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Proposed Tower In San Jose Distracts From Good Urbanism

A group has proposed a monumental tower to advertise San Jose and Silicon Valley to the world. The city would be better off focusing on its streetscape rather than its skyline.
May 19, 2019, 11am PDT | Josh Stephens | @jrstephens310
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Recently, though, a group called the San Jose Light Tower Corp. proposed the erection of a landmark tower—a yet-to-be-designed $150 million beacon, of indeterminate height, that would advertise San Jose to its neighbors and the world. It would, in the words of its promoters, be a "powerful and enduring icon will be the place every visitor must see when coming to Silicon Valley." This enormity was borne out of the idea that a major world city—which San Jose is, at least economically—needs to be more recognizable and that the tech industry needs to be celebrated, as if it has any trouble celebrating itself already. Bits, bytes, and stock options are all well and good, but you can’t gaze up at them in awe.  

"A monumental tower pretends that a soaring, bootless structure will, instantly, make San Jose a city worthy of attention. If only it was that easy. I submit that, however much attention a tower would garner, it will most certainly not make San Jose a better city. It will, in fact, distract San Jose from the process of improving itself." 

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Published on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 in California Planning & Development Report
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