December 31, 2007

Bowl-Der-Ah-Doh

“People seeing the beauty of this valley will want to stay, and their staying will be the undoing of its beauty.” –Chief Niwot

Bowl-der is the perfect place for testing the hypothesis that geography determines culture. Bowl-der is, geographically speaking, a bowl of a city nestled between a high Great Plains ridge to the east and the front range of the Rocky Mountains to the west. The bowl effect makes for an interesting stew of human interactivity.

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Taking cues from the uniqueness of the land, the thoughts and actions of Bowl-der’s inhabitants are distinctly different from those who live in the surrounding geo-cultural reality. Denver is sprawl. Thus, its sense of place is scattered, which is the polar opposite of the unified feel found in Bowl-der. Despite the diversity of parts that go into its making, Bowl-der is capable of acting as one.

A nestling valley like this makes people feel at home, and one finds positivity and immense possibility in this safe zone. It’s possible to be for things–alternative energy, for instance–without feeling foolish. No scarlet letters are issued to idealists here.

The flipside to the goodness of the bowl is the fact that it is contained. Bowl-der is a microcosm, a world unto itself. While we need these hot spots of consciousness and kindness, we also need to spread the goodness found in a place like Bowl-der into everyday America.

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