Design is everywhere in our lives, perhaps most importantly in the places where we’ve just stopped noticing. 99% Invisible is a weekly exploration of the process and power of design and architecture. From award winning producer Roman Mars. Learn more at <a href="http://99percentinvisible.org">99percentinvisible.org</a>.<br/> A proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Learn more at <a href="http://radiotopia.fm/">radiotopia.fm</a>.
June 17th, 2011
Episode 32 of 256 episodes
When people critique cul-de-sacs, a lot of the time, they’re actually critiquing the suburbs more generally. The cul-de-sac has become sort of like the mascot of the suburbs– like if suburbia had a flag, it would have a picture of a cul-de-sac on it. Cul-de-sacs by definition aren’t well connected to other streets and they are far away town centers. People can argue whether or not these are pros or cons, depending on what lifestyle choices they prioritize. For little kids, cul-de-sacs can be great, but they do have some real, quantifiable design flaws. Imagine being a garbage collector, or a street cleaner, instead of driving down one long street and collecting all the garbage from that street, then taking a right onto the next street and so on, you have to turn around in all of these cul-de-sacs over and over again. It takes more time and uses more gas. They’re expensive for governments to maintain, and now, governments are starting to enact regulations against them. Producer Katie Mingle talks with Matt Lassiter about cul-de-sacs, the pitfalls of suburban design, and of course, E.T.