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Monday, May 24, 2010

Kunstler on Atlanta's CNU conference, the devil as city planner

click to enlarge Never pass up a chance to use 1980s boosterish ads for our up-and-coming city
  • Never pass up a chance to use 1980s boosterish ads for our up-and-coming city

You gotta love James Howard Kunstler, the fierce critic of suburbia. The man sure knows how to begin a blog post:

If the Devil created an anti-city, a place where people would feel least human, Atlanta would surely be that place -- despite the prayerful babble of tongues emanating from the evangelical roller rinks at every freeway off-ramp. One might think: Los Angeles, but that city at least came up with the amenity of valet parking, mostly lacking in Atlanta, where the suffocating heat slows the journey of blood from heart to brain.

Kunstler visited Atlanta last week to participate in the Congress for the New Urbanism's annual conference. For four days last week, chin-scratching architects, planners and wonks toured the metro region's madness, listened to David Byrne talk about cycling and cities, and jawboned about how our auto-dependent country is a fouled-up mess in need of an overhaul.

You'll want to read Kunstler's take on the event — and how he learned more about just how f'ed the country's lending situation is. He also touches on the concept of growing more crops near cities and developments. That's a good idea when you consider that the nation's oil-thirsty industrial farms aren't the most sustainable of operations.

New Urbanism co-founder Andres Duany talked about the same idea last year when he worked on the Atlanta Regional Commission's aging project. One of his visions for Gwinnett Place Mall was to offer room to grow crops. In a nod to the apocalypse, Duany even proposed building a moat to keep out the invaders.

Read Kunstler's take here.

(Photo, used with permission, from Larry Luk of Epidemik Coalition's Flickr)

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