The Worst Urbanist

Tim Halbur's picture
Blogger / Alum
We've gotten a lot of responses on our Top 100 Urban Thinkers list, particularly those wanting to separate out the 'bad' from the 'good'. Mary Newsom was inspired by the list to ponder, who was the worst?

Newsom writes, "The easy, cliched choice would be Le Corbusier, the brilliant but destructive architect whose vision for the city of the future was one of tall towers surrounded by large lawns and big highways. In other words, this guy invented Charlotte's suburban office park development Ballantyne, as well as this nation's many failed public housing towers. But Corbu was avant-garde and influential, and many others took up his theories."



Excellent post, except that it left out Robert Moses from the list of worst urbanists.

It mentioned the federal Interstate Highway System. But Robert Moses was building freeways in cities before the days of the Interstate Highway System, and a series of lectures that he gave helped to inspire the Interstate Highway System.

Charles Siegel

Charles, they also forgot the "Junta Militar" the Army government in the 70's in Argentina. They planned freeways across the existing city. It looked so "modern". Some of them were never finalized, leaving vacant lots everywhere, but the ones across South Buenos Aires, you can still see people eating in their dining rooms in the tall towers while you drive next to them-pretty much alone- down South. Well, at least you feel their company....

Although he certainly wouldn't have termed himself an "urbanist", Louie Welch -- mayor of megasprawling boomtown Houston (and an adamant foe of meaningful city planning, zoning or strong subdivision regulations) during the 1960's and early 1970's -- gets my vote.