Think of it as a cultural and political shift. Patrick Deneen remembers an article he read in college:

[Richard Thomas's essay] explores the social implications of the architectural practice of building porches on the front of homes and its eventual abandonment in favor of patios behind the house...As with any central feature in our built environment, this is more than merely a passing fashion trend or a meaningless design change: the transition from porch to patio was one of the clearest and significant manifestations the physical change from a society concerned with the relationship of private and public things - in the Latin, res publica - to one of increasing privacy. The porch, as a physical bridge between the private realm of the house and the public domain of the street and sidewalk, was the literal intermediate space between two worlds that have been increasingly separated in our time, and hence increasingly ungoverned in both forms.

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