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.
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Autonomous Architecture Idea No. 3: Twist the Building
A FEW YEARS AGO, I wrote, "Buildings that lean! What will they think of next?" I didn't realize at the time that it was one of the primary principles of Autonomous Architecture: Tilt the Building, Slice the Building, Raise the Corner of the Building, and, of course, Twist the Building.
It's cute, but novelty has its limitations (see posts below).
BTW, the base is a landmarked building.
V&V: 1st Annual Slouching Towards Alphaville Award
V&V: Something Leaning, Something Blue, Something Bulging, Something NEW!
V&V: Just when you think you're out, they pull you back in!
V&V: Live from New York - Starchitecture at Lincoln Center
Curbed NY: Steely Damn! High Line's Newest Neighbor Unveiled to Critics
The Morning After:
Exxon-Mobil's The GOP's Pledge to America
REPUBLICANS in the House and Senate will tell us that their Pledge to America -- written by former Exxon lobbyist Brian Wild -- is "one in which the people have the most say and the best ideas trump the most entrenched interests."
But, from Grist:
When it comes to energy policy, the GOP leaders actually ignore public opinion, ignore science, and instead promote the same old ideas [pushed] by big oil lobbyists and other energy interests. The entire Republican energy policy is a single sentence: "We will fight to increase access to domestic energy sources and oppose attempts to impose a national "cap-and-trade" energy tax."
"Increase access to domestic energy sources" is code for "drill, baby, drill." This language is straight out of big oil's playbook, used for years by the oil industry's lobbying groups:
- "[I]ncreasing access to domestic energy is critical to our nation's security, economic growth, and quality of life." -- American Petroleum Institute, 2010
- "It's time for the president to let the market access dependable, affordable and abundant domestic energy." -- Tim Phillips, President of the Americans for Prosperity, 2009
- "This multifaceted bill includes the building blocks of sound energy policy -- efficiency, conservation, diversity, and expanded access to domestic energy supplies." -- Jack Gerard, American Chemistry Council, 2008
- "Increasing access to domestic resources will mean more jobs, more revenues to help cash-strapped local, state and federal governments and greater energy security." -- American Petroleum Institute, 2009
- "The President again urges Congress to pass legislation that opens access to domestic energy sources such as the Outer Continental Shelf and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge." -- press release from the Bush White House, 2007
- "We need to increase access to domestic energy sources." -- John Engler, President of the National Association of Manufacturers, 2007
- "Congress need[s] to increase access to domestic energy sources... [to] significantly increase domestic oil and natural gas production." -- Competitive Enterprise Institute, 2006
The GOP support for more offshore oil drilling after the BP Gulf of Mexico disaster exposed its deadly risks contradicts, rather than reflects, public opinion. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that a majority of Americans opposes more offshore oil drilling.
I'm hoping for Palin-Paul 2012, to sweep the Democrats back into office.
I'm hoping for Palin-Paul 2012, to help sweep the Dems back into the house.
PPS: According to the Washington Post, although the House Republicans plan to investigate White House actions on many fronts, including the BP disaster in the Gulf, they've been fighting over whether or not to investigate BP.