Cul de Sacs Really Are Important

As an intro to his comment on China on IN THE NEWS – VOL I, Groveton said that the China problem “was slightly more important” than Cul de Sacs in Virginia. Well, China is important as the comments on IN THE NEWS – CHINA attest but so is the topic of Cul de Sacs.

The annals of Paleontology, Archeology, Zoology, Anthropology and Architecture are replete with evidence that animals, including Homo sapiens and their ancestors, favor cul de sacs – nests, borrows, caves, huts, pueblos – for many activities related to reproduction, eating, sleeping, safety and loafing.

Every human dwelling Unit is a combination of halls and cul de sacs. All Urban human settlement patterns – including scattered Urban dwellings in the Countryside – are combinations of cul de sacs and halls and Streets and Roads.

Almost every high value place of human activity of Cluster, Neighborhood or Village scale is a network of Streets with Cul de Sacs for people to live work and seek recreation. See Lewenz “How to Build a Village.”

On the other hand a GRID of Roads with a monoculture of Cul de Sac Units is little better than a “subdivision” of Cul de Sac mini-Roads for most economic, social and physical activities.

(NB: There is an important difference between Streets and Roads. These differences impact human activity at all scales of settlement form the Unit to the Planet. See GLOSSARY)

The PROBLEM with “sub”urban Cul de Sacs mini-Roads is that humans bring home their Large, Private Vehicles (aka, Autonomobiles).

Bringing home the Autonomobile results in three toxic conditions:

1. Disaggregation of human settlement patterns at both ends of the Autonomobile trip. Widespread use of Autonomobiles results in dysfunction at all scales of settlement patterns.

2. Having a Large, Private Vehicle gives humans the mistaken impression they need to share NOTHING with the adjacent Households or Enterprises. Social isolation and lack of critical mass to create economic prosperity are the cumulative results.

3. A large number of citizens having to rely on Large, Private Vehicles for Mobility and Access results in Regional transport dysfunction – The Mobility and Access Crisis.

The reliance on Large, Private Vehicles is made very clear in THE PROBLEM WITH CARS.

Virginia Cul de Sacs are a prime driver of The Mobility and Access Crisis, The Affordable and Accessible Housing Crisis and The Helter Skelter Crisis – dysfunctional human settlement patterns. Virginia must evolve functional human settlement patterns soon because that is the most important and fastest step to shrink humans ecological footprint. For starters, functional settlement patterns allows citizens to drastically reduce importing and burning through Natural Capital. If citizens do not shrink their ecological footprint Collapse is on the horizon. So the Cul de Sac issue IS important.

There is no way to overestimate the impact of Cul de Sacs on the economic, social and physical disaggregation of society for the simple reason that lack of understanding of the impact of Cul de Sacs leads to activities that drive settlement pattern dysfunction.