What if American cities legislated brighter color amid windows, balconies planted green and encouraged flags and hanging laundry? What if homeowner associations and rental contracts required vegetation and decoration?
Once a big idea is vetted -- whether in an authoritarian or democratic way -- what assures its success? Most particularly, what if, from Day One, the vision pushes comfort zones of the achievable; politically, legally or monetarily?
Today's efforts to recreate elements of the city, of whatever prescription of urbanism (e.g., "new," "landscape" or "ecological"), often turn on issues once considered in design competitions long forgotten.
Edward Glaeser's recent piece on Seattle is great press -- the stuff of boosterism and for use as evidence in corner of higher education, in the face of looming budget cuts in Olympia, our state capital.
Less than one percent of stimulus spending went directly to cities because cities are "lowest" in the federal hierarchy. Yet cities contain the majority of the nation's jobs, population, and economic output.
If one looks at the history of some of our cities' most desirable neighborhoods today and recognizes what a staggering number of them were once miserable slums, then a truly "creative" path reveals itself.
Carrion's departure leaves the Office of Urban Affairs at a crossroads. Without a formal leader, the Office is at risk of being lost in a White House filled with powerful figures and, as will always be the case, competing priorities.
Who was really "America's Mayor," Rudy Giuliani or John V. Lindsay? Each could stake a credible claim to that rubric, which was the title of a book about Giuliani and of one that I just edited on Lindsay.
Sustainable regions are only possible if all people have the opportunity to achieve their full potential. Areas that embrace this "regional equity" focus will be on the fast-track to economic stability and growth.