A few blocks from my office, there's a dreary, 10-year-old strip mall fronted by literally acres of unrelieved parking lot. Though it has no fewer than five separate entrances for cars, God help anyone who dares to approach the place on foot. To reach its quarter-mile-long phalanx of storefronts, you can either negotiate the single paltry thread of sidewalk the developers saw fit to provide, or else try to cross a vast sea of dirty asphalt on foot, with cars flashing carelessly past on all sides and bearing down behind you unseen. One of the many exasperating tenets of postwar planning was the assumption that nobody would ever want to walk anywhere, anytime. Shopping centers, not to speak of downtown streets, were laid out mainly to suit automobiles and not people. Seemingly, the only time...
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