Last Thursday at the Case Medical Library Douglas Farr
gave a brief lecture on smartly planned neighborhoods. I typically don't like to use words such as "green" or "sustainable" as they impose an aura of misplaced and misleading marketing that devalues the true intent, instead I would like to offer that Mr. Farr presented case studies and experiments in smarter urban planning with the intended goal of creating better used and useful communities. Regardless of which lens you would most enjoy peering through the end goal is to take these lessons and apply them in a manner that would benefit local community planning and development.
The crowd comprised of a few Case School of Architecture alum (which opened in 1929 and was closed in 1972, which is a shame as the City would no doubt benefit from a full local program), planning students from Case and CSU, some local architects, urban planners and community minded people who believe in strong communities. There were some noticeable people missing who shall go UNNAMED with the intent that they should already feel guilty enough about missing a local lecture on such a topic without being pointed out.
It is rather difficult to take a talk on planned communities and distill it into little memorable quotes. Luckily Mr. Farr did that for me and without his permission I will reveal to you some of the secrets you could have garnered for yourself if you bothered to show up. Take from it what you will. This is a TOIstudio public service announcement.
1- start an aspirational development
2- strengthen existing neighborhoods and corridors
3- fix the rules, ask the right questions
4- advocate for living locally
What exactly do those statements mean? They mean that for the most part American post war society has created an insular set of rules, mores and regulations that actually weaken neighborhoods and by extension communities. We (social humanity) are actually fighting an uphill battle to better neighborhoods and to do so requires a lot more work, understanding and manifested intent. They mean that for every decision that must be made it must be asked "why". Why is that decision shaped that way, Why do the building/zoning/planning codes require these solutions, Why is a development or community not interacting, not succeeding, not vibrant, not interesting? Ask the questions and think on the answers, then act in the necessary manner.
It really isn't rocket science, we had that licked in the 50's. This is a "soft" science and it requires diligent thinking to attempt to solve it instead of cookie cutter plans and misanthropic regurgitations of 20 year old books used as a marketing ploy. It requires a bit of research, critical thinking, a little bit of heart and quite a bit of hard work, and when it works a designer can sit back and go, "Well I tried to make the world a better place. How can I improve on what I last did to make it even better?"
Labels: Cleve. Events, Environmental, Reviews