Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Right is Wrong, Up is Down


I snapped this a moment ago. The "Please Play On the Grass" sign is superfluous, but perhaps necessary to the joke. The real aim of this post, not to mention the focus of my camera phone, is the wall.

Urbanism is about integration, things interconnecting. Interfacing. Creating synergies where the value of one thing amplifies the value of the other and vice versa.

It is building accommodation without integration, the requisite demand driver creating the very need for said accommodation. That accommodation might be 100 million dollar condos or it could be a welcome sign to play on the grass. But what market is there to listen?

People emerge at crossroads. This is integration. Cross-roads create centers, also known as hubs or nodes in planner-speak, of activity. The illogical city tries to create place, accommodation, off-center. Perfectly rational, because the cross-roads are so undesirable. So unsafe.

This is a building within a cloverleaf off-ramp. Such engineering gymnastics erode interconnectivity, value, and desirability. Demand. The driver of supply.

The wall, presumably as part of a parking garage, clumsily designed, is actually a rational by-product of the site and the cloverleaf. It is what happens when thought and design is bottled up into a box. Of course, is a rational response to irrationality, rational or logical in the first place?

You have to untangle the negative forces weighing upon demand. In this case, they didn't. In most cases, the city of Dallas doesn't nor does the private development market. And it ends up costing. In this case, it will be the investors and the city. Unfortunately, the investors are also the city. Its fire fighters and police pensions.

I don't like seeing anyone lose money. Especially when everything could be done right in the first place before having to go through these painful learning experiences of bad developments and mismanaged attempts at "urban" and "density." It usually means we'll give up easily and go back to the way things were. And that is what really scares me.

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And since I'm not smart enough to plan out my stream of conscience tweets in reverse order so they appear on a timeline orderly rather than chronologically, I'll post them as intended:

The wall as rational solution to an irrational, illogical city.

The illogical city defined: whence providing accommodation without ensuring the requisite integration that demands it.

Space with no place.

Place without reason.

Taxpayers left footing the bill of desire without demand.