Gift shop urbanism. Anchorage, Alaska. Images from Google Street View.
Firstly, the way Anchorage looks is very, very similar to many Finnish cities. Somehow a little bland and thin, in the layers of anything urban.
Secondly, perhaps there’s a pattern in these Northern, arctic habitats. It’s somehow funny how cities with very short summers and depressing, heavy winters (like Anchorage, or my native Helsinki, for that matter) still somehow manage to “be” cities. It’s modern, in the way that man has conquered nature in order to reside where he wants to. But sometimes, when the wind nearly punctures your face with icy particles and the snow piles up on your streets, with no one taking it away for three days, the comedy of trying to live the urban life in a Nordic city just makes me smile. And perhaps the humor in the trying is what appeals to me most.
Thirdly, have you ever been to the Market Square in Helsinki? These days, it’s probably the number one place to buy reindeer skins and fur hats. For no apparent reason. I’m getting the same vibe here. It seems visiting Anchorage is all about buying T-shirts and sweaters?