The Broker Bob Blog


How Our Obsession with Rectangles is Affecting Our Lives

Welcome to Rectangula...

Lets unveil the Secrets of Our Geometric World so that we can better understand how our modern world evolved to what it is today! Have you ever noticed that our world is dominated by rectangles? From the screens we stare at and the desks we work on, to the homes we inhabit and the city layouts we navigate, rectangles are omnipresent. But how did we arrive at this point, and what impact does it have on our lives and in the real estate market at large? In this riveting exploration, we delve into the rich history of shapes and their influence on society, unraveling the intricate relationship between geometry, culture, and human psychology.

This is by far the most meta subject on the modern real estate market to date because it tackles the very nature of what we buy, sell, and manage not only in Phoenix Arizona, but the western world. Buckle up!

<———   Watch The In depth video here!

A Brief History of Shapes in Human Civilization

Lets Start From The Beginning….


Since the dawn of humanity, our ancestors have utilized a diverse array of shapes for their dwellings, including conical huts, yurts, and teepees, each suited to the unique environmental conditions and cultural contexts in which they lived. However, the emergence of agricultural practices and the development of property rights marked a turning point in our “shape trajectory” from the organic and winding, much like nature itself, to the blocky and rectangular.  As societies shifted from nomadic to sedentary lifestyles, the importance of efficient land use and structured spaces became increasingly significant as man began to form nature in their own vision (not image).

Ancient civilizations like the Egyptians, Greeks, and eventually the Romans who were heavily influenced by the former not only viewed geometry as sacred and symbolic, but also as a fundamental element of their cultural identities. They held the “Platonic” shapes in high regard, associating them with balance, order, and harmony; something the Romans required to maintain their rule. These underlying principles extended to the design of their cities, public spaces, and monumental structures, instilling a sense of unity and coherence within their urban environments.


Did you know…

The golden ratio has been used in architecture throughout history? Many famous structures, such as the Parthenon in Greece and the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, exhibit the golden ratio in their design. This proportion is thought to create a sense of harmony and balance that is aesthetically pleasing to the human eye.

As the centuries progressed, this emphasis on practicality melding with principled Roman structure continued to influence city planning and architecture, with rectangles emerging as the dominant shape due to their versatility and ease of construction. This was especially a time of Great growth for Rome and so their settlements needed to be setup quickly. This is why the rectangular grid system became a common blueprint for organizing urban spaces, as it allowed for clear delineation of property boundaries and efficient allocation of resources and even city defenses. Furthermore, this geometric pattern facilitated the development of transportation networks, making it easier to traverse cities and promote trade.

In addition to the functional advantages, the aesthetic appeal of rectangles has also contributed to their widespread adoption. The simple elegance of right angles and parallel lines has long been admired for its ability to convey a sense of stability and balance. This appreciation for orderly design has transcended cultural boundaries, resulting in the ubiquity of rectangular structures, from the grand palaces of European monarchs to the modern skyscrapers that tower above our cities today.

The Impact of Rectangula
On Modern Society

Fast forward to modern times, and our fascination with rectangles has only intensified. The United States, in particular, has been heavily influenced by the architectural and planning styles of ancient civilizations, especially the Roman Empire. This preoccupation with structure and order is evident in the grid-like layout of numerous American cities, from the bustling metropolis of New York to the meticulously planned streets of Washington, D.C. which was designed by the Masons, and we all know how much they liked their shapes. But that said…DC is one of the few places that isn’t dominated by rectangles. However, many of the Americas cities are nearly all rectangular, including Phoenix Arizona where we manage rental properties. Meaning we have cut out nearly all the shapes that are supposed to go along with the shape structure. Ergo it forces the question, is every other city just an outpost like how Rome built their new settlements? While perhaps we just forgot about shape theory as we spread westward and/or got a little lazy, I’d say “kinda.”

This rectangular-monopoly comes with drawbacks and was never the intent when this “shape philosophy” was developed. Research suggests that humans are naturally drawn to curvy shapes and organic forms, such as the golden ratio found in various aspects of nature, from seashells to spiral galaxies. This innate preference for flowing lines is thought to contribute to a sense of harmony and well-being in our surroundings.

In contrast, rectangular cities, with their rigid layouts and sharp angles, tend to be less livable and inviting. This can lead to lower desirability and decreased property values, as people instinctively seek out spaces that promote a sense of comfort and connection to the natural world. Moreover, the strict adherence to grid-like patterns can sometimes result in monotonous and unimaginative urban environments, lacking in character and uniqueness.

Breaking Free from Rectangular Limitations: The Role of Property Management

So, how can we break free from the constraints of our rectangular world? One solution is to incorporate more variety and curvature into our living spaces and communities. By doing so, we can increase the desirability of our properties and enhance the overall quality of life. Property management plays a crucial role in this transformation, as they can facilitate the adoption of innovative designs and foster a sense of community that embraces diverse architectural styles.

Small changes, such as adding curved elements to your home’s interior or landscaping, can make a significant difference. These alterations not only improve the aesthetic appeal of your property but also create a more inviting and comfortable atmosphere. Property managers can provide guidance and resources to help homeowners and tenants make these modifications, ensuring that the changes are both practical and visually appealing.

Think Outside the Rectangle:

Practical Tips for Embracing Non-Rectangular
Shapes in Your Rental Property

As we reach the end of our exploration into the world of Rectangula, it’s time to put the insights gained into practice and transform our living spaces. As one of the best property management companies in AZ (I’m not humble) we have seen a lot of houses. Here are some practical tips and tricks to help you break free from the grip of rectangles in your rental home:

  1. Windows and doors: Consider installing windows and doors with curved or irregular shapes, such as arches, ovals, or circles. These can create a striking visual impact and add character to your home. Here’s a helpful video on how to install arched windows: WATCH VIDEO

  2. Furniture and decor: Choose furniture with rounded or organic shapes, such as circular coffee tables, curved sofas, or oval-shaped mirrors. These pieces can soften the rectangular dominance in your interior design and create a more balanced atmosphere.

  3. Small appliances: Break away from the standard rectangular toasters, televisions, and other appliances by opting for those with rounded edges or unconventional designs. These items can serve as conversation starters and add a unique touch to your home.

  4. Landscaping: Introduce curved pathways, circular patios, or irregularly shaped flowerbeds into your garden. This will not only create visual interest but also promote a more harmonious connection between your home and its surroundings.

  5. Artwork: Hang artwork featuring curved lines, circles, or other non-rectangular shapes to add variety to your wall decor.  You can also look for interesting statues and sculptures. This can help break the monotony of rectangular frames and create a more visually engaging space.

  6. Room layout: Reconsider your room layout and experiment with non-linear arrangements. Position furniture diagonally or in circular patterns to create a more dynamic and inviting atmosphere.

By incorporating these tips and tricks into your home, you can successfully challenge the rectangular status quo and create a living space that is not only visually appealing but also better aligned with our innate preferences for non-rectangular shapes. So go ahead and embrace the beauty and diversity of the world beyond the rectangle, and let your imagination soar!