Sign (Language) of the Times

Utopia will arise in rural South Dakota. Well…not really, but Marvin Miller is planning a new city, Laurent, to accomodate people who use sign languange – Miler, his wife, and their four children are all deaf. So how does one build a city around a form of non-verbal communication? It’s a subtle art to say the least:

The geometry caters to sign language users in subliminal fashion…Inside the town, the careful eye would notice awnings and roof lines in place to shield the sun and reduce glare that interferes with sign language. Houses would be closer together and porches closer to the street to encourage communication, contrary to other cities putting new housing on bigger lots for more privacy. *cough* new urbanism *cough*

And of course, a statue will honor the town’s namesake, French communicator Laurent Clerc, while a gas station and car wash would honor motorists hopping off Exit 364. So far, 100 families have pledged to move to Laurent, but if the town is going to be the instant success its planners are hoping for, they’ll need some sort of committment from 2500 people.

Miller plans on breaking ground in the fall.

Laurent’s website
The Argus Leader
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