Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors? (revisited)

My last post has a stealthy link to a Robert Frost poem called Mending Wall. Published in 1914, Frost questions the artificial construct of a privacy wall. Today someone sent me a link to a SF Gate article that brings back the radical notion of doing away with fences in our Bay Area backyards.
Taking down the fence had another outcome: She established a more communal relationship with her neighbors. No longer playing in tree houses, Westberg, Pettler and their neighbors share barbecues, garden tips and a glass of wine at sunset, all accomplished without the formality of front doors.
We have examples of overwhelmingly successful boundary-breaking in our East Bay neighborhoods. The article mentions one area in North Berkeley around Mariposa and there is another popular South Berkeley communal backyard nicknamed, the Meadows. The logic is particularly adaptable to our neighborhoods, where small lots can be expanded by open minds. Experience tells me that expanding verdant outlooks will also increase a property's value in the real estate marketplace. What do you think? Can you imagine tearing down your own backyard fence?


Smudgemo said...

I could see eliminating fences as a positive thing, but lots of people have dogs that I wouldn't want running around my home or children. I'm unsure how that would play out, and I'd proceed with caution.

Berkhills Blogger said...

The SF Gate article had a dog scenario, in which the dog owner installed a low walled fence with a gate and a more welcoming attitude. I can also imagine a fenced side yard as a dog run for convenience sake, and possibly allowing the dog more freedom in the larger communal space when supervised.