Proprietary Communities

Not Your Father's Burbclave


At the always-interesting Tomorrow Museum site, Joanne McNeil describes some of the world's most curious communities, including a futuristic ghost town in Taiwan, a collection of Virginia cottages rumored to be a secret colony of midgets, a Chinese pastiche of the American suburbs, and an experiment in "divine anarchy" that gets subsidies from the Indian government (and is accused of harboring pedophiles who prey on nearby native children).

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  1. Rather Orange County, China is a mistake largely because it was built after suburbia’s failure was widely understood. Rather than embracing Jan Gehl and Jane Jacobs’ principles of urban planning, they implemented poor land use.

    And sky rocketing housing costs due to Urban planning are not a problem?

    Seriously i know what the failures of Urban planning are…what again is suburbia’s failure?

  2. The Chinese suburbs are close enough to Mr. Lee’s Greater Hong Kong, but the others are weirder than anything Neal Stephenson came up with.

  3. Subsidized anarchy – there must be an alt rock band somewhere with that name.

  4. The “Midgetville” blurb is fascinating — because there’s at least one (supposedly) in New Jersey as well, around which identical rumors swirl (they’re retired circus performers, they’ll attack your car, etc.).

  5. Random praise for use of the word “burbclave” 🙂

  6. Rather Orange County, China is a mistake largely because it was built after suburbia’s failure was widely understood.

    Suburbia has failed? How so? Last I saw, suburbs were still drawing customers faster than cities or rural areas?

    Oh, you mean, failed to offer a subset of urban elites a way to replicate their urban elite lifestyles! But they succeed in letting people live somewhere that these self-absorbed pricks never go. That’s got to be something.

  7. There was a rumor of a midget community in San Diego, CA— or just north in La Jolla on the coast. It was supposedly called “Hobbitton” and it was where midgets who worked in the film industry or were retired from it lived.

  8. The midgetville in San Diego was actually on the edge of La Jolla, on Mount Soledad. The rumour got started the same way: small funny cabins seen from a distance. They weren’t midget sized, just small hippie shacks.

  9. “Midgets”?

    I think they prefer to be called little bastards.

  10. I heard about midgetville when I was in high school. One day in a TA’s car on the way back from a field trip, we were going to drive by but didn’t have time. I don’t know how I missed it when I used to ride on the w&od trail. Sucks – I would have loved to explore it.

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