I watched a really good Swedish movie and I think I know why the Scandinavians apparently have it better 

I watched A Man Called Ove and I really enjoyed it- but I think what’s stuck with me the most is the neighbourhood. There is a parking facility that looks like a bunch of storage units, and everyone walks from there to their homes (and Ove relentlessly and emphatically regulates this part- yelling at anyone who drives down the walking paths). 

It’s not the generous welfare state or the homogeneous society that makes Scandinavia by many measurements a better place to live than North America- it’s these neighbourhoods! Well on the aesthetic level (often connected to more important levels) the houses look so much better. I think many homes in North America look like storage units because the garage is the focal point of the building front and center. The areas out front of the houses are safer for children and pets to play because cars aren’t whizzing around. People have to walk from the communal garages and a walk is probably the best thing for your health, and then they’re walking in their community seeing their neighbours. I think the communal mailboxes in Canada have less of the same effect, though. 

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