Common ground in a liquid city : essays in defense of an by Matt Hern

By Matt Hern

An unapologetic safeguard of urban existence in a time of environmental crisis.

summary: An unapologetic protection of urban lifestyles in a time of environmental concern

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Additional info for Common ground in a liquid city : essays in defense of an urban future

Example text

It’s not the speed per se that I am objecting to here, but rather the process of growth that is reflected on the street. It’s something that Vancouver environmental designer Erick Villagomez echoed when I asked about his thoughts on density: We need more nuance about the implications of densification. This city was founded by developers and that has remained the core of the city. Obviously developers love density—it makes them a lot of money, as we’ve seen downtown—and although the city has handled it in a relatively decent way in terms of urban design, our densification has been pretty simplistic.

I think places like Thessaloniki and Istanbul, which have unapologetic urban histories measured in centuries, can provide some working ideas about how a real, or even great, city emerges, here and elsewhere. indd 38 7/21/10 5:05:13 PM THE END OF LAWNS AS WE KNOW THEM Istanbul, Turkey E ven before he won the Nobel Prize, Orhan Pamuk was the best internationally-known writer from Istanbul and famed for his work on the city. He has written a series of novels with a style that is so capable as to occasionally come off as clinical, almost cold in its technical fluidity.

But we have to do a lot more than put a sign up and mark a spot. That’s a start. If we can put our language up, then I’m all about the signs. But I’m not willing to stop there. Signs point you in a direction. We all know that signs are a message telling us something. But the last thing you want to do is follow that sign and find nothing. It has to point to something real, to something happening. I’d like to see a longhouse at Whai Whai. I’d love to see an interpretive dialogue going on there all the time.

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