Get the subjective out of the urban. Save it for the finishing details. We are all people not for our particular looks. They might attract you or repel you from one another. Or they allow you to recognize one another. But inside, we all have the same vital organs. The same internal processes. The same neuro-functioning. Architects thought they could gut the patient and rearrange the human anatomy into sculpture. Afraid it doesn't work that way Dr. Mengele.
Architects also have a real fetish for experimenting on the poor. Balzac (from the article) in Paris, Cabrini Green, Pruitt-Igoe, Bed-Stuy...all Corbusien. But the willingness for experimentation doesn't stop there.
They get downright tumescent when it comes to natural disasters. See Hurricane Katrina and the experiments on the poor emerging from that particular tragedy.
mmmm. Loverly. The by-product of a design competition. The budgets for the winning designs? Several hundreds of thousands of dollars. Incredibly practical way for housing the poor, no?
Brad Pitt may not have a brain, but he has a heart. Unfortunately, many of these architects got the opposite end of the equation. It's a shame they couldn't rearrange those collective organs into a worthwhile effort.
For a tremendous analysis of post-Katrina/disaster housing that is both astute as well as sensitive, follow this link (by an architect - with heart and brain in tact).