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« Women, Men, Cellphones | Main | Joseph Spence »

November 02, 2004

Elsewhere

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* John Massengale took a break from RedSox-blogging to wonder what the economy will look like if oil prices keep rising, and to reprint an Andres Duany critique of the New Urbanist town Celebration.

* David Sucher asks one of those obvious-but-seldom-posed questions: do people really use the vast green spaces between office buildings?

* Fred Bernstein reports for the NYTimes that, all over America, buildings erected in the 1960s are being demolished. Is this because the Boomers who grew up in the '60s are taking their petty revenge? Or is it because the '60s was one of the lousiest eras ever in architecture history? I'm not weeping about the loss of these buildings myself.

* Peg Tyre reports for Newsweek that some retirees have begun to settle not in the usual retirement places but in attractive downtowns instead.

* Business Week's Christopher Palmeri reports that a couple of big suburban-building firms are beginning to train their sights on urban downtowns. An excerpt from his interesting article:

Both have spent decades trying to lure folks out of the city. Now, faced with a land scarcity in the 'burbs that threatens to crimp their growth, those same companies are suddenly making a reverse commute of their own by gobbling up urban properties at a fevered pace ...

To be sure, the downtown market is fraught with challenges for the suburban builders -- including strict zoning requirements and environmental cleanups of some industrial properties, as well as land and construction costs that are far higher than what they're used to in the suburbs. What's more, builders accustomed to having carte blanche in the exurbs often find themselves in protracted negotiations with zoning officials and preservationists who demand that each project be tailored to the community. "It's higher-profile, so many people have opinions," says Karatz.

For suburban builders who get it right, however, the urban market can yield profits every bit as fat as what they make in suburbia.

* Do many Americans really want to live in walkable neighborhoods? Laurence Aurbach thinks the answer is yes.

* Rob Asumendi's website Simply Building is a Christopher Alexander-influenced gem, full of sensible thinking and handy tips about buildings and living spaces. I especially enjoyed Rob's short article asking why architectural drawings don't pay more attention to the human figures in them, and this back and forth about Japanese baths.

* James Kunstler's Eyesore of the Month is, as always, a giggle-and-outrage-inducer.

* DadTalk explains why he finds life in suburbia -- specifically L.A.'s Inland Empire -- hellish. DadTalk also reports that he's on a diet that works for him.

Best,

Michael

posted by Michael at November 2, 2004




Comments

Hey, thanks for the mention.

Posted by: brettdl on November 2, 2004 08:51 PM



There is something so soul shriveling about the tower-in-the-park that it stuns me that architects, who are supposedly aesthetically sensitive, could have persisted in building so many. They are dead zones, the "parks" that is, surrounding the towers. They are spaces that are somehow denials of spaces. You don't even want to look at them, never mind use them for recreation. The towers at least are functional -- hideous but functional. The parks are death. Anger is the only appropriate response. We must not try to "understand" certain aspects of the modern world. Looking at these things I almost understand those who would raze utterly great swaths of the world that has been imposed on us.

Posted by: ricpic on November 3, 2004 05:27 PM



Thanks too for mentioning SB.net.

Speaking of the space in between, I found a Richard Serra sitting on a walkway in the local university campus today... it's amazing someone can make a career out of making negative spaces even more fragmented and negative than they would be without a big chunk of metal laying there.

Posted by: Rob Asumendi on November 6, 2004 08:21 PM



I know why I keep coming back. Thanks!

Posted by: HyperListBuilder on November 27, 2004 05:20 AM






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