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What an Innocuous Piece of Plastic Says About Our Suburban Future

Suburban Starbucks models are bumming urbanists out. But they also served as a nice allegory of what the future there might hold. Scott Doyon's latest blog post explains.
October 6, 2014, 12pm PDT | Hazel Borys
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"Is the suburban Starbucks a canary in the coal mine, instructing urban reformers to abandon the ‘burbs altogether and simply direct their available energies towards the existing city instead?"

"I don’t know. But I do know this: Starbucks created an entirely new niche when they discovered people will pay vastly more for coffee if it’s delivered as an experience rather than just a product. Yet somehow, in growing to become synonymous with the typical American’s morning cup o’ joe, they’ve seemingly transcended that fact — evolving to a point where people — people perhaps trapped in our overall culture of busyness — will now forego the experience altogether, yet still pay the premium."

"What’s up with that? It certainly doesn’t bode well for taking on the status quo. It’s hard to effect change in an environment where there’s still so much money to be made delivering so little."

Doyon discusses the piece of plastic in question (the plastic "doodad" that, placed in the lid of a cup of coffee, prevents coffee from spilling in transit) as a signifier of the suburban Starbucks.

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Published on Monday, October 6, 2014 in PlaceShakers
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