Monday, October 18, 2010

Rouse Columbia

September, 2010:
Ah, another pleasant trip to Columbia, Maryland. Between the three roads of Governer Warfield Parkway (said sternly), the Little Patuxent, and Broken Lands Parkway (again, said sternly), lies the Mall at Columbia, the trianglular epi-focus of this invented community.

A community invented in the fifties by Mr. James Rouse, as a "satellite" city in the Disney mold- a style manual, stucco/futurist development, imaginary names of Indian American royalty, a monorail, and easy access off, of course, I 95.

Racquetball, an "architectural" sport, was also invented in the fifties, by Joe Sobek. The synthetic, blue bouncy ball acts as a vector to amplify the dueling players' energies, to create a chaotic system within a poured concrete box.

On Hickory Ridge
Cordage Walk
High Beam Court
Charter Oak
Bridlawn Terrace
East Wind Way
The Bluffs at Hawthorn
Avalon Symphony Woods
Howard Community College (Rouse Centre).

I wrote this Utopian poem in the morning, while cruising the roads of Columbia. Later on that day, I got so mad, I knife-handed the dash board so hard the glove-compartment flew open. In the fifties, Rouse made a deal with the local government to buy Indian burial grounds, "knob hills", and also low-lying swampland, to build his community on.

This "cursed land" can poke through in places; a marsh here, a sulphur spring there. The technique is often used- cover an Indian burial ground in aesphalt- a way to steal solemnity from the ancients for the benefit of the profane and ultra-modern.

My mouse pointer is pulled towards the darker corners of this google map:

Environmental Area

Lake Kittamaqundi

Wilde Lake

Intersection of Broken Lands and Columbia Pike

1 comment:

  1. interesting that native-american life relied on intimate knowledge of the land whereas RouseWorld is predicated on being oblivious to it. helps explain the strange melange of quasi-indian and english country manor place names - we want you to think of anywhere but here!