Posted by: Mark Nielsen | August 22, 2007

Road Rant: Less Is More

While driving home from my mother’s last weekend (an hour’s ride that I’m pretty bored with after 20+ years), I proposed a radical idea to Sue. Now I want to see if it will get any traction on a national basis. The idea: a complete one-year moratium on all road construction, on both highways and local roads.

Whadya think?

I realize that in crowded northern climates like the Chicago metro area, thanks to winter weather and big brutal trucks in particular, roads can get pretty bad over time. So maybe it is work that has to be done. But does it always have to be done? Once every three miles, from April to November? Will a road with two lanes ever leave both of those lanes open for a full five-year stretch, or are our “developments” and civic ambition too compulsive, as we chase the illusion of a perfect infrastructure? Plus, who’s paying for all this road/sewer/tollbooth construction? Any chance we can improve our schools with that money, or get better medical coverage for our citizens instead?

There’s a biblical concept called the jubilee year, where the whole society just decides to give each other a break, in various ways, for a year. So I’m just saying, when is my car’s jubilee? Who do I talk to if I want to say “No more stripmalls, please”? Why is “new home construction” the gage so many people use to measure societal health?

Finally, just so I’m not coming across as utterly whiny today, let me say I am in favor of one kind of construction: Legos. Check out this amazing artist, Nathan Sawaya, who does great life-size sculptures out of Legos:

Green, Nathan Sawaya (July 2008, 27 x 70 x 15)

"Green", Nathan Sawaya (July 2008, 27" x 70" x 15")

To see more of his work, check the CNN gallery.

So cool. (Saw Nathan on the Colbert Report, of course…) 

I wish we could build all our buildings, and roads, and cars, and everything else, out of Legos. Even though the stuctures would be more fragile, wouldn’t that just encourage us to be a lot less brutal in our treatment of the earth? Plus the plastic roads wouldn’t get potholes nearly as quickly.


  1. L’Eggo My Lego Art

    I so have a new hero, Nathan Sawaya (), Lego artist extraordinaire.

    My mom, via my sister, told me about this segment on The Colbert Report () the other night; a guy earning between 20,000 to 30,000 dollars for his Lego creations…ZOMG!
    This i…

  2. This is lame…how could you put such boogerish things on here?!
    like seriously wth is wrong with you?!?!?!?!

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