In response to A.C.’s “Island Theories” edition of Fresh Eggs, where two wide eye’d chickens ponder “the anthropological effects of living on an Island… having physical limits [and] shore sealed resources” and A.C. questions the “patterns that emerge in consideration of [an island’s] range of proximity” (see below) I would like to similarly ponder the anthropological effects of a place characterized by great expanses of land, such as Canada.

Most of Canada is defined by disgusting sprawl. Save for the core of some of its inner cities and small towns, travelling throughout Canada presents a series of highway interchanges, strip malls and monotonous car scale suburbs — all these features are consistent throughout the country — what changes are the natural landscapes that frame the car-centric developments: mountains behind big-box parking lots, prairies surrounding suburban single family homes, fast food alleys by great lakes, strip malls by the ocean.

Obviously the reasons for the suburban monotony that characterizes most of Canada are myriad and complex. But to isolate one, I often think of how expansive Canada is — and that a major reason our country is designed the way it is – incredibly inefficiently, stretching laterally for kilometres – is because there’s simply no need for intelligent, efficient design. Our space is practically infinite, so why build densely? The social effects of Canada’s vast geographic expanses of land are easily read in the sub- and interurban landscapes.

To illustrate this theory further, I often point to the Netherlands. The country is incredibly small for it’s population (a density of 401.7/km2, compared to Canada: 3.41 people/km2), so small, that the Dutch have become famous for reclaiming land from the ocean. Here, there is an incredible need for efficient land use, and this is apparently the case (though I have not been there, I look forward to exploring the Dutch urban landscapes and countryside).

This is my “expanses of land” theory.