Via CityLab, Here’s a map that, if I hadn’t told you, you probably wouldn’t be able to figure out. It’s the US mapped according to the percentage of curved roads:
Here’s the description from the creator, who readily admits his data is flawed in that OpenStreetMap is not yet complete:
The Mid-west USA and Canadian prairies have the most straight roads. Nearly all of the roads there are straight. This broadly matches my theory.
Q: Does this explain anything at all about Midwestern sensibilities?
It only means that there are less obstacles to go around and less steep hills to climb. It has way more to do with geography than sensibilities.
sure but how does geography/topography affect sensibilities? are flatlanders different somehow? more stoic? more prone to gazing off into the distance blankly? more prone to speeding?
Sounds like you need to read Bill Holm’s Horizontal Grandeur. “There are two eyes in the human head – the eye of mystery, and the eye of harsh truth – the hidden and the open – the woods eye and the prairie eye. The prairie eye looks for distance, clarity, and light; the woods eye for closeness, complexity, and darkness. The prairie eye looks for usefulness and plainness in art and architecture; the woods eye for the baroque and ornamental”
My guess is that it’s because of predominantly agricultural land that’s divided up by the Public Land Survey System
Good question – I think Sheldon, Brad and Alex are all right.
And thanks for sharing, Brad! Your description of Horizontal Grandeur sure grabbed my attention as a ‘flatlander’-planner type,
Although to clarify, it’s an essay. I found it published in the compilations ‘Tallgrass Prairie Review’ and ‘Inheriting The Land: Contemporary Voices from the Midwest,’ (now on hold for me a the library!)