Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Reacting to NYT Seaside Article
This article is evidence that after 25 years, Seaside is starting to be "broken in." Robert Davis and DPZ know this. Urbanism happens over time. The criticism of many new urban projects is certainly valid, but many forget that most NU developments are extremely "young." Ever see pictures of Back Bay Boston in the early 1860's? How about the Champs Elysees shortly after Haussman worked his magic? They both looked pretty contrived and stale. Let these places evolve, gain some grit, grow into themselves, and we will see that Traditional Neighborhood Developments and traditional urban forms hold up much better in the long run than other current alternatives. As for Seaside's affordability (yikes!)...if we built more places that mattered then we might see a depression in prices as demand is met. There are only a few places that that provide the amenities that many crave (think San Francisco,Portland OR, Boston, NYC, even Ann Arbor etc..) As it stands now, supply of good urban form in this country is so sparse that those places that have created, or maintained it, see so much demand that most of us can't afford to live there. I am not equating Seaside with either Boston, or Paris....just that urban form needs time. We often forget that.