The more I travel these days, the more I feel as though as I never left home. The Detroit burbs look just like the Chicago burbs, which look just like the Atlanta burbs. The Gap? Check. Subway? Check. CVS? Check. Kinko’s? Check. It’s true in smaller towns as well. How comforting. And how boring.
The same thing is happening to towns in the UK, says Andrew Simms, policy director of the New Economics Foundation in London. “This identikit commercial culture isn’t just killing diversity,” he writes. “It undermines democracy and attacks our sense of place, belonging and well-being.”
His group has developed a survey to gauge how clone-like a town is. You walk down the main street and count the chains (5 points), independent stores (50 points), and types of stores (5 points). To see where your town ranks, go here, scroll down, and look for the survey link on the right.