Remapping a city when you can't start from scratch
Updated: Sep 16, 2020
"Those who don't learn from history are destined to repeat the mistakes of the past." As statues topple in our cities, is history being erased or made politically proper? In today's polarized public forum of cyber-chat-hate-speech-shout-you-down-for-asking-such-questions, the question must be asked... Shouldn't we acknowledge the mistakes of the past out loud? Remember them clearly? And make them known?
The mistakes of urban development are often corrected with a wrecking ball too. Narrow streets are replaced with highway overpasses, but is this progress? Obsolete floor plans and low rise buildings are raised and replaced by parking lots or parking decks, but is this progress? Walkable urban centers, decay and cities sprawl outward toward greener fields, but is this progress?
As I drove around America during the pandemic this year, I saw soulless strip malls which could have been anywhere-America. The cookie cutter fabric of our country is one giant Walmart-Subway-Burger King exit ramp. If the street names didn't change, the scenery didn't either.
Maybe the wrecking ball is the answer?