Planetizen deserves a hat tip for pointing me to the article Can Architecture Help Housing? [Businessweek/Metropolis Magazine] with the subtitle: The ideological catfights over housing threaten to marginalize all of architecture. Could the parties agree for the greater good?

Architects and urban planners have not been known to get along. With the latest housing boom, this gap, IMHO has not narrowed much. Architects have gained the attention of developers who have sought out Starchitects as developers seek to differentiate their building from the competition. New urbanists and other urban planners tend to be more macro in their orientation. Detractors call New Urbanism plop architecture or public housing for the rich.

With the devastation the has leveled a significant portion of the gulf, observers wonder if architects and urban planners can get past the nit-picking that has traditionally characterized their relationship.

The Businessweek piece wonders whether this next generation of architects and urban planners can do better than those in prior generations.

Now that architects are taking shots at one another over housing, can we do better than we did in the last century, which gave us sprawl for the middle class and Cabrini-Green for the poorest of the poor? Can we close the great divide between fetishistic formalism and social responsibility? Or are we doomed to a world in which architecture’s leading practitioners use their work merely to comment on social tumult rather than actually trying to do something about it?

This will be put to the test in the Gulf region as large swaths of it requires rebuilding. Its unrealistic to assume New Orleans can be reproduced exactly as it was before, yet at the same time, is at risk to lose its identity.

3 Responses to “Plop Architecture To Meet Starchitects On The Levee”

  1. I do agree with you. Architectrs and urban planners has to lessen the gap for better and safer housing projects in the future.

    My Regards

  2. pcampbell says:

    Who was that guy who said “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.” Oh – right Kennedy – too bad we can’t revive him – better yet get em all back on board – General G, Adams, Jefferson, Bad Boy Ben, Teddy, Wilson, Eisenhower, The King ( no not Elvis), Johnson, The Duke (oops)and on cause the guys in charge today can’t fight their way out of a paper bag. Or, we can do it the easy way – let woman be in charge and the men do the heavy work! No offense guys just telling it like it is.

  3. pcampbell says:

    Postscript: And George’s only equal – Lincoln.