I say Yes to this entry by Diana Greco on spatial learning. She writes
Learning to walk in cities is a way to learn about how to participate in civic life, how to recognize and inhabit shared space.
In CT this sense of “learning,” which was very a much a part of my everyday life in El Paso, Texas, is hard to sense in a suburban setting. The town center is one thing or the Mexican village court, walled on one side by a cathedral entrance.
What is a stranger on the bus vs one at a Burger King?
It’s not just suburbia that did away with the sense of community that you find in cities. I believe that shopping malls had a lot to do with keeping people away as well.
When I was a kid, we either shopped in downtown Derby or downtown New Haven–often spending a whole Saturday there. Derby, my hometown, felt like an extension of home. One of my uncles worked in a men’s shop; another uncle and aunt owned a variety store. Someone else’s relative owned the ice cream parlor and someone else you knew owned the drugstore. My dad’s cousin was chief of police. This just doesn’t happen in a mall atmosphere.