There’s an important traveling exhibition making a stop at the Center for Architecture in NY until January 4, called People Building Better Cities. It’s well worth a visit, judging by the public forums. Presentations about creative inclusive planning techniques, such as Interboro Partners’ Holding Pattern at PS 1 MOMA and Candy Chang’s Before I Die, public bulletins for airing eons-old constants, struck a major chord with the audience.
The contrast with what resonates with people and the cities in which they live – at the very essence these are the expressions of their dreams, desires, aspirations, and wishes – seem oceans away from the policies and politics that govern cities, what with urban funding and financing regulations, rules for public right-of-way, and law. City-making, when it truly involves people, is messy, non-linear, subjective, and rooted in the abstract. But we should strive to connect what we believe are tangible reflections of such desires – so-and-so development with such-and-such public space, or a newly improved transit system – with those very desires. There’s a lot to be done to build this connection, but it’s a worthwhile endeavor with a great many aforementioned talents contributing to the collective effort.
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