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June 03, 2006

American Cities

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

In his interview with Michael Phillips, Bernard Frieden conveys a lot of essential social history in a very short space. Cities, suburbs, "urban renewal," shopping, the interest in history, food ... It's a trustworthy and compact picture of what America has made of its cities since World War II. Key passage:

In the course of knocking things down to try to rebuild the cities, the planners and the public officials were also very careless about other people's interests. They tore down a tremendous amount of housing, booted out hundreds of thousands of families around the country, evicted at least tens of thousands of small businesses, many of which never recovered from the move, and, in an effort to cure the city, many of these programs really made cities worse. They kicked out the people who would have stayed longer and the businesses that might have stayed longer, in order to create the makings of that clean slate. That's the way it was in the '50s.

Frieden is the author of "Downtown, Inc.," which I've just put on my Amazon Wish List.



posted by Michael at June 3, 2006


What Bernard does not understand is that we are now living in a New World. And we need new Cities for a New Man. Anything old, anything traditional, anything that connects us with the past must be destroyed.

And anyone that can not get on board is simply unenlightened. You unsophisticated cretins will soon be sent to Public School, uh, I mean Re-education Camp.

Good Luck

Posted by: Ian Lewis on June 3, 2006 10:52 PM

It's time these backwards people saw the light, dammit!

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on June 4, 2006 9:31 AM

My plan for urban renewal:

1. Tear down every building built since World War II.

2. In its place, recreate either (1) what was there before, or (2) another building whose external appearance is strictly in keeping with a style from before 1945. Rare exceptions will be made on a case by case basis.

You want to see people and businesses returning to the city so fast they're a blur? That's what my plan will accomplish.

Modern and post-modern architecture, so beloved of the cultural Establishment, has succeeded wildly ... in persuading large numbers of people to inhabit cities only from 8 am to 6 pm weekdays.

Posted by: Rick Darby on June 6, 2006 2:29 PM

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