blockitecture leaderboard

Nicing Up the City

With millions of people, Los Angeles -- like many big cities -- can be a rude place. And though it makes sense that the city can be impolite, it doesn't have to be, argues Amy Alkon in this op-ed.

"[P]eople are rude - in L.A. and many other places - because we live in societies too big for our brains. In a small society in which everyone knows each other, you can't act out the way you can around strangers. If, however, you're around people you'll never see again, you can get away with all sorts of nasty behavior.

We can't shrink Los Angeles to a more polite population size, but we can bring back some of the constraints and benefits of the small tribal societies our brains are adapted for. This actually doesn't take much."

She says that making a place feel neighborly is as easy as being neighborly.

Full Story: Rude awakening


building block set

NEW! Build the world you want to see

Irresistible block set for adults when placed on a coffee table or desk, and great fun for kids.
Red necktie with map of Boston

For dads and grads: tie one on to celebrate your city!

Choose from over 20 styles imprinted with detailed city or transit maps.

NEW! City Map Posters

Available in 9 different cities.
Book cover of Where Things Are from Near to Far

Where Things Are From Near to Far

This engaging children's book about planning illustrates that "every building has its place."