On Aesthetic Diversity (or lack thereof)

While sifting through Airbnb for our upcoming honeymoon, we noticed that apartments in Tokyo and Kyoto looked noticeably similar to the ones we've stayed at in Australia and even, Hawaii. You're also likely to notice that with local cafes and restaurants - exposed walls, raw wood tables and brushed ceramic cups. The Verge has a surprisingly insightful piece on the phenomenon.

"As an affluent, self-selecting group of people move through spaces linked by technology, particular sensibilities spread, and these small pockets of geography grow to resemble one another, as Schwarzmann discovered: the coffee roaster Four Barrel in San Francisco looks like the Australian Toby’s Estate in Brooklyn looks like The Coffee Collective in Copenhagen looks like Bear Pond Espresso in Tokyo. You can get a dry cortado with perfect latte art at any of them, then Instagram it on a marble countertop and further spread the aesthetic to your followers."


"The connective emotional grid of social media platforms is what drives the impression of AirSpace. If taste is globalized, then the logical endpoint is a world in which aesthetic diversity decreases. It resembles a kind of gentrification: one that happens concurrently across global urban centers. Just as a gentrifying neighborhood starts to look less diverse as buildings are renovated and storefronts replaced, so economically similar urban areas around the world might increasingly resemble each other and become interchangeable."