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[Democracies] have great difficulty solving the long-run problems created by policies that provide short-term benefits. Once people receive the benefits, they do not want to give them up.
To most Americans the cures for traffic congestion are worse than the congestion itself.
In Houston, a person walking is someone on his way to his car.
American communities require that new housing meet quality requirements that are very high by world or even Western European and Japanese standards. These requirements are designed by middle-class architects, planners, and citizens in conformity with what they believe is decent housing. But their concept of decency far surpasses what is necessary for human health and safety. Consequently, all new American dwellings are too costly for low-income people to occupy without direct subsidies. But subsidies are provided for only a few of the many households with incomes low enough to be eligible for them. So poor people live in unsubsidized older dwellings.
The problem with planning is that it has been overtaken by mathematical models... traffic, density, impact assessment, public costs etc. discarding common sense and empirical observation.
Planning issues must be decided by legislators who feel the responsibility to become experts on the subject which they must decide upon.
Amateurs accustomed to emulation made great places. It is the professionals of recent decades that have ruined our cities and our landscapes with their inventions.
On the failure of planning as process: when the job seems too difficult, the tool is probably wrong.
We must replace those memes, the high-art aesthetic ones, with ETHICAL ones. Everything we do has to be on an ethical basis.
The New Urbanism Consists of the Charter and the Charrette. The one is principle based and the other is process-based. The one is rational, the other empirical. The one is general and the other local. The one is ideal, the other political. Principles untested by public participation are coercive and have no authority. A process without a basis in principles lacks structure and credible outcome.
The difference between the New Urbanism and Smart Growth is that while both desire the same outcome, the New Urbanism is conceived as private-sector and market-driven while Smart Growth is based on government policy and proscriptions. The one is about choice, profit and the pursuit of happiness as self-defined; while the other is ethical and anhedonic. The CNU attempts only to establish parity between conventional suburban development and diverse, walkable communities hereby allowing the market to decide on a level playing field.
You cannot be a New Urbanist unless you are also angry.
Deconstructivism is the Urban Style. It attempts to compress the complexity, which is the purview of an entire street, into the ornament of a single building, there to call it the architecture of the real world. Disneyworld is more authentic.
The architectural avant-garde extols cinematic illusion but denigrate its masterpiece: Williamsburg.
We walk down the street and reality confirms us. That is why we are strong.
Small lots are the most important planning mechanism.
Of modernity's many experiments, the first one that has aborted is individualism.
The Modernists are nostalgic... for a future that will never happen.
Gehry and Eisenman can no longer get our attention. The only remaining radical act that will scandalize critics accustomed to everything is to build a classical building.
Modern architects recognize 300 masterpieces but ignore the other 30 million buildings that have ruined the world.
Because he knows nothing of the codes and practices that actually shape the modern city, Koolhaas does not understand that what he perceives as a stimulating freedom is actually a deterministic set of interlocking practices controlled by specialists in marketing and engineering, by municipal codes and banking practice. This system has been evolved and perfected for half a century by a developer-controlled think-tank called, the Urban Land Institute. The entire system is as precise as any that has ever guided the hand of the architecture. The proof is immediate: the difficulty of implementing even the slightest deviation, either aesthetic or typological.
Modern architecture, as defined by the pioneers, is to serve mass culture and to be shaped by mass production. Deconstructivism does not share these aims. It is, in fact, produced by exquisite craft technique and appreciated only by a cultural elite -- it is a revival fit for Rusk. Their claims of social radicalism is comically at odds with the expensive houses and chic ristoranti of its production. Only the neurosis of its practitioners confirms its modernist currency.
There is nothing more pathetic to behold than a Modernist architect trying to turn a mere house into a bid at immortality.
This much is evident: aesthetics matter very much to the middle class.
It is the absurd premise of real estate marketing to offer buildings of uniqueness, exclusivity and luxury to everyman.
Art, in a democracy, should be valued, not by an elite, but by the marketplace.
We have legislators who think it their duty only to listen to the people instead of becoming expert on the subjects which they must decide upon.
Adlai Stevenson said When I feel the heat, I see the light. We must apply a rude and relentless heat to planners and engineers, slumbering in the dimcomfort of their profession.
The only thing that I remember about Mumford (I read The City in History in 1970) is that Medieval girls would run naked through the streets to the public baths. I can still find that reference. That was memorable.
As a cultural institution, Disney is more influential than Harvard.
The problems of preservation are increasingly becoming the problems of urbanism. A question like 'Should angled parking be introduced into a residential neighborhood?' is not and issue of 'historical' preservation, but of preservation.
The loss of a forest or a farm is justified only if it is replaced by a village. To replace them with a subdivision or a shopping center is not an even trade.
Do you only have ancestors, or are you also going to be an ancestor?
Higher density housing offers an inferior lifestyle only when it is without a community as its setting.
The subdivisions of suburbia are conceived as a shopping centers for housing and only later (if at all) as communities.
In the suburbs you have backyard decks; in towns you have porches on the street.
Affordable housing was inadvertently eliminated by suburban codes.
Suburban Codes attempt to impose order, Neotraditional Codes avoid disorder.
Anchorage is the most awful place. All people know is that nature is beautiful; and they do not give a thought to the city they inhabit.
Buried in berms, clad in weathered wood and weak in form, the buildings of suburban Hilton Head are promoted as ecological. But they are only apologizing (quite correctly) for their own existence. The compact neighborhood is the true architecture of nature.
In 1860, the capital city of Washington, with a population of 60,000, had unlighted streets, open sewers, and pigs roaming about its principal avenues. This condition was worse than the worst of our current cities. There is hope.
Not changing is an excellent way to change things in interesting and useful ways.
on successional urbanism
We cannot evolve unless mutations occur.
With infill, start by providing for those who are not risk-averse (singles, Bohemians, etc.). These people are the urban pioneers.
It is NOT the inaugural condition that is the determinant of a town that is decisive: it is the ability to molt that is important.
The Department of Transportation, in its single-minded pursuit of traffic flow, has destroyed more American towns than General Sherman.
We're having a terrible affordable housing problem in this country. How can we deliver affordable housing when we keep gold-plating the standards?
Current architectural education is the pursuit of the carefully arbitrary.
What condemns modernism is not its theory, but its practice.
Preservation is the requirement for getting us through the current dark ages. It is the fertile soil for when we get past this nightmare.