What is this? A Department of Homeland Security/CIA intelligence gathering facility? A minimum security prison to house white-collar/Wall Street felons? No, it is worse. It is an elementary school in a Florida county! This is urban planning and design failing on an epic scale. 1) Built adjacent to a divided surface highway heavily used by semi-trucks. 2) Location? Wrong, wrong, wrong. 3) There are no sidewalks; 4) The school is not within walking distance of much of anything anyway so its urban functioning is completely dependent upon the automobile/school buses; 5) Two perimeter rings of fencing, one to keep the ‘bad people’ out and one to keep the children out of the retention ponds or wandering into the road; 6) When you see a public building with this much fencing, someone (i.e. the public officials) is really afraid of being sued for the most improbable of probabilities but only doing the minimum necessary in terms of cost (as opposed to building the school in the right location in the first place); 7) No visible windows; 8) I attended a high school that used the same plans for a prison in Indiana and this is much worse; and, 9) This is just one example of the mentality that builds schools throughout this county and many others in the State of Florida. However, the design of this school does multitask. It prepares our youngest generation for a future suburban life behind the walls of their gated communities… or their future life in prison. The mentality that builds schools like this one for our children is truly absurd and FUBAR.
Driving down I-95 along the Atlantic Coast to CNU 20 in West Palm Beach last month, there was nothing so jarring as coming upon these landfill mountains in the flat Floridian landscape. It’s one thing to come across these artificial hills of filth in the river bluffs along the Mississippi River or other Midwestern rivers, where the hilly topography affords some aesthetic opportunity for these behemoths to blend into the natural landscape (putting aside the issues of any potential environmental impact arising from a mountain of buried garbage). It’s another thing to find them in a landscape no more than a few feet above sea level. These are the American Pyramids, a testament to our culture of mass consumption. The Egyptians built their pyramids as tombs for the pharaohs and monuments to the gods. In America, we build our pyramids as tombs for our refuse; monuments to what we consume and mostly defecate.
Photographs by Mark David Major.
If ever there was an appropriate metaphor for today’s American society, then this is it. Instead of taking action to cut down the perilously hanging tree limb in this grocery store parking lot, someone thought a more effective measure would be to place shopping carts in a circle around the probable landing zone with cautionary tape wrapped about the carts and wait for gravity to do all the work. This is how we solve problems in today’s America. We wait for gravity to pile on instead of taking action to solve the problem. It’s an insane world!
From Concrete Blonde