The Disappearing Village

Max Staples


The idea of the village has never been more popular. The word is applied across time, and place, and even projected into cyber-space. Yet never has Western society been so cut off from the traditional village, or known so little about it. This paper looks at popular conceptions of the village, and the current view that the village is a place of positive community values. It traces the history of the village in the Western imagination and shows that traditionally, the village was ignored, or denigrated. It considers the motives of developers and planners who call their projects ‘villages’ and asks if the qualities of human scale, individuality, and community interaction are the very thing they lack.



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