance of the lawn in suburban America.
With the explosive growth of suburbs and sprawl and Americans obsession with housing and its fever pitch of the recent housing boom, I have always wondered why a green lawn was so important to many (self-included). Its not about the evils of fertilizers and chemicals, but more about the social dynamic. The review is quite thorough and a good read.
…When read through this cultural lens, lawns become an instrument of planned homogeneity. As Americans sought to fit in with one another during the cold war, writes Steinberg, “…what better way to conform than to make your front yard look precisely like Mr. Smith’s next door?”
…In his story of the lawn, the social and ecological factors often worked in coordination. Perfection became a commodity of post-World War II prefabricated housing such as Levittown, N. Y., in the late 1940s. Mowing became a priority of the bylaws of such communities.”
Its not just a suburban phenomenon:
Even in this weekend’s NYT article by Tracie Rozhon Opening Up a Duplex, Letting the Sunshine In, grass seemed to be an important design element in the reconfiguration of a duplex apartment.
In the new design, the terrace becomes the platform for yet another staircase, which leads to â€” guess what? â€” a third-level terrace built on top of what had been a second-floor bedroom. This third level is planted entirely in grass, a party oasis that has a lovely view of a nearby church.