Sunday, April 6, 2008

Wanna buy a house in the desert?

Throughout our history, we've seen boomtowns rise and fall. Read from the NY Times about the contrived town of Maricopa, Ariz, which stands as an icon to our disconnect with our environment. Here's a description of the place, and remember, it's in the desert 40 miles south of Phoenix.

But if you leave Penascos and head north on 347, you soon hit a very different Maricopa, one that didn’t exist at all a few years ago: a sprawling matrix of neatly planned subdivisions lining both sides of the highway. Newly paved roads with names like West Magic Moment Drive and North Enchantment Pass wind past outsize houses with tiled roofs and stucco exteriors, painted in a limited palette of adobe shades. Artificial lakes feed underground irrigation systems that keep lawns green despite summer temperatures that regularly hit 100 degrees. There are about 14,000 brand-new homes in this new Maricopa, as well as a golf course, two strip malls with big supermarkets, a few sports bars and a couple of pool-supply shops. There are also plenty of open lots where developers have prepared land for future Maricopans.
You can guess what happens next. Sure this is a story about the sub prime crisis, but it's also about the lunacy of building huge new exurb communities in the face of an unyielding natural environment, in this case the Sonoran desert. Check out this link to see where things are at now.

Our kids deserve better, but considering the disconnect our kids show with nature today, I wonder if many will learn from this revised boom town fable.