I don’t fit the description of a soccer mom, but regardless I still feel the same way as the woman below who wrote to the architects of her neighborhood to voice concerns that her American dream wasn’t quite so.

Dear Architects:

I am a mother of four children who are not able to leave the yard because of our city’s design. Ever since we have moved here I have felt like a caged animal only let out for a ride in the car. It is impossible to walk even to the grocery store two blocks away. If our family wants to go for a ride we need to load two cars with four bikes and a baby cart and drive four miles to the only bike path in this city of over a quarter million people. I cannot exercise unless I drive to a health club that I had to pay $300 to, and that is four and a half miles away. There is no sense of community here on my street, either, because we all have to drive around in our own little worlds that take us fifty miles a day to every corner of the surrounding five miles.

I want to walk somewhere so badly that I could cry. I miss walking! I want the kids to walk to school. I want to walk to the store for a pound of butter. I want to take the kids on a neighborhood stroll or bike. My husband wants to walk to work because it is so close, but none of these things is possibleā€¦And if you saw my neighborhood, you would think that I had it all according to the great American dream.

The strong aversion to the car, the strong desire to walk, and the despair one feels when the place you live in prohibits you from doing that in a safe or comfortable manner. That’s most places in Los Angeles — and I imagine most places in the US — in a nutshell.