Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Place Matters - and it looks like New Urbanists have been right all these years.
A KNIGHT FOUNDATION SURVEY found that there are three primary qualities that make people feel at home in their neighborhoods: openness, or how welcoming a place is; a community's wealth of activities and public meeting places; and its beauty. In other words, place matters. That's obviously true for beauty and public places, but it's true for openness and how welcoming a place is as well. In the auto-centric, use-based planning the US has pursued for the last 60+ years, we've focused on a public realm primarily given to cars and commerce. There's nothing welcoming or open about a 6-lane arterial or the parking lot at Wal-Mart. Or, obviously, a gated community.
So much for conventional planners and even Starchitects like Koolhaas who criticize New Urbanism for "physical determinism." And as the Knight Foundation points out, although many cities and non-profits concentrate on economic development, that is not what is most important to the average person, even in the hard times we find ourselves in today.
"...and even Starchitects like Koolhaas who criticize New Urbanism for "physical determinism."
Function follows form. Poorly designed places will give rise to poorly lived events.
Which may well be the highest price the Century of Anti-Art (& Architecture) imposed on us.
Posted by: Hal O'Brien at Dec 20, 2010 7:53:33 PM