Friday, July 29, 2011

Dhiru Thadani Lecture and Q&A

Yesterday the CNU hosted a dual lecture by Dhiru Thadani and Anne Ricker and afterwards I moderated the Q&A. In case you missed it, here are a sampling of the questions I posed to the panel (some of these were follow-ups):
In your presentation, you made the statement that each car has effectively 7 "homes" or parking spaces in the country and that you would love to have such a luxurious lifestyle as to have 7 homes with a graphic with seven places on the country. Why no Dallas? /tongue in cheek. But seriously, what would it take for Dallas to make that list?

Anne, you live in Denver but do the majority of your work consulting in Dallas. You get the opposite question. What keeps you in Denver?

One of my favorite lines is from Lewis Mumford’s massive tome The City in History where he writes about Necropolis (or the collapsed city), stating “the multiplication and massive collective concentration on glib ephemeralities of all kinds, performed with supreme technical audacity…are symptoms of the end…when these signs multiply, Necropolis is near, though not a stone has yet crumbled.” Interpret for me what might be present day “glib ephemeralities” or glaring warning signs of impending collapse or long-term inevitable decline...

Do we fetishize “design?” and place it in such an abstract sense that design has lost any meaning relating to qualitative improvement and instead is simply what might be novel or different? And do we lack the metrics to properly assess whether certain efforts have been (past tense) or will be (predictavely – in future tense) successful?

We’ve recently concluded a downtown plan for Dallas and one of the critical issues downtown currently faces, is that land is “upside-down” in that the cost of land overwhelms demand for development. What strategies would you recommend (proven or theoretical) for catalyzing development when the public sector can no longer meet the gap between cost and profitable returns?

So what you're describing is Stakeholder vs shareholder economies AND planning/development processes and the importance of locally driven stewardship in a world of globally driven finance? And can that engine be harnassed?

I was recently reading about the use of “community shares” as a development tool in the UK where x amount of capital is raised with a cap on how many shares any one person can purchase. Can a version of crowdsourcing like that work in the states and what new economic tools might be out there merging the power of social media with urban development that could be profoundly transformative in how we finance urbanism?

If you want the answers, too bad, you should have attended.