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Relaxation has its price

December 13, 2006

Re "City lite," Current, Dec. 10

Places like CityWalk, Third Street Promenade and Downtown Disney are certainly charming and safe, but the problem is they weren't created by us as a society but by retailers to get us to spend money. Unlike Europe's plentiful parks and plazas, whose sole purpose is relaxation and human interaction, these shopping meccas insidiously supplant the scarcity of American parks and plazas to cajole us into, as Virginia Postrel puts it, coming for the Wi-Fi but then buying "a sandwich and maybe a shirt or two" (not to mention having us and our youth inculcated with whatever new toy, game, gizmo, necktie or jewelry is coming out). It's no wonder Americans are in such debt.

JAMES TOOMEY

Gardena

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