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Searching for a Fourth Urbanism, Part 5: Cityism and Parking

July 27, 2009

This post was originally posted in response to Frank Gruber’s July 23rd article in The Santa Monica Lookout News, via The Huffington Post.

Where’s the value in establishing any urbanism that so completely excludes such a broad and comprehensive range of cities?

I’m an urban/landscape designer and I live and work in Flint, MI, so I’m more than a little biased. I’ve also lived in Vancouver, BC, for 4 years before moving back home to Michigan in 2006. Crazy, I know. I happen to believe that these two cities–more than any other in North America–have the most potential for changing (for the better) the future of sustainable and vibrant urbanism. They’re also both failing miserably, for different reasons. Vancouver is replicating and faking itself into mediocrity with its creation of vertical suburbanism–it’s the poster child for how dense, “livable” citys don’t make for great urbanism. Flint is what it is–the poster child for Fordism, modern Euclidian planning, and the continued failure of strong leadership, vision and diversity.

There’s enough cappuchino urbanism in the world already. We need thought, design, and action that builds on urbanism–whether it’s in Flint or Vancouver. Because they both need it BADLY. Just because it’s shrinking, right-sizing, or whatever you want to call it, doesn’t mean Flint isn’t a viable or necessary application of urbanism that can influence and inform, for the better, that of other cities. The opposite is true for Vancouver, just because it’s ranked so highly as a livable city doesn’t make plowing tower-podiums through historic neighborhoods or block-sized parking ramps the answer to every city’s woes.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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