A co-founder of the New Urban and Traditional Architecture Councils.I was also a co-founder of the pro-urb list, a forum on the internet for an advanced discussion of New Urbanism. And in this blog you will find some postings from that list, along with other writings and clippings on architecture, urbanism, Classicism, Tradition, metaphysics and culture.
THE CNU gave my old boss Bob Stern one of its Athena Medals at CNU XV in Philadelphia. "He is a model in many ways. He combines impeccable academic
credentials with brilliant administration and first-rate design," said
CNU Board member Andrés Duany, who presented the award. "At Yale, he navigates the
treacherous waters, making it possibly the only truly open-minded
architecture school in the world. He's also fostered a practice of
excellence and groomed the next generation. These achievements and
qualities are all too rare."
At a congress called "New Urbanism and the Old City," Stern rebuked New Urbanists for not working in cities. If you read his talk, it doesn't sound that stern, but his delivery was provocative enough that UK Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, who spoke earlier in the same session, started heckling Stern from the audience. His comments reminded some of the barbed banter in British parliamentary sessions. Prescott, a sometimes controversial minister who oversaw Britain's building plans and who has spoken at three congresses about his New Urban work in Britain, took offense at the idea that he doesn't work in cities and got in Stern's face after the talk.
Many New Urbanists were surprised that Stern chose to repeat the old canard. During his talk, he referred to his friend and collaborator Ray Gindroz, who has been working in cities for 30 years (and who was onstage earlier in the night to introduce Prescott). Onstage to introduce Stern was Duany, whose office has recently finished comprehensive plans for Miami and Havana, and who has led much of the post-Katrina work in New Orleans. (Urban infill work, such as their plans for Munich and Berlin - a project in which Stern's office is designing a building - can be seen here.) And the evening was MC'd by CNU President John Norquist, the former Mayor of Milwaukee. Norquist led many urban renewal efforts during his time in office and wrote a book called The Wealth of Cities.
A good time was had by all.
PS: A few years ago, Stern gave a talk at Sotheby's about "Classicism in New York." With every Classical and traditional architect in the city in attendance, Henry Hope Reed (the founder of Classical America, who's over 90 years old), stood up after the talk and said, "There have only been 2 good buildings built in the last 50 years." Of course both were by John Barrington Bailey, the co-founder of Classical America, who only had two buildings built. Reed thereby dismissed the work of everyone in the room.
"Thank you, Henry," Stern said, "We'll try to do better next time."
Congestion pricing, a system
of charging drivers for traveling on a city’s most-crowded streets, is
a proven success that New York City is right to want to emulate. It has
worked in Stockholm and London, where skepticism gave way to resounding
support. Residents of both cities were turned around by the unclogged
streets, quicker commutes, better public transportation and cleaner
air. Now that Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to give congestion pricing
a try, state leaders, starting with Gov. Eliot Spitzer, should get on
There is good reason to act quickly. As much as $500 million of
federal funding for a three-year pilot project is hanging in the
balance. If there is no green light from Albany before the end of the
fiscal year on Sept. 30, the money may have to be reauthorized.
The financial case for congestion pricing is compelling. The fees
that are collected would help pay for $31 billion in mass transit
capital improvements over the next two decades. State lawmakers have
not offered any other ideas for coming up with that critical funding.
If congestion pricing does not go through, transit riders can expect a
fare hike, perhaps as early as this year, along with tax increases.
That would be a greater burden on New Yorkers than a voluntary fee....
WED. NIGHT UPDATE: It's 7 -1 Yankees in the 7th inning, so it looks like the Yanks will pull this one out (if they don't, OMG*). Taking two out of three is normally good, but unless the Sox are are going to stop playing so well, the Yanks really wanted to sweep this series, so they could pick up 3 games in the standings instead of just 1.
Boston has a .689 record, and in the Wild Card Race Cleveland is playing .628 and Detroit's at .614. Normally you wouldn't worry about that at this stage in the season, but the Yankees are 4 games under .500. Over the course of a season, .689 works out to 111 wins. Including tonight's game, the Yankees would have to go 91 and 27 (.771) to equal that. In essence, they need to play well and hope the Sox cool off significantly, or go after Cleveland and Detroit, who are both playing very well. New York gets more chances against Boston, and every win against them counts double in the standings.
Ninety-five wins might not be enough to get in the playoffs this year, but from here on in the Yanks have to play .635 baseball to get to 95 wins. This team could be capable of that, but not the way they've played so far.
* Yankee pitchers in relief of Pettitte are giving up almost a run an inning, and Farnsworth just gave up a home run to the first batter he faced. To add insult to injury, it was Coco Crisp who hit the home run: Crisp had gone 180 at bats without a home run.
FOR MORE than a month, the Yankees found one way after another to lose. Mo would lose one night, then the three and four hitters went cold at the same time, rookies replaced injured veterans and went down with broken legs and broken fingers ...
For the first time in weeks, though, the Yankees have just won two games in a row, the second being the first game in a three game series against the Red Sox. They are now only 9 1/2 games behind the Sox, and Moose pitches against Tavarez tonight, with Pettitte against Schilling on Thursday. Have the Yankees finally turned it around?
Will Abreu hit for more than two games? After being stone cold, A-Rod is hot again, and that could be big. Kurt Schilling has this interesting comment about A-Rod last month:
I think there’s a major difference between a hot hitter, and a hall of
fame hot hitter. Hot hitters still have holes, the latter don’t. I
throw him three curve balls and get him to two strikes. I know he’s not
looking for that many but the pitch feels good at the time and we get
to two strikes on a call and a chase, The AB ends on a deep FB to right
center but at that moment he shows me how locked in he is. I threw him
a pretty well located fastball down and away, and with his butt out he
still centered it and drove it to deep RCF.
Of course the Yankees showed in April that A-Rod's not enough by himself: he led them to scoring the most team runs in baseball, and they still couldn't get over .500. But it here's hoping that the hitting and the pitching will now do well at the same time.