If Books Could Talk…

17 Jan

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They might be called Richard Campanella. Equipped with a 30 year fascination of New Orleans that was sparked by a childhood book on Lincoln, Richard was all about the New Orleans deets. Our geographical guide showed us “what the rational designers” would say as well as the “cultural anthropologists”. Take the shotgun house, does it illustrate a well-planned design or reflect a communal focused culture that doesn’t see the value in privacy inducing hallways? Who knows. Even Richard is “two minds” about a-lot of things, but we saw was more than two-dimentional. One of the most striking takeaways for me was that even with the deep history of urban planning, innovative solutions to the same problems, such as, long-term environmental concerns colliding with communities short-term livability goals, always fall short. Building this levee, in front of a displaced community, is the best its going to get. Really?

Building Andres Duany esque surburbia in a city that reduces low-income housing from hundreds of units to 4, is the best that could have been done? What would cultural anthropologists today have to say about that (thesis idea #104)?All this landscape urbanism jargon makes my head hurt. Check out the movie Land of Opportunity to see a bit of what I mean about  Housing in New Orleans and the various people (including Andres Duany) involved in rebuilding New Orleans house-by-house, block-by-block, and design-by-design.

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