New Urbanism Quotations
This is a collection of quotes that Andres Duany carries around in his portable computer
QUOTE: Amateurs accustomed to emulation made great places. It is the professionals of recent decades that have ruined our cities and our landscapes with their inventions.
QUOTE: Well planned cities can compensate for declining incomes by decreasing the cost of living.
QUOTE: The city of Cartagena is as comfortable as an old shoe.
(From a Colombian poem)
QUOTE: The problem with planning is that it has been overtaken by mathematical models - traffic, density, impact assessment, public costs etc. discarding common sense and empirical observation.
QUOTE: The most important task of the urbanist is controlling size.
QUOTE: On the failure of planning as process: when the job seems too difficult, the tool is probably wrong.
QUOTE: The pseudo science of planning seems almost neurotic in its determination to imitate empiric failure and ignore empiric success.
FACT: LA in 1970-90 grew 45% in population and 300% in size.
(Chris Leimberger, Robert Charles Lesser & Co)
FACT: California grows at the rate of one Pasadena every month and a Massachussets every decade.
QUOTE: Regional growth patterns require regional governance.
QUOTE: A Constitution is a declaration of interdependence. Metropolitan regions without regional plans are states without a constitution.
QUOTE: Hilton Head island is 30 thousand acres and is choking on one million tourists a year. Charleston is one thousand acres and gracefully absorbs 5.5 million tourists a year.
QUOTE: The technology of the automobile, coupled with telephone, radio and rural electrification, could foster a new settlement pattern of rural dispersion which could give to the whole continent that stable, well balanced, settled, cultivated life which grew out of its provincial settlements.
FACT: If they could, 84% of older households would like to remain in their houses rather than move to retirement communities.
(American Association of Retired Persons)
QUOTE: Higher density housing offers an inferior lifestyle only when it is without a community as its setting.
QUOTE: If what you sell is privacy and exclusivity, then every new house is a degradation of the amenity. However, if what you sell is community, then every new house is an enhancement of the asset.
QUOTE: Art, in a democracy, should be valued, not by an elite, but by the marketplace.
QUOTE: It is the absurd premise of real estate marketing to offer buildings of uniqueness, exclusivity and luxury to everyman.
QUOTE: This much is evident: aesthetics matter very much to the middle class.
QUOTE: Crime does not follow poverty, it follows concentrations of poverty.
(Reuben Greenberg, Police chief, Charleston SC)
QUOTE: People say that they do not want to live near where they work; but that they would like to work near where they live.
QUOTE: As we grow more isolated from each other, personal gripes grow into blanket truths. We have lots of opinions and we shout them angrily into the wind. . . .
(Carol Muske Dukes)
QUOTE: There is no community, only a collection of people who are strangers to one another. (Francois Gaspard)
QUOTE: How is a village a village? By including young & old, white & black, rich & poor, churches & shops.
QUOTE: The desire for community is a constant of human nature.
QUOTE: We must not build housing, we must build communities.
QUOTE: The house itself is of minor importance. Its relation to the community is the thing that really counts. A small house must depend on its grouping with other houses for its beauty, and for the preservation of light air and the maximum of surrounding open space.
QUOTE: In the suburbs you have backyard decks; in towns you have porches on the street.
QUOTE:The subdivisions of suburbia are conceived as a shopping centers for housing and only later (if at all) as communities.
QUOTE: As individuals we are weak & foolish, as a society we are wise and powerful.
QUOTE: The problem with the Global Village is all the Global Village Idiots.
QUOTE: America's public spaces are sized by the biggest fire engine the community can afford to buy.
QUOTE: The street, which is the public realm of America, is now a barrier to community life.
QUOTE: To allow for future street widening,traffic engineers promoted the big front setback and tried to eliminate the sidewalk.
(Anne Vernez Moudon)
QUOTE: Cars moving through neighborhoods are only borrowing the public space of the dwellings facing the street.
QUOTE: A street is a spatial entity and not the residue between buildings.
QUOTE: The role of the street is social as well as utilitarian.
FACT: The English Department of Transport has concluded that more roads create more traffic.
FACT: Transportation consumes 30% of all energy, 80 % of oil and causes 30% of CO2 emissions.
(Hal Harvey-The Energy Foundation)
QUOTE: Transit gives people the right to find jobs throughout the region.
QUOTE: Architectural codes must give buildings a sense of place, of climate, of history, and of limits.
QUOTE: Suburban Codes attempt to impose order, Neotraditional Codes avoid disorder.
QUOTE: Affordable housing was inadvertently eliminated by suburban codes.
QUOTE: You either have rules or you have anarchy; and the enforcement of rules requires a hierarchy.
QUOTE: The rigid, isolated object is of no use whatsoever. It must be inserted into the context of living social relations.
QUOTE: The chaos of the city of today can be opposed only by attempts at theoretical systematization, having the purpose of enucleating from actual situations - in a totally abstract way - the fundamental principles of urban planning, thereby arriving at the formulation of general forms that then permit the solution of determined concrete problems. Only the abstraction of the specific case enables us, in fact, to demonstrate how the disparate elements that make up a large city can be placed, in an orderly way, in relationship to the whole.
QUOTE: Like every discipline, architecture too, is confronted with the pressing need to define its fundamental principles and the means at its disposition. The exactness of the definitions require formal clarity and imposes order on chaos, in the most concrete ways.
QUOTE: "Reculer pour mieux sauter": to step back in order to better jump forward.
QUOTE: The beautiful is as useful as the useful. . .and perhaps more so.
QUOTE: We have legislators who think it their duty only to listen to the people instead of becoming expert on the subjects which they must decide upon.
QUOTE: Adlai Stevenson said "When I feel the heat, I see the light." We must apply a rude and relentless heat to planners and engineers, slumbering in the dimcomfort of their profession.
QUOTE: The facile delusions which conceal from us our true situation all amount to this: that we are, or can be, wiser than the wisest men of the past. And it seems to me that the cause of this situation is that we have lost all authoritative traditions in which we can trust.
QUOTE: Man is Nature.
QUOTE: We cannot continue to believe that the landscape is sacred and the city profane. They must both be considered sacred.
QUOTE: The loss of a forest or a farm is justified only if it is replaced by a village. To replace them with a subdivision or a shopping center is not an even trade.
QUOTE: It is vain to dream of a wilderness distant from ourselves.
(Henry David Thoreau)
QUOTE: Buried in berms, clad in weathered wood and weak in form, the buildings of suburban Hilton Head are promoted as ecological. But they are only apologizing (quite correctly) for their own existence. The compact neighborhood is the true architecture of nature.
QUOTE:There are two types of environmentalists: those who understand that the city is part of the environment and those who do not.
(Paul Soglin, Mayor of Madison WI)
QUOTE: Environmentalists should make good urbanists, since they understand systems, diversity, connectivity and interdependence.
QUOTE: Environm pollutes: a goose, crapping his body weight every month, degrades the nitrogen level of the water incomparably more than any of my houses.
About Inner City
FACT: In 1860, the capital city of Washington, with a population of 60,000, had unlighted streets, open sewers, and pigs roaming about its principal avenues.
This condition was worse than the worst of our current cities. There is hope.
QUOTE: Cities are gentrified by the following types of people in sequence: first the risk-oblivious (artists), then the risk-aware (developers), finally the risk adverse (dentists from New Jersey).
QUOTE: Modern architecture, as defined by the pioneers, is to serve mass culture
and to be shaped by mass production. Deconstructivism does not share these aims. It is, in fact, produced by exquisite craft technique and appreciated only by a cultural elite -- it is a revival fit for Rusk. Their claims of social radicalism is comically at odds with the expensive houses and chic ristoranti of its production. Only the neurosis of its practitioners confirms its modernist currency.
QUOTE: Because he knows nothing of the codes and practices that actually shape the modern city, Koolhaas does not understand that what he perceives as a stimulating freedom is actually a deterministic set of interlocking practices controlled by specialists in marketing and engineering, by municipal codes and banking practice. This system has been evolved and perfected for half a century by a developer-controlled think-tank called, the Urban Land Institute. The entire system is as precise as any that has ever guided the hand of the architecture. The proof is immediate: the difficulty of implementing even the slightest deviation, either aesthetic or typological.
QUOTE: Modern architects recognize 300 masterpieces but ignore the other 30 million buildings that have ruined the world.
QUOTE: Gehry and Eisenman can no longer get our attention. The only remaining radical act that will scandalize critics accustomed to everything is to build a classical building.
QUOTE: What condemns modernism is not its theory, but its practice.
QUOTE: Modernism is predicated on ignorance of the past.
QUOTE: Craftsmen work in a pre-literate world.
QUOTE: As a cultural institution, Disney is more influential than Harvard.
QUOTE: There is nothing more uncommon than common sense.
(Frank LLoyd Wright)
QUOTE: Deconstructivism is the "Urban Style". It attempts to compress the complexity, which is the purview of an entire street, into the ornament of a single building, there to call it the architecture of the real world. Disneyworld is more authentic.
QUOTE: The avant-garde mistakes individualism (which is common) for creativity (which is rare).
QUOTE: The architectural avant-garde extols cinematic illusion but denigrate its masterpiece: Williamsburg.
E-Mail to Andres Duany:75521.1325@COMPUSERVE.COM