Monday, September 20, 2010
"New Urbanism Is Not the Next Urbanism" - Andrés Duany
IF YOU"RE NOT AN URBAN DESIGNER, this video may be too esoteric for you, but in the video Andrés shows just how smart he is.
Glad he brought up the high line. While it is great for what it is, he is absolutely right that it only works in NYC. In Dallas, I've had numerous people say, "we need a high line, we need a high line," because that's what we do best in Dallas, try to keep up with the Joneses, "gimme one of those." Each time somebody said this to me, I informed them that it would fail and requires Manhattan density for enough pedestrians to essentially spill upwards.
Posted by: WalkableDFW at Sep 20, 2010 6:40:30 PM
Seems that Landscape Urbanists are 'expressing ecology' in place of the old Modernist idea of 'expressed structure'. I feel like in the work of many of these folks, ornament takes precedence over function. And when these places function well, they do so for pretty standard William Whyte reasons. Design that 'works' isn't all that tricky. The ecological aesthetics are interesting--and even challenging. The talks I've seen of Waldheim, et. al. are very impressive. But their scorn for the tried and true is what really bothers me. If it looks 'old' it must not be worthy. These folks can talk a blue streak, but it's really so much hopeful anti-urbanist ideology disguised in a green fog of multi-syallabic words.
Posted by: Troy Torrison at Sep 23, 2010 9:49:38 PM
As usual, Duany's blend of intellectual rigor and humor is as captivating as ever. I'm not sure why he so readily gives up so much ground though. Traditional urbanism is superior precisley because of ecology and environmentalism, both natural and human. Landscape urbanism is rehashed modernism with the application of computer modeling and lush environmentalist greening which we've fetishised even though the most environmental urbanism is urbanism that leaves the natural world alone. It dosen't capture it in inaccesible planting beds like a caged zoo animal. Attack it as the object in the park it is, but incorporate the ecologicaly sound aspects like one would listen to the site engineer explain the site's water sheds etc.
Andres's main problem is that modernists are resurgent in academia because they never died off. Infact, it's an aspect that by it's nature will most likely not change in our life time. Those who can't do, teach. While being an overly simplistic cliche, the truth is these theorists (mostly) can't translate their ideas into commercial success. Most young aspiring architects who naivley but correctly believe they are going to make the world more beautiful when they enter academia are intellectually bullied by these theorists to were they (relativistically) question their own skin by the time they come out. The simpler ones become non-thinking ditto heads, but the more savey and cynical pick up on the vocabulary of survival and press forward to a great degree becasue like thier professors, they enjoy the preistly heights this archi-speak bestows on them to look down on everyone else. That's why the modernists hate Duany, he know's how to speak, and however cynical he may be, he's true to what people love, and that's beauty. Don't give up the vocabulary, speak directly, and always do something your mother would love, becasue she would never put up with your bullshit.
Posted by: Thayer-D at Oct 6, 2010 12:29:12 PM