At the Arch Street Friends Meeting House, Dr. Emma Jones Lapsansky-Werner told us how William Penn’s vision of utopia led to the urban design of Philadelphia, city of brotherly, sisterly love.
When asked where utopia can be found today, Dr. Lapsansky-Werner, a Quaker historian at Haverford College, said, God lives in:
- public transportation
- community parks
- markets where people sell their own stuff
- schools where parents participate in teaching
I would add:
- grand old train stations
Unlike airports, which are made of glass, steel, sterility, full of uniformed personnel intent on efficiency and safety, train stations are grand dames, made of marble, wood, vast ceilings, wasted space, meandering Art Deco design, and welcome to all kinds of wandering characters.
My Amtrak train just pulled out of the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, passing Newark Station. We are on route to New York City.
I like that Amtrak conductors are characters. (I’ve written about this on another blog and on seeing nature from the windows, on Looking for Eagles on Amtrak).
In fact, train conductors have shared their cookies and fellow passengers have shared their chocolate cake with me on Amtrak excursions. Nobody really shares at airports or on airplanes.
I find utopia in places where people share. Where do you find utopia?
Dr. Lapsansky-Werner was a featured speaker at the Religion Communicators Council annual meeting.