- Today's Moment of Idealistic Naivete: Wikileaks: http://wp.me/pCprU-mB 6 years ago
- Ending the War on Drugs: http://wp.me/pCprU-mw 6 years ago
- Twilight Of The Suburbs, Now Home To One-Third Of America's Poor http://huff.to/bGZP7F 7 years ago
- U.S. Subways Harness Kinetic Power To Recycle Train Energy http://huff.to/bVsXvR 7 years ago
- America's Walk Deficit http://yhoo.it/dijIvg 7 years ago
- Today’s Moment of Idealistic Naivete: Wikileaks
- Ending the War on Drugs
- The Most Walkable Cities in the World
- It’s Where We Live
- Can Cities Feed Themselves?
- French Street Artist Wins TED Humanitarian Prize
- Dimanche Sans Voiture
- Are Brussels and Los Angeles Sister Cities?
- Masdar begs the question: What exactly is meant by “a sustainable city?”
- Is Generation Y Passing on Cars?
- Can Cities Make Us Crazy?
- Stranger Studies 101: Cities as Interaction Machines
- Does New Orleans Have an Identity Crisis?
- Three Urban Interventions in Two Hours: NYC
- Cargo Bike Spotted…
Category Archives: Response Pieces
And if so, how many other cities do as well? I spent five weeks in New Orleans in May/June of this year…it is a truly fascinating city, a completely unique place, yet for the most part it denies the fact that it is a delta city. With large tracts of the city below sea level, it would seem reasonable to expect water to be an omnipresent characteristic. But the built environment of New Orleans denies water, walls it off, instead of embracing it.
There’s a line from Jurassic Park that I’ve quoted a bazillion times: “[The scientists] were so concerned with whether they could, they never stopped to consider whether they should.” Wherever technology allows one to ignore nature, this seems to be too often what happens. Modern New Orleans was built wrongly (where it is built wrongly) because it could be. Continue reading
In the most simplistic statistical reading—higher GDP per capita means higher tax revenue means better funded schools means better education—there seems to be some legitimacy to the story’s thesis. I don’t think real life is so simple, however. Unqualified as I am to provide an in-depth critique of the significance of GDP or the relative educational histories of Caribbean nations, I won’t attempt to here. Besides, those things aren’t what interest me. Without questioning the intelligence, honesty, or diligence of the author, I was struck by what I perceived to be a fine example of stuck-in-system thinking.
Poet John Keats defined negative capability as the ability to be “in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts without any irritable reaching after fact & reason.” If this doesn’t sound especially profound or relevant to planologie, well, it is both. In yesterday’s post, Santi Tafarella linked negative capability with empathy, with attentive listening, and with the ability to sublimate one’s existential angst into larger mysteries of being. All admirable qualities. But what might it mean for an urban planner to practice negative capability? Or for the general populous? Or the city itself?
The New Orleans that was swept away when the levees broke cannot be restored. A new New Orleans is rising—it cannot be otherwise. Isn’t it possible that in this new New Orleans there is room for Frank Gehry and Andres Duany? For the experimental and the traditional? For the future and the past? Can’t this new New Orleans be a city that retells the stories of its forebears while crafting new tales of its own? It has been a long time since New Orleans had anything new to add to the larger discussion of American urbanism. A long time since the national spotlight shone on it for reasons other than crime, poverty, catastrophe, or the musical achievements of the past.
History should never be forgotten, but neither should it be made into a golden calf. Cities need to breathe, they need to periodically remake themselves. As long as the people remaking New Orleans remain in service to the city’s most vulnerable residents, New Orleans wins. Architects win. Design wins. Creativity wins. Experimentation wins. A new vernacular arises alongside the old. Continue reading