The Best Sentences of the Week (Volume 2)

By no means authoritative or comprehensive, here's a collection of noteworthy phrases, paragraphs, commentaries, observations, and more from the recent week in the planning and urbanism discussion.

3 minute read

October 18, 2014, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Elvert Barnes / Flickr

"Instead, the 6.9-magnitude temblor made possible a leap of civic imagination. Repair became renewal. Callous as it sounds, the tragedy of the moment can have beneficial long-term effects." 
From "Loma Prieta quake left legacy of repair, renewal," by John King for SFGate.

"It's an unusual arrangement for an architecture critic, but then again, so is Dallas. For a number of reasons, Lamster's work could serve as a model for places like Dallas: paradox cities where the need for criticism is plain, but the means for underwriting it are nearly nonexistent." 
From "How Dallas Found Its Voice," by Kriston Capps for CityLab

"Of course, the best response to quarantine is to avoid the condition that necessitates it in the first place. That means, in the case of urban design, asking difficult questions about how our cities are made, and in the case of infectious disease, how we can improve public health infrastructure. And when those things go awry, as they inevitably do, to be guided by rational processes, and not fear."
From "Ebola, Quarantine, and the City," by Mark Lamster for the Dallas Morning News.

"From Central Park, Park Avenue or Park Slope, there it is. On the George Washington Bridge or Long Island Expressway, there it is. In the bleachers at MetLife Stadium or Citi Field, there it is. Everyone from cinematographers and muralists to tourists and snow globe makers must now contend with the tower."
From "New Manhattan Tower Is Now the Tallest, if Not the Fairest, of Them All," by Matt Chaban for the New York Times.

"In this light, the program of the building is a conspicuous absence in Foster’s video. While the architectural membrane becomes loaded with a series of nationalist messages, its operational aspects are omitted. Architecture here is reduced to form on the outside and well-lit void on the inside. The architects are thus recast as form- and image-makers in search of the objective correlative of a globalized Mexican state. Or to say it more simply, they’re three-dimensional publicists."
From "Air Nationalism: Norman Foster and Fernando Romero’s Mexico City Airport," by Ana María León for the Avery Review.

"The exhibition is an impeccable vacuum. The curators have worked strenuously, if invisibly, to keep at bay the full range of issues that have given the rest of the architecture world a full-on identity crisis in the last decade or so."
From "Comprehensive 'Gehry' retrospective in Paris draws sociological blank," by Christopher Hawthorne for the Los Angeles Times.

"City Hall is wide open, the receptionist who used to man the front desk having long been laid off. Though Lima does have a sparkling new civic center – host to the Lima Symphony – there is almost nowhere to grab a sandwich or a cup of coffee. One of the first things an outsider notices is that Lima and its townships lack what, for most communities, is the first sign of upward mobility, a Starbucks."
From "Where the Tea Party Rules," by Janet Reitman for Rolling Stone.

Aerial view of Oceanwide Plaza skyscrapers covered with graffiti tags.

LA’s Abandoned Towers Loom as a “$1.2 Billion Ruin of Global Capital”

Oceanwide Plaza, shuttered mid-construction after its developer filed for bankruptcy, has stood vacant on prime Los Angeles real estate since 2019.

May 21, 2024 - The Architect's Newspaper

Entrance to a drive-through car wash at night with green 'Enter' sign.

Ohio Towns Move to Ban New Car Washes

City officials in northeast Ohio are putting limits on how many car wash facilities can open in their towns.

May 16, 2024 - News 5 Cleveland

Ornate, tan stone capitol building with a gold dome roof and low-rise city buildings in the background.

States Are Banning Guaranteed Income Programs

Four states now have laws in place that prevent cities and counties from creating or continuing guaranteed income programs, and several more have tried or are trying.

May 23, 2024 - Bloomberg CityLab

California Governor Gavin Newsom announcing funding for tiny home shelter project in front of quick-build tiny home shelter unit.

California’s Tiny Home Pledge Still on Paper, One Year Later

A promise to fund 1,200 tiny homes for unhoused residents in four cities as a way to rapidly and cost-effectively provide shelter has yet to yield tangible results, but projects are moving ahead in some cities.

May 24 - CALmatters

Residential neighborhood in Colorado with fall foliage and snowy mountains in background.

Colorado Ends Non-Family Occupancy Limits

Local jurisdictions will no longer be able to limit how many unrelated adults can live in a household, a move that supporters say will help lower housing costs and help older adults supplement their incomes and stay in their homes.

May 24 - Strong Towns

A white crosswalk painted by Crosswalk Collective LA in Los Angeles, California.

Guerilla Urbanism Spurs Action From Cities

Rather than take a hostile approach to DIY urbanism, some cities are using guerilla efforts as an opportunity to understand critical infrastructure gaps.

May 24 - Smart Cities Dive

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.