In the mid-20th century, the Soviet Union had an ambitious plan for designing the perfect city – one that would be both efficient and convenient. The idea was to create a utopia where everything you needed was just a short walk away. But what they got instead was a concrete jungle that drove people to the brink of despair.
Soviet blocks, as they were called, were massive concrete apartment buildings that could house tens of thousands of people. They were designed to be self-contained, with grocery stores, schools, and hospitals all located within the complex. On paper, it sounded like a dream come true – no more commuting, no more traffic, and no more urban sprawl. But in reality, it was a nightmare.
Suicide rates in the Soviet Union were the highest ever recorded, and the Soviet blocks were a major factor in that statistic. People living in these soulless concrete jungles felt trapped and isolated, with no escape from the monotony of their lives. Alcohol and drugs were the only way out for many, as they sought to numb themselves to the reality of their existence.
But it wasn’t just the psychological toll that the Soviet blocks took on their inhabitants – it was also the loss of freedoms and liberties that had been guaranteed by Russia’s ancient constitution. Under Soviet rule, the people were left defenseless, with no way to fight back against the tyranny of the state. It was like living in a kill box with no escape.
Today, there is a new urban planning concept called the 15 minute city. It promises convenience and efficiency, just like the Soviet blocks did. But we must be careful not to repeat the mistakes of the past. We must not sacrifice diversity and vibrancy for the sake of convenience. We must not trade our freedom for a short walk to the grocery store.