Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

What is function without beauty?

Last weekend, the "Shaping the City" column in the Washington Post was entitled "What is beauty without function?" To me, such a column feels like a straw man argument, and the column implies that a focus on beauty comes at the expense of function.

I don't think that's the case the majority of the time that we get beauty or quality at the expense of function. Value engineering put a stop to beauty a long time ago.

As a result, too often buildings (function) come to us without beauty, or a sense that how the building looks and fits into the area/landscape outside of the confines of the site (context) even matters.

A 6/2/2011 article in the Northwest Current, "Work will restore front entrance for Roosevelt [High School]," tells us that the attractive entrance of the building has been closed to students for decades, that they have to enter the building from the rear "amid parked cars and Dumpsters."

What does that tell the students about how much they are valued?

The story is about how involved students campaigned to get their access to the entrance restored, and also how a campaign to get the school re-integrated into the community around the school. The campaign is called "Roosevelt Rises."

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