On the Urban Ideology

Preliminary census figures for Chicago during the last decade are in and they are not pretty. The city's population has dropped to levels not seen since 1920. As the most notoriously segregrated city in the country celebrated the forceable eviction of the last tenants from the notorious Cabrini Green housing projects and plotted to tear down Robert Taylor homes, African Americans left the city en masse. In 2000 there were 1,065,009 African Americans in the city. In 2010 there were 887,608. Read more at the Wall Street Journal.

 

I've written before about the tremendous danger that the new "urban ideology" poses to us (for example, in encouraging the segregation of the poor into suburbs, e.g. American favelas and the homogenization of the contemporary city). The model of the "city as a luxury product" advocated by New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is unjust.

Standing downtown next to the Bean, the city's symbol of its reincarnation as a creative, global city, designed by British-Indian born Anish Kapoor, it's easy to think that the city is a better place.* In some sense, I suppose it is, but in other ways, it's not, the Bean could as easily be seen as the symbol of a globalized, high-tech, √©lite global culture. 

When will we, as architects, urban designers, and urban planners care about this again?  

*Disclaimer… Kapoor is one of my favorite artists, so perhaps this is a little unfair, but so it is. 

Preliminary census figures for Chicago during the last decade are in and they are not pretty. The city's population has dropped to levels not seen since 1920. As the most notoriously segregrated city in the country celebrated the forceable eviction of the last tenants from the notorious Cabrini Green housing projects and plotted to tear down Robert Taylor homes, African Americans left the city en masse. In 2000 there were 1,065,009 African Americans in the city. In 2010 there were 887,608. Read more at the Wall Street Journal.

 

I've written before about the tremendous danger that the new "urban ideology" poses to us (for example, in encouraging the segregation of the poor into suburbs, e.g. American favelas and the homogenization of the contemporary city). The model of the "city as a luxury product" advocated by New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is unjust.

Standing downtown next to the Bean, the city's symbol of its reincarnation as a creative, global city, designed by British-Indian born Anish Kapoor, it's easy to think that the city is a better place.* In some sense, I suppose it is, but in other ways, it's not, the Bean could as easily be seen as the symbol of a globalized, high-tech, √©lite global culture. 

When will we, as architects, urban designers, and urban planners care about this again?  

*Disclaimer… Kapoor is one of my favorite artists, so perhaps this is a little unfair, but so it is. 

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