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This was the one thing that really surprised me when I first visited the US in the 90s. We'd stop at a store or restaurant somewhere and the nearest neighbouring stores on either side would be 200m away, with their own huge parking lot and no pedestrian route between them. We were driving from Chicago to LA and so when we'd stop I'd want to stretch my legs, but the barriers in the way made a walk like that rally difficult. I couldn't understand why anyone would design a place like that. It was engineered around cars, not people.

Yes, and it all looks the same. We call it "Generica" :)

As an aside: this is one of the running themes in "Little Golden America", a book that chronicles a coast-to-coast American road trip underdtaken by two Soviet humorists in the 30's. The title in Russian is "Single-Story America", in reference to the flatness and uniformity of the country between the few major cities. Really fascinating account, and much of it still rings true to this day.

(My review, if anyone is interested: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2114423486)

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