Friday, January 13, 2012


Not so much a mailbag is a republishing of comments, in the comments section of various posts here, and on twitter, which I'll deem as part of the digital public realm. First, dwind3 alerted me to a few things including this rather amazing post at Atlantic Cities illustrating the before/after effects of modern transportation planning and design:

Buffalo, Then and Now (1902-2011)

But we HAD to take those properties. It was for the greater good. And we had to build roads with x,y, and z dimensions and turning radii, because the good book of traffic engineering said so.
You gut the integration, you lose the accommodation. Integration = demand. Accommodation = supply. Cause and effect. As I point out in my Space Syntax of downtown Dallas post, the real estate market and building technologies built upwards at the exact same time as cities, states, and federal government unwittingly conspired to undermine the demand to fill those towers. But since the towers were new and shiny with whatever modern doo-dads a business may look for at the time, they cannibalized from historic buildings...which could then be torn down for parking all the residents that fled when their homes were taken for highways.

Complexity, proximity, efficiency, and synergy. Replaced with... I'm at a loss for words. Homogeneity? Boredom. Dullness. Nice to see the magic bullet of stadiums make an appearance though. THAT'LL SOLVE IT!
Dwind13 also pointed me to a development I'm embarrassed to say I've never heard of, and maybe that gets to his point, Parker Square in Flower Mound:

Dwind13 added:
You should take a look at Parker Square in Flower Mound. I've always felt like it had lots of good potential. human-scaled 3 story buildings, slow road with parking, shopping and green park space with a gazebo. But. They've insisted on no chain stores, and limited the upstairs space to office only. So... no one lives there. And it's surrounded by a suburban sea of houses. There's no reason to venture to the unknown stores because they go out of business so often. I actually think it's a zoning issue or something. i live by it, and its pretty sad.
My response (edited for the awful grammar and punctuation from typing on the iphone):

Until your comment I was unaware of the development. Your initial analysis is right. Any business needs awareness to some extent. Chains get it from recognition, advertising, brand awareness, etc. etc., Local biz needs the recognition that comes from proximate density of a real neighborhood. And return business from locals who develop a personal connection. That plan needs to fill in some of the triangle-shaped "square" to square it up, provide some buffer from the high speed arterial, ideally tame that arterial, infill some of the parking with housing, and improve connections to nearby neighborhoods.

The neighborhoods, of course, would probably fight any multi-family infill as well as any proposed infrastructural connections. Such is life.
Last night I was interacting with a fellow I've interacted with quite a bit via twitter before, mostly about various downtown issues, since we're both downtown residents. Little did I know, we actually live in the same building. On the issue of dog poop, which I've raised several times: here, here, and here. Frustrated with many of the residents, he referred to them as "suburbanites." Which is not entirely untrue.

But the issue is a bit larger and two-fold. First, the same problem exists in every building of uptown I've lived in as well. It isn't so much a downtown/uptown thing, but it is possibly a "suburban" thing, perhaps more conditioned to allow the doggie droppings to seep into the soil. If anything, I've found that much of uptown still functions rather "suburbanly," with alcohol and dogs necessary social lubricants between head down commutes from residential unit via dim corridor to parking garage.

I've also heard of many complaints pointed towards the type of resident whose parent handles their rent. Perhaps apocryphal, but logically a connection can be made towards a lack of "investment" in the community, even if only renting. The Mondrian had quite the problem upon opening of residents allowing dogs to shit directly in the hallways.

The other, is that leaving dog shit laying around is one of the more loathsome aspects of human nature. London and Rome are notorious for sidewalk land mines. Paris, hardly suburban, eventually gave up, adding a full time doggy janitorial service to sweep the streets of feces. The city found carrots nor sticks to be worth the time, money, and effort, eventually biting the proverbial bullet.