Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Because Flattery Gets You Everywhere

Rather than let this comment, left today on a post from almost 2 years ago about everything Victory did wrong, sit idly deep within the archival bowels of a google data center to be named later, I decided to bump it to the top (or because I haven't begun the "Proper Urbanism of Hamsterdam" post I've been itching to put together). It follows (and I promise this wasn't me):

Great Blog. Many a valued opinion that I share. I've been stuck on here for the better part of the day. I'll be a avid reader from here on out.

I live in North Dallas, cookie cutter suburb, by necessity rather than choice. Our location has a big box centre if you like that is separated from us by a 6 lane parkway on both sides.

Having lived in Italy and the UK for extended periods of time I fully grasp the concept of livability and I do think the potential exists in Big D for the city proper to achieve this. The intersection you speak of, I have stood at also and it speaks volumes. I was initially dumbstruck when I stumbled upon it. I'd like to move down there when the opportunity presents itself.

The few times I've been down VP it struck me as a Island in disconnect. It was weird. The idea of AAC as a central attraction is good when its volume of people you want in and out, when its volume you want in and lingering you need to look at a stadium neighborhood like Chelsea or Highbury in London. The people leaving need to walk through a 'high street' as the poms refer to it, to get to and from the attraction. I couldn't do that and it pissed me off to be fair. I'd like to see a change to this effect or any effect that would make a trip down there last longer.

Thanks Deaconskye,

You'll be interested to know that my next column for D Magazine (just submitted the draft about a week ago) for the April issue is on "How Victory Will Win?"

Good thoughts too. I'm tentatively planning an autumn trip to London to catch a premier league game at White Hart Lane.

In this country we have a fundamental disconnect between traffic and placemaking. In functional, healthy "High Streets," there is a direct relationship. Move the most amount of people, have the highest degree of placemaking. We have the opposite, an indirect relationship because of the dominance of car travel (which by no means is a product of market forces, but instead one of policy and subsidy).

Unfortunately, the quest for moving car traffic suffocates other forms of traffic, particularly the most important for urban livelihood, pedestrian traffic.

The "High Street" of Victory is Houston St., the road on the backside. This is where all the pedestrians walk, but Victory turned its back on it. Presumably because there was no flex from city transportation for real improvements to Houston, supportive of the massive investment happening at Victory. Instead, the result - because of Houston likely being on some BS thoroughfare plan and therefore sacred - becomes a negative influence on Victory.

Saving Victory will be about eliminating these negative influences one-by-one. And if not completely reversing the repellant aspects, at least mitigating them as much as possible. Some of which are external (such as the road network and the nearby garden apartment superblock), others are internal and systemic in the branding, marketing, and hence, design. It was made to be exclusive. But urban places are populated, therefore inclusive. Too many of our recent "mixed-use live-work-play" touted projects think they can overcome bad urban design with the exterior trappings of urbanism (storefronts, street trees, parallel parking, housing above retail). Except all of those things are an outgrowth of urbanism, the reason to be there.

Our approach to urban development too often is like Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs. All of the forcibly exfoliated skin of women you layer upon yourself doesn't make you pretty or a woman. But thumbs up for motivation!