Thursday, January 22, 2009

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DMN: Dallas City Council hears about benefits of planning denser neighborhoods (link)

I've cited Chris Leinberger a few times here. This is what he had to say:
...urban planner and Brookings Institution fellow Christopher Leinberger urged the council to select about seven areas in Dallas of several hundred acres or more and to use zoning regulations to encourage those areas to densely develop with residences, shopping and offices.
Hmmm...what was City Council's response:
Council member Angela Hunt called Wednesday's forum "an incredible meeting" that brought forth a flood of new ideas about urban planning for Dallas.
I can no longer bite my ideas? This is the shit you should've been doing years ago. Here is a big idea, Downtown Dallas will never be fully functional and reach its full potential until AT LEAST one of the freeways choking it off from the rest of the world is removed. The deck parks are a mere $60 million dollar band-aid.

Two wrongs, don't make a right. Or should I say, two expensive projects, one a horrific mistake and a deep chasm through the heart of the city and one a $60 million dollar band-aid, do not achieve a great return on investment.


Kunstler mentioned this week his belief that:
Americans will have to live somewhere, of course, but the terrain of North America faces a very comprehensive reformation. The biggest cities will contract; the small cities and small towns will be reactivated, the agricultural landscape will be inhabited differently, and the suburbs will undergo an agonizing decades-long work-out of bad debt and true asset re-valuation. Since the loss of so much vested "wealth" is implied by the crash of suburbia, this may be a source of revolutionary political violence moving deeper into the Obama administration.
If he is to be believed, which I believe there is some logic to, specifically when you see small and medium-sized cities rededicating themselves to their "Main Streets" and downtowns (and not just at a token level, but making real hard decisions, like OKC that is removing Highway 77 from its downtown. Well, the city is converting it to a boulevard, clearing up substantial amount of land both directly and indirectly for new urban development, new high quality neighborhoods.

Will OKC surpass Dallas as a great place to live? Remains to be seen, but if Dallas leadership wants to keep its head in the sand, leave the tunnels open, maintain the wide one-way streets, allow those streets to be dominated by speeding valets and vagrants, allow surface parking within the downtown core, and think this inner highway loop is positive in any way, this city will remain the as it is for decades to come until some leadership is ready, to uhhh, ya know...lead.

Sorry, I'm in a foul mood today after walking across Main Street this morning and noticed that the ummm MAIN street in the City's views to the East end in a highway and those to the West finish in a jail! Happy times. I shouldn't care so much.
edit: I should give credit where credit is due:
"We need to focus on areas we want to develop [densely], identify them, put a boundary around them. Then we need to identify areas we want to protect. Too often it's a battle between developers and neighborhoods," she said.
This is a correct statement on her part. Of course, I did this three years ago in the City of Springfield, IL and received the Daniel Burnham Certificate of Merit from the Illinois state AIA chapter.