In the beginning of Arthur Miller's play, Death of a Salesman, we see a combination of the old and the new. The original neighborhood to where Willy Loman moved with his family years before, is currently being metaphorically speaking, buried alive by the ever-growing New York suburban metropolis of Brooklyn.
It is interesting how Miller states that the buildings crowding the scenery do not allow the sunlight to penetrate the Loman's garden. In other words, there is battle between the past, the present and the future to "see the light of day" so to speak.
Moreover, we know that the setting greatly affects Willy's mood. A born lover of nature, Willy moves into his home in a time where there was plenty of space to move around. He could even tend to his plants and breathe fresh air.
Now that the suburbs are becoming urbanized, Willy himself says that he feels trapped, encapsulated, and entombed in his own home. Therefore, Willy's mental condition is proportional to the condition of the world around him: The old is out and change must occur. He who does not change is bound to die of a form of social extinction.