Sunday, May 19, 2013

Good fences make good neighbors?

In the file under pathetic behavior, a video came to my attention this week. CPTED creates defensible space by dividing space into semi-private and private zones. Occasionally this is done with fencing. I've blogged on fences before.

Some think fences are signs of mutual respect. Robert Frost's famous poem "Mending Wall" re-popularizes Plato's and later Ben Franklin's phrase "good fences make good neighbors". At the end of his poem Frost asks, "Why do they make good neighbors?"

One blogger I've read believes good fences represent the equality of neighbors while protecting the independence of each. For him keeping fences in repair is good citizenship. Another contends fences "maintain the fabric of community."


It's true the fabric of a community is maintained by mutual respect with minimal ambiguities. But if only a fence can do that then how much "mutual respect" really exists? Can't neighbors reach a respectful, reasonable agreement to balance privacy with communal sharing?

The bulldozer-caper in the video above suggests the answer: No! (At least for the ill-tempered or the insane). Fences, apparently, don't make good neighbors. Good neighbors make good neighbors.