The American lawn

2 minutes

An odd and completely unnatural institution, why is the front lawn so beloved by Americans?

‘The conceit of the American suburb is that we’re all in a great park together.’

Front lawns are unnatural and generally serve little practical use, and yet they’re a staple of suburban culture, carefully manicured by their owners and so ubiquitous that they’re the largest irrigated crop in the United States. In this brief video, the US food and nature writer Michael Pollan ponders the ‘peculiar institution’ of the American lawn, taken for granted as natural by many Americans when, technically, it’s anything but.

Video by RadioWest

Essay/Architecture & Landscape
Intimate spaces

In his Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard created a philosophy of at-homeness, rich in emotion and memory

Gillian Darley

Essay/Education
An unlikely triumph

In its first century the American higher-education system was a messy, disorganised joke. How did it rise to world dominance?

David Labaree