Skip to Navigation

Hawaii: "It's just like home"

I was initially struck by how much Honolulu looked like various cities with which I interacted during my childhood. The houses have the same relatively contemporary architecture. Low walls separate houses, which sit close to each other and touch the sidewalks with their external walls, their inner yards protected from wall-climbing miscreants by security perimeters made of mortar and broken beer bottles. I suppose that to some this walled-ness would seem forbidding or unfriendly. To me, it just reminded me of neighborhoods in Lima, Bogotá, Quito, Santiago (and, from the "forward memory" of one year later, Mexico city, Seoul and São Paulo). It might be interestinq to see if it's a function of tropicality, more recent development, Asian influence, or what.

I suppose it's a testament to how much urban planninq in the US seems to have had two phases: one, in the 1800s, when it happened, and then the period after that, when it didn't. It's as if the US skipped the time period when other cities of the world were re-inventing/buildinq themselves in the 50s and 60s. Maybe that's why sprawl seems to be such an exclusively 'Merican phenomenon.

Between the houses, the streets which look like streets in S. America, the long rows of walls, and the tropical plants, I couldn't stop myself from saying, over and over, "It looks just like Bogotá/Medellín/Cartagena/Quito/Lima/San José/Panama City...".

Soon enough, this became a joke to Erica, Dylan, and Jason.


Syndicate content