Revisiting & Rethinking Soleri’s Map of Despair

One of the lingering thoughts from my reading of Soleri’s Magnum Opus City in the Image of Man was the Map of Despair. Its an idea put forward by environmentalists who lament the imposition of a grid like structure over natural systems in so called developed areas. Actually what I interpret Soleri as referring to is the aesthetic and sensory impact of over-development.

The idea of over-development relates to the current situation of humanity on many levels and layers of reality perception. For example it can range from bloated military and health care costs to elevated levels of obesity in affluent nations. It also can be evident in the way everything has been mapped out and fenced off with the modern grid.

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