Monday, September 29, 2014

Habitat



I've been reading A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction by Christopher Alexander.  Like Alice in Wonderland being faced with Drink me, I say to you, Read this.

This is a mighty must-have-doorstopper for anyone interested in New Urbanism and the vocabulary of spaces that you actually want to live in.

Spaces that feel humane. Not like the above. Or where I live, in Owings Mills.

Though the city fathers say Owings Mills is going to have a renaissance with the new Wegmans coming in, and will be modeled after Hunt Valley where the other Baltimore County Wegmans is, I say, to have a renaissance you need to do more than recreate a place that is so creepy and Valley of The Dolls to me, there is no there there. I apologize if Hunt Valley is your thing. No I don't.

To be a destination and a community you need street life. You need sidewalks. Trees. Hubs, not rectangles. Buildings with windows. Sidewalk cafes. Circulation. Multi-use. Window boxes. Not more big box stores. Of course I am excited about Wegmans selection of fresh fish.

But this price is too high. These suburban blandscapes suck your soul. Do you think I am being too dramatic? Too hysteric? I haven't even stretched my legs.

I wish I were half as articulate as James Howard Kunstler in his TED talk, "The Ghastly Tragedy of The Suburbs" who put it simply, "these habitats induce anxiety."

"One has to imagine that the architects of these places got together and said, 'Fuck it.'"

2 comments:

  1. I bought a property in a new subdivision modeled after a fishing village: crooked streets, houses all higgeldy-piggeldy, random pedestrian walkways and odd corners. It's amazing how pretty it looks and how human it feels. Perhaps the days of the regimented rows of houses are nearing an end?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes! "Modeled after a fishing village" "Odd corners." This is the way nature works, there are few straight lines.

    ReplyDelete