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2006 03 04
Ave Maria
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A new kind of town is making its way onto the landscape. We wonder, will Toronto and environs soon be boasting similar examples of this xenophobic, 21st century phenomenon?

The founder of the ubiquitous Domino's Pizza chain in the US launched a new university town in Florida. Called Ave Maria, the town boasts some very restrictive ideas about the idea of "community." Their marketing literature says:
The Town of Ave Maria is believed to be the first modern town to be developed in conjunction with a University. Located on what was once largely agricultural land, it has been designed to be a compact, walkable, self-sustaining town that reflects the community's rural roots while offering a full range of residential options and commercial services to its residents.

Importantly, Ave Maria has been designed to human scale. Street networks, distinctive character, and environmental sustainability are integral to its planning. It is to be a true community, where neighbors care about neighbors, friendships span generations, and a sense of pride is felt by every resident, student, and worker.

What the literature doesn't say is that town residents must share a very narrow view of morality.

The Associated Press writes:
NAPLES, Fla. - If Domino's Pizza founder Thomas S. Monaghan has his way, a new town being built in Florida will be governed according to strict Roman Catholic principles, with no place to get an abortion, pornography or birth control.

The pizza magnate is bankrolling the project with at least $250 million and calls it "God's will."

Civil libertarians say the plan is unconstitutional and are threatening to sue.

Ever since Andres Duany started hyping his "Advanced Traditional Neighborhood Development Techniques" to the American marketplace the hyper-stratification of of cities was a fait accompli. Canada has more or less resisted this force but as the world gets increasingly complex it is easy to predict that we too will see the affluent flee our cities. After all, why risk the discomfort of rubbing up against the unknown when you can live in a community of people just like you?
[email this story] Posted by R Ouellette on 03/04 at 12:18 PM

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