Tag Archives: Architecture

The end of this blog and the beginning of a new one

I haven’t written in this blog in a very long time.  I’ve been very busy, moving across the country, starting grad school, and various other things.  I’ve also been getting a little tired of focusing just on New Urbanism.  I think part of what’s wearing me out is that I’m tired of dealing with different people’s definitions of New Urbanism.  To some (myself), it’s compact, mixed-use, pedestrian-centered development.  But to many planners, New Urbanism is Calthorpe and Duany building greenfield development with kitsch, traditional decoration.  I’m not wild about greenfield development, and I’m especially not fond of Calthorpe, who more often builds uses adjacent to each other rather than truly mixed or even vertically mixed.  Duany has done great theoretical work and some wonderful projects on the ground, but many have been greenfields that aren’t connected to transit and central cities.  Norquist, on the other hand, is an urban, central city New Urbanist, and I find myself very much in line with his rhetoric.  And as far as architecture goes, I feel that it’s secondary to true urbanism.  Although I probably want a porch on the house I finally live in, I don’t feel that everyone else should have one.

I want to comment on things not related to New Urbanism, both things still related to planning and things related to architecture and other topics.  I also want a place to just spout off every once in a while.  With that in mind, I have started a new blog, Munson’s City.  I hope that those who have been reading my blog for a while will visit my new one and continue to take interest in my opinions on architecture, urbanism, and everything else.

Architecture, the Public Realm, and Small-Town America

I found this through Post Right, a blog through the American Conservative (not that I subscribe, it just came through my news feed).  This was posted on Nathancontramundi, a blog by “an educated Midwestern hick tilting at windmills.”  This particular post mentions how wonderful he finds it to live in a walkable community, but at the same time, how terrible it is that beautiful buildings from before WWII are being modified or replaced with Modern monstrosities.  He gives multiple insights, including pictures and vivid descriptions of the changes.  He also argues that money isn’t really the issue, because our forefathers built better buildings with even less money.  He concludes that “the problem is more a symptom of cultural enervation, of the death of the public realm and community spirit, than it is of perpetual residence in or near the red.”  He finishes with a call to action — that “We need to demand more of our civil servants, of our entrepreneurs, and of our civic organizations.  We need to demand more of ourselves, because we owe it to ourselves, to our forebears, and to our children.”