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Dupont: A ‘Stepford’ city for corporate migrants?

The Reddit section on Olympia tends to get a lot of questions from people interested in moving to the area. The quality of the answers vary. I often wish that more “green” perspectives were offered. However, once in a while a few commentators present really interesting thoughts.

As a case in point, 2342343249345453 stated:

“I sincerely hope you’ll reconsider (moving to the Olympia area). Emigrate, don’t colonize. This sort of attitude, people from out-of-town picking random spots on the map due to a mixture of cheap land prices and whimsy, ignoring the local culture and just making up the difference with their cars is what created this sprawl and commute problem to begin with. If you were keen enough on Olympia to get a job here, I’m assuming you’re committed for the long-term, right?

If Olympia is just another brief stop-over in a larger corporate migratory pattern (hope this doesn’t sound negative), just live with the other ‘I’m just here for the project’ folks in Hawks Prairie or Dupont. They are equipped to support that lifestyle without causing problems for the rest of the area.”

Mockinbird responded to the mention of Hawks Prairie and Dupont by noting, “I get that impression about those areas, too. Dupont has a very ‘Stepford’ feel to it, IMO.”

Equating Dupont with the satirical thriller novel The Stepford Wives is hilarious in light of how much that city has trumpeted being a “planned community” that “became a model for New Urbanism and Smart Growth movements.”

The principles of new urbanism sound reasonable enough. They include walkability, street connectivity, mixed-use development, aesthetically pleasing architectural design, traditional neighborhood structures, increased density and green transportation. Enough of these principles have rubbed off on Dupont that it doesn’t look like a generic California suburb. Yet the city does have a synthetic quality that is very different from Olympia’s older neighborhoods.

I wonder if Dupont’s designers would be surprised to hear their handiwork criticized in this way?

— S. Salmi


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