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July 29, 2007

Before you try to reinvent a place, you should be able to equal it.

Veritas et Venustas

IT'S the Sixties all over again: architects, politicians and machers are promoting urban-removal mega-projects — and the people are fighting back. In the early Sixties, Jane Jacobs fought Robert Moses and helped stop a highway through the middle of Washington Square and Greenwich Village. A year or so later, Jane Jacobs, Philip Johnson and Jackie Onassis fought against the demolition of McKim, Mead & White's Pennsylvania Station, but lost, and the city suffered.

”You used to enter the city like a god, now you creep in like a rat,” Vincent Scully famously said about the new and old stations. It's funny that the buildings architects propose today even look like those 1960s buildings (before the Beatles and the Summer of Love). All Power to the People, baby.

The "villages" proposed by New York City's Deputy Mayor in their Olympic proposal are obvious examples of what I'm talking about. The Deputy Mayor even considers himself a new Robert Moses (and says Jane Jacobs was wrong). Brooklyn's Atlantic Yards is another, although Frank Gehry's architecture doesn't look neo-Sixties.


Posted by amy at July 29, 2007 11:48 AM