Proximity and the automobile

I asked my good friend’s husband, an architect I’m getting to know when we travel back to Nebraska from time to time, what he misses most about Germany, his home country. He considered the question very briefly and responded with one word: “Proximity.”

By this he meant the availability of a pedestrian culture. In Germany you can walk to most places, if not everywhere, around town — at least where he’s lived. He went on to lament how everything in the U.S. revolves around the automobile. So true; so sad.

Later in the trip I was delighted to hear another friend say out loud “Cars are overrated.” My sentiments precisely, verbatim.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

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