The Music Of Failed Planning

<p>Some urban planning projects are so frustratingly bad you just have to sing about them ... or at least find some songs to help vent that frustration. This blog post from <em>Stuck Between Stations</em> finds those songs.</p>
November 9, 2007, 1pm PST | Nate Berg
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provide music for some equally soul-numbing missteps in urban planning.

Some examples of the planning fiascoes represented by songs:

"The Streetcar Suicides, Nationwide"

"At a time when few Americans drove, GM President Alfred Sloan remarked that "if we can eliminate the rail alternatives, we will create a new market for our cars." By 1946, a mysterious holding company, National City Lines–run by GM with a little help from its friends at Standard Oil, Phillips Petroleum, Firestone, and Mack Truck–controlled streetcar operations in dozens of American cities from New York to Los Angeles. They had an interesting business model for the streetcar operations: dismantle them. If that sounds like a cartoon, it's because it later became one; the plot of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is loosely modeled on this national disgrace."

--"Theme Song: Pretenders, 'My City Was Gone': 'There were no train stations/ There was no downtown.'"

"The Big Dig, Boston"

"The Red Sox have avenged the Bambino twice, the Patriots seem unstoppable, New England is beautiful in the fall, and Mission of Burma is back and better than ever. What could Boston possibly have to complain about? Maybe one thing: the Big Dig. Conceived as an earnest attempt to replace the antiquated Central Artery and provide airport access, the tunneling project took years longer and billions of dollars more than anticipated. More recently, the project has faced chronic leaks and collapsing roof sections caused, in part, by a contractor's concealed use of defective concrete."

--"Theme Song: Talking Heads, 'Don't Worry About the Government': 'Some civil servants are just like my loved ones.'"

Other examples of bad urban planning covered in this article are the Embarcadero Freeway in San Francisco and Cabrini-Green in Chicago.

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Published on Monday, November 5, 2007 in Stuck Between Stations
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