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Quebec City - very beautiful indeed

ablarc

     
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#21
BKM said:
...Unless you want the old economy to come back somehow (small businesses, local owned firms, etc.) Which I would actually like to see :) ablarc: you even complain when national chains do try to "fit in" to an old, quaint business district. Their attempts are never good enough (see the drug store in that cute southern town).

CRITIQUE OF INDUSTRIALISATION

The belief in unlimited technical progress and development has brought the most ’developed’ countries to the brink of physical and cultural exhaustion. The fever of short-term profit has ravaged cities and countryside. Industrial production, that is the extreme development of productive forces, has destroyed in less than two hundred years those cities and landscapes which had been the result of thousands of years of human labour, intelligence and culture. Industrialisation of building must be considered as a total failure. Its ulterior motive has never been the professed proleterisation of material comfort but instead the maximization of short-term profits and the consolidation of economic and political monopolies. Industrialisation has not brought any significant technical improvement in building. It has not reduced the cost of construction. It has not shortened the time of production. It has not created more jobs. It has not helped to improve the working conditions of the workers. It has on the contrary destroyed a millenary and highly sophisticated craft. It has proven incapable of finding solutions for the typological, social and morphological complexity of the historical centres. And although building today is still organized largely according to forms of artisanal production, craftsmanship as an autonomous culture has been destroyed by the industrial and social division of labour. A culture of building and architecture must be based on a highly sophisticated manual tradition of construction and not on the formulation of ‘specialist professional bodies’. Industrialisation has in the end only facilitated centralization of capital and of political power, whether private or public.

--Leon Krier


BKM, tell us about Bolinas.


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BKM

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#22
ablarc said:
CRITIQUE OF INDUSTRIALISATION

The belief in unlimited technical progress and development has brought the most ’developed’ countries to the brink of physical and cultural exhaustion. The fever of short-term profit has ravaged cities and countryside. Industrial production, that is the extreme development of productive forces, has destroyed in less than two hundred years those cities and landscapes which had been the result of thousands of years of human labour, intelligence and culture. Industrialisation of building must be considered as a total failure. Its ulterior motive has never been the professed proleterisation of material comfort but instead the maximization of short-term profits and the consolidation of economic and political monopolies. Industrialisation has not brought any significant technical improvement in building. It has not reduced the cost of construction. It has not shortened the time of production. It has not created more jobs. It has not helped to improve the working conditions of the workers. It has on the contrary destroyed a millenary and highly sophisticated craft. It has proven incapable of finding solutions for the typological, social and morphological complexity of the historical centres. And although building today is still organized largely according to forms of artisanal production, craftsmanship as an autonomous culture has been destroyed by the industrial and social division of labour. A culture of building and architecture must be based on a highly sophisticated manual tradition of construction and not on the formulation of ‘specialist professional bodies’. Industrialisation has in the end only facilitated centralization of capital and of political power, whether private or public.

--Leon Krier


BKM, tell us about Bolinas.


.
On an emotional level, I'm drawn to arguments like Krier's. As a member of the machine (as are almost all consumers participating in the modern economy) with few "real" skills other than crafting lengthy reports in bureaucratic language (which I receive many kudos for +o( ), I am not about to go starve in the woods. :) Which is what would happen.

And, I'm not sure the society envisioned by many of the European New Urbanists like Krier appeals to me, either. Sure, the cathedrals were beautiful. But (and not picking on the Catholic Church alone-the fundamentalist protestant world of Handmaidens' Tale is even worse. And, try to deny that Handmaidens' Tale is NOT the secret hopeful utopia of many in power in a certain political party today) the whole society of rigid classes, absolute church power, and the like is also scary. Maybe the Italian city states are an alternative, but the violence and endemic "gang warfare" in Italian city states made them beautiful, but frightening places. They certainly had local craftsmanship and local pride. :)

Since industrialism is creaking and collapsing, forcing more and more people out of the machine, maybe Florida has some point: in a country devolving to local city states, maybe we better hope that our city state is full of creative people???

But, I think the kind of creative blue collar work envisioned by these folks (or probably Krier): www.newcolonist.com makes more sense than advertising copywriters.


Maybe the Luddites were right. :) But, one could argue that the REAL mistake humanity made was the adoption of Agriculture.

It's Friday. I'm bored, 'cause I really need to talk with my boss (who's off today) to finish the Housing Element re-write I'm working on. Hence random and confusing rants on cyburbia. :)

AS FOR BOLINAS: Very stand-offish (they repeatedly destroy the CALTRANs directional signs so outsiders can't find 'em), very hippie, very cool. From a native's point of view (not mine): It's where rich hippies play at going back to the land. Its got some pretty cool stuff. I should be an annoying tourist and photograph the place. Maybe Marin instead of SF this weekend!? We're having a heat wave, though, so it'll be crowded.
 
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#23
ablarc,

In attempting to compare the pre-planning city to the planned city, I think you're really just comparing the pre-auto city to the auto city. If planning regulations are primarily to blame for sprawl, shouldn't zoning-less Houston be a smart growther's dream? Why don't we find too many examples of the market freely creating walkable metropoli in modern North America? Is it that model Portland, Oregon actually has less regulations on land use than sprawl king Atlanta? Of course highway subsidies and other factors are at play everywhere in North America and drive industry to sprawl. But on a local level, I see many more modern examples of the lack of planning creating low density, auto-clogged development. Aren't you comparing apples and oranges? What modern North American cities prove your point?
 

ablarc

     
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#24
passdoubt said:
ablarc,

What modern North American cities prove your point?
No whole cities at all, passdoubt (but you knew that). There is no place left free of zoning (not even Houston, I believe), and the suburb is enshrined in that zoning, whether intentionally or unwittingly. Until recently it hardly made any difference, because no developer was interested in building anything urban.

But that has now changed, and it has changed with a vengeance; but the zoning that prevents it is still mindlessly in place. The consequence: every urban project outside the inner urban core needs special zoning, which is arduous, expensive, time-consuming and often unsuccessful.

A constant mantra holds that New Urbanism should address infill adjacent to existing urban fabric to allow radiating zones of urbanism to eventually fuse, but these fringe areas are exactly where you will find the zoning is most obstructive. Usually the developer gives up because his intended project isn’t big enough to recover the cost of getting the zoning changed; so he puts in a car wash or a McDonald’s or passes it up entirely. I am personally acquainted with instances of this sorry happenstance; and here’s a newspaper account of a stretch of Boston kept from urbanization for half a century by idiotic zoning. Everyone in Boston knows this place and has wondered why it is the way it is, and very few people have put two and two together:

http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?t=13850

Now, thank goodness, the redevelopment agency has repented and is taking steps to rectify its error. I can absolutely guarantee you that this place would have seen genuine urban development decades ago if not for the zoning. For evidence, here is the intensely urban project that greedy-developer Harvard (no fool) has proposed to precipitate the rethinking of this area:



This street currently looks like any decrepit suburban edge-city strip. Incomprehensible to most people in Boston these many years.



Some version of this project could have been built any time in the last three or four decades under different zoning.



The modern suburb was more or less invented by Ebenezer Howard, the proselytizing father of modern planning. The entire paraphernalia of zoning followed in his wake. A different version of habitat is now being sold as the solution to the suburb. Its main proponents have been architects; it's time planners came on board. This is the time, as professionals, to say to whoever is pulling the strings: "Enough! We're tired of being part of the problem. It's time we became part of the solution. We're tired of enforcing this nonsense. (Take your idiotic formulas and stuff them!)"

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statler

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#25
ablarc said:
This is the time, as professionals, to say to whoever is pulling the strings: "Enough! We're tired of being part of the problem. It's time we became part of the solution. We're tired of enforcing this nonsense. (Take your idiotic formulas and stuff them!)"
I'm not a planner so I'll ask those who are. Would this work? It seems like a pretty good way to put yourself out of a job. Who actually is 'pulling the strings'? How much control does the typical planner have?
 
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