Randomly Friday

Miscellany for a Friday morning:

  • I really hope this project turns into a big website some day.
  • This lead amuses me: “The advertising world is all atwitter about Twitter. A majority of the public at large, by contrast, hasn’t even gotten sufficiently interested in Twitter to have a disparaging opinion about it.”
  • I’ve been reading this site lately for its take on the questionable practice of cites demolishing their ways out of urban decay.
  • Happily, I realize that I don’t know my classic rock very well at all, thanks.

4 thoughts on “Randomly Friday

  1. I think some cities are missing the point. They should be tearing down their suburbs, not their urban multifamily housing. It’s just hard to convince Midwestern city managers that their abandoned inner ring apartment blocks will be the next big thing. Shortsightedness rules the day in this economy, alas.

  2. The big thing for me is avoiding mass clearance. That’s pretty much never a good thing. Obviously buildings are going to be torn down sometimes, and no city wants big, unsafe, abandoned hulks. It also costs a lot to stabilize these buildings on the assumption that someone may eventually want them. In general, though, neighborhoods with huge swaths of vacant land are usually WAY scarier than those that just have a fair number of vacant (and even boarded up) buildings. Old, dense cities generally did not have large areas of pasture and grasslands in them, and when you see one, it’s a tell-tale sign that something is terribly wrong.

    I’d venture a guess that the fact that many Pittsburghers have been able to buy a neighboring house and create a yard has probably kept a lot of residents in the city who might otherwise have abandoned it. I’m not wild about this trend, but its smaller scale doesn’t bother me nearly as much as clearing whole blocks or landmark buildings in order to build essentially nothing but (generally unneeded) parking.

    Unfortunately the “make no small plans” approach to planning and development usually translates into “make no small mistakes.” This applies to destruction as well as construction. You can usually rehab a building that has sat empty for years, but you can’t put back a building (or especially a block or a neighborhood) that’s been destroyed. Doing so just to create parking lots or pretentious campus entrances or even just vacant lots strikes me as madness.

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