The Importance of Gateway Experiences to Punk Rock & Urbanism

Dan Reed cautions against an elitist aversion to sterile and inauthentic "town centers" – for all their supposed faults, they offer a stepping stone for the uninitiated masses to get interested in "true" urbanism.
March 16, 2012, 7am PDT | Ryan Lue
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Private, commercial, new urbanist developments (read: outdoor shopping malls) often provoke the ire of diehard urbanists. In much the same way that hardcore punk rockers are apt to turn up their noses at Green Day as a mass-appeal, commercialized perversion of real-deal punk, many advocates of rich, organic urban life wouldn't be caught dead within miles of a "town center."

But, as Reed contends, there's merit in mass appeal. To the uninitiated, what distinguishes the forgery from the real McCoy is hard to spot, except that the former is a little less intimidating, more familiar, easier to handle. Such was precisely his experience as a teenager, when Green Day shoehorned him into a fascination with punk rock, just as a friend's birthday party at D.C.'s Washingtonian Center shoehorned him into a fascination with public space.

So perhaps over-planned, manufactured spaces should not be dismissed out of hand. After all, everyone has to start somewhere.

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Published on Tuesday, March 6, 2012 in Greater Greater Washington
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