The Mini-split is the new symbol of modernity.
Over the years we have made many of the same points on TreeHugger. I have been seriously criticized for being against air conditioning. I am not. I am against bad designthat forces you to use air conditioning all the time; things like floor to ceiling glass, no cross-ventilation, or lack of shading because as Cameron Tonkinwise put it,
The window air conditioner allows architects to be lazy. We don't have to think about making a building work, because you can just buy a box.
Or as I have put it in response to a controversial article by Brian Merchant (but nobody read that far before yelling at me in comments:)
In the end, it is all about moderation; about designing our homes better so they don't need as much air conditioning, if any. It's about reinforcing the cultural aspects of where we live instead of hiding inside. It's about having a discussion, not a culture war.
In China, almost every single apartment has a mini-split air conditioner hanging on the wall outside the unit. There are hundreds of millions of these things, absolutely indispensable because the air is so foul that you can't open the windows, because of the pollution caused by the coal-fired power plants that are making the electricity needed to run the air conditioning. Call it a luxury or a necessity; the fact is, it is the design issue of our time.