Che's Lounge

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Glenn Reynolds and Sean Kirby have composed some interesting, optimistic speculations about third places, wireless networks, and the softening border between public and private spheres. They call it the "comfy-chair revolution," which is by far the most appealing name I've ever heard for a radical social change.

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  1. Next will come the “soft pillow movement”

    Well, I wasn’t expecting The Spanish Inquisition.

  2. This is of a piece with the anti-sprawl, new urbanist movement (at least, the wing that isn’t about “don’t build a subdivision across from my subdivision.”) The 20th century, car culture, zoning mindset was all about dividing things up. This is an update of the traditional model, when residential, commercial, industrial, agicultural, and other land uses were commonly found in the same place.

  3. RE: Sean Kirby’s post

    Is the free market going to prove Marx correct?

    Weird.

  4. I considered calling my update the “warm bed revolution”, but decided no matter how far this went, nobody is going to sleep in a coffee shop.

    Well, maybe in Japan.

  5. Blah, blah, blah… the vast majority of the workforce still commute to a central store, office, warehouse, or worksite, put in their 8 to 12 hours, and go home. We shop at Target and Home Depot and Costco – get in, get what you need, get out – or, even better, we shop over the internet.

    The only people I see hanging out in Starbucks or Borders or the QVC are college students or maybe twenty-somethings with VERY BORING LIVES.

  6. “Ch?’s Lounge”

    Mr. Walker will have to spend some additional time in Purgatory for that one.

  7. I think Hollister’s is a godsend…when my girlfriend drags me to the mall with her, I go there, plop down in a comfy chair, read brain-candy magazines I wouldn’t normally pay for, and listen to some tunes.

    I’ve never spent a dime there myself, but it’s the first and last place my girlfriend goes on a trip to the mall…that can’t be bad for sales.

  8. “Whatever happened to the little Norman Rockwell store downtown?” It went OUT OF BUSINESS because nobody wanted to shop there. There’s no parking downtown, the selection is poor, the prices are high, and the service is abominable – why the hell would you want to bring THAT back.

    Thank God for Costco – the retailer of KINGS!

  9. Madog REALLY enjoys walking. Most people seem to think that walking from much further out than 2 or three parking spaces is too much.

  10. PLC! Welcome back. How’s the economy going for ya?

  11. I find it tough to believe that Mom & Pop pay worse than Wal Mart. Why do think those old people in the ads haven’t retired yet?

    Personally, I go to both local places and big box/mall stores, depending on what I need. You can’t argue with Cosco’s prices, but, unlike Madog, I’m not lucky enough to live behind a strip mall. 😉

  12. PLC:

    It’s nice to know you can get to work and the other places you need to be even if your car blows a rod. Kind of like having a big wad of “go to hell” money in the bank.

    In any case, if it weren’t for all the massive gummint subsidies to the automobile-highway complex, and all the other subsidies to sprawl, most people would live within walking distance. I believe people should be able to do whatever the hell they want on their own dime, but don’t expect me to pay for it.

  13. >>In any case, if it weren’t for all the massive gummint subsidies to the automobile-highway complex, and all the other subsidies to sprawl, most people would live within walking distance.

  14. Lazarus:

    Zounds–we agree! My big objections are to

    1) things like FHA regs that favor homebuyers in new outlying developments over people who want to fix up nice old houses in central areas.

    2) pricing of utilities and services that charge higher rates to people in older areas to subsidize their extension to the burbs.

    3) zoning restrictions on mixed-use development like locating small businesses in residential areas, walk-ups in the business district, etc.

    4) yuppie gentrification crap like restrictions on composting toilets, rabbits & chickens, working on cars, etc.

    I actually live within fifteen minutes walk of groceries, work, a university library, and several bars, so it’s a pretty good set-up.

  15. Come to Great Falls, Montana–we still have some of that Mom-n-Pop stuff here…friendly, too.

  16. Mom and Pop won’t need a lot of parking if there are enough people who live within walking distance. They may not have everything you need, but it’s better than driving across town for a carton of milk.

  17. I live within walking distance of a walmart, two supermarkets, two department stores, a toys-r-us, a TJMax, a Marshalls, a Staples, and several other chain stores. If I wanted to go to a mom and pop store, I’d have to drive. 🙂

    I know a lot of people like mom and pop stores. Personally I prefer the “big box” and chain stores because I like knowing that every one I go to will be basicly the same. And I’ve worked for both as an employee, and I have to say unless you’re family working for a mom and pop sucks – lower pay, inflexible hours, no benefits.

  18. Why would I ever want to live within walking distance of a store?

  19. I hate big box stores, but this isn’t the alternative I had in mind.

    Whatever happened to the little Norman Rockwell store downtown? Like Pop’s Drugstore, where the proprietor bellows “Either buy something or get the hell out! This ain’t no goddamned li-berry!”

    *Sigh* I guess that’s just another part of a world I’ll never see again.

  20. Kevin,

    Does it bug you at all that the urban form we’re celebrating was the outcome of feudalism and industrial capitalism?

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