Monday, November 28, 2011

Urban Planning Post

The pundits are thinking about urban infrastructure this week . . .
and of course "the new urban groundswell" happened because of Rachel from the television show Friends.

4 comments:

Pete said...

American cities are necessarily vital wellsprings of culture but also carry a horrendous legacy of neglect and exploitation.

The ideas discussed in these articles are good ones, certainly.

I'm a bit wary of urbanism, though. I understand that the suburban model is based on a flawed individualism, but at their worst cities are simply filing cabinets for people, the "surplus population". Also, the stunning architectural achievements of Manhattan and Chicago are really just accretions of ego. I distrust the hive-makers and their hives.

Thoreau says it better:
"Most of the stone a nation hammers goes toward its tomb only. It buries itself alive. As for the Pyramids, there is nothing to wonder at in them so much as the fact that so many men could be found degraded enough to spend their lives constructing a tomb for some ambitious booby, whom it would have been wiser and manlier to have drowned in the Nile, and then given his body to the dogs. I might possibly invent some excuse for them and him, but I have no time for it. As for the religion and love of art of the builders, it is much the same all the world over, whether the building be an Egyptian temple or the United States Bank. It costs more than it comes to."

Pete said...

Hmm... That came across as a bit strident and preachy. I have this love-hate thing going with architecture... and the applied arts generally... and technology...

Don Jason said...

Thoreau as a bit strident and preachy? Naaaay . . .

Don Jason said...

There are cities that implement urban planning concepts that work really well, and my experience is that it greatly improves the details of living in a filing cabinet for people . . . that elusive concept of "quality of life" if one is inclined to live near the center of a hive. ((As awe-inspiring as the Loop is for sheer engineering and the merits of individual buildings Chicago is not one of those cities by the way.))

Those concepts that work well are not always about architecture at all but about the boring sub-headings in zoning laws. I am talking about transit, parks to be used by people, space for bicycles, car parking requirements, and walkable infrastructures.

What I find interesting about the article is the lengths that cities like Atlanta are apparently going to "to not be the next Detroit". My understanding is that Georgia is not exactly known for being wildly open to the fantasies of dirty hippies.