Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Strip Malls Are Right and I am Wrong; The Beast & The Payoff

So I bitch a lot.  It is something that I've always loved doing as it is the dumping portal of my inner cynicism.  I also LOVE being right.  Doesn't everyone love being right?  How often do you hear, "Man I love being wrong."  You might hear the words, "I'm glad I was wrong."  But people only use that term when they are talking about actually being right.  "Man, I thought I had HPV - glad I was wrong."  No one ever spurts the words, "I didn't think anyone sold fake weed anymore - glad I was wrong."  Being right is something we are taught from the time we enter this world - be right, do the right thing, right and wrong, what's the right answer, right is good and wrong is bad.  I'm trying to teach myself to be comfortable in the fact that I am wrong.  Hell, even to just admit I'm wrong has become 10 times easier for me in the past 5 or so years after I became conscious of how much of an asshole I was becoming.  It is another area where comedy saved my life because in comedy you have to admit you are wrong, be okay with it and do more of that wrong thing that everyone is laughing at.  The way our brains are wired through our development though is to be right - how many people become insecure in front of others?  Seriously, how many people take a stage and stand in front of a crowd of people they don't know because they don't want to do something 'wrong'?  Tons!  Even some people don't feel comfortable admitting their own mistakes to themselves or those closest to them.  Damn!!  It's nuts, right?  Why?  Why do we do this?  Some of the greatest art and inventions in the world come on the heals of great mistakes.  And things are only 'right' because we think or say they are - it doesn't actually mean they are right.  I'm sure there is a Battlestar Galactica episode that covers this topic.  HA!  That fucking show.  I almost finished it, but it got to be too much like Lost towards the last seasons.  And if there is one show I couldn't get on board with it was Lost.

But!  I digress back to bitching and the title of this entry - Strip Malls Are Right and I am Wrong; The Beast & The Payoff.  I've been in Edmonton and surrounding area for the past four months or so now and have noticed something that is extremely profound to me - every where I go there is a strip mall - it doesn't matter if it's Edmonton North, South, East or West; if it is Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, St. Albert, Sherwood Park or Mill Woods there it is. The late 20th century piece of architecture that I think any architect with half of a taste bud left would look at and think, "Wow, that is one ugly and inefficient piece of shit."  Is that too harsh?  Am I alone with this point of view?  Can you honestly say that you find comfort in seeing the beauty and practicality of a strip mall?  You can?  Fuck you, no you can't.  They're pieces of shit and we all know it.  Only the developers love them and it isn't for any other reason than the fact that they make tons of money.  I CANT STAND HOW THEY ALL LOOK EXACTLY THE SAME WITH THE EXACT SAME STORES IN THEM. (nice segue way there am I right?)  Where is the diversity in this type of development?  I could literally be driving by the strip malls on highway 16 in Spruce Grove and not even notice the difference if I were driving by the strip malls on 138th.  There is no personality to our neighbourhoods and I completely blame not only the powers in place, but also the complacent people who do nothing to change it.  Why does no one speak up about this?  Where is the community?  Where are the elected officials to take care of this shit?

I believe that the strip mall is killing our neighbourhoods and bringing nothing but homogeny to our culture.  I hope that other people can see this as well, but if not, I'll say it to myself I guess.  Who allows these buildings to continue to be built?  Who's the guy?  Who knows the guy, who knows a guy?  Who pays the community board?  Who bribes them 'mafia style' to get them to okay these one story pieces of tasteless shit?  All they are is a massive, bland, structure surrounded by a parking lot that forces anyone outside of a block of their radius' to have to drive to them.  "Really Kelly?  What makes you so right about this?  How can you shit on our beautiful strip malls?"  I'm RIGHT!!!  Please reference paragraph 1.  HA!!

Well, look at it this way - if Edmonton developers continue to build out, rather than up, what could be arguably the best farmland in the world will be completely covered with concrete and asphalt in no time.  So rather than starving ourselves of such a wonderful natural resource maybe we should consider this, "How about we put apartments on top of the strip malls?  Every strip mall should have a five story walk up residential building on top of it."  POPULATION DENSITY.  That's right.  Bring us closer together - it is a city after all and the best cities are dense, in their population. ;).

The benefits are obvious, no?  It would benefit everyone because it creates easy access for the people to patron these businesses, it would stop the need for people to be driving to just go to the store, it would decrease the amount of urban sprawl and it would create communities because people would be out and about, interacting with each other in the public spaces.  Am I wrong here?

Tell me what you think, post a picture of your favourite strip mall, leave a comment below or tweet me @kkreye with the hashtag #stripmallssuck

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