Urbanism Quotes

Quotes tagged as "urbanism" Showing 1-30 of 35
Jane Jacobs
“You can neither lie to a neighbourhood park, nor reason with it. 'Artist's conceptions' and persuasive renderings can put pictures of life into proposed neighbourhood parks or park malls, and verbal rationalizations can conjure up users who ought to appreciate them, but in real life only diverse surroundings have the practical power of inducing a natural, continuing flow of life and use.”
Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Jane Jacobs
“To generate exuberant diversity in a city's streets and districts four conditions are indispensable:

1. The district, and indeed as many of its internal parts as possible, must serve more than one primary function; preferably more than two...

2. Most blocks must be short; that is, streets and opportunities to turn corners must be frequent.

3. The district must mingle buildings that vary in age and condition, including a good proportion of old ones so that they vary in the economic yield they must produce. This mingling must be fairly close-grained.

4. There must be a sufficiently dense concentration of people, for whatever purposes they may be there...”
Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Socrates
“By far the greatest and most admirable form of wisdom is that needed to plan and beautify cities and human communities.”
Socrates

Jane Jacobs
“I have been dwelling upon downtowns. This is not because mixtures of primary uses are unneeded elsewhere in cities. On the contrary they are needed, and the success of mixtures downtown (on in the most intensive portions of cities, whatever they are called) is related to the mixture possible in other part of cities.”
Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Jane Jacobs
“Everyone is aware that tremendous numbers of people concentrate in city downtowns and that, if they did not, there would be no downtown to amount to anything--certainly not one with much downtown diversity.”
Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Robert Doisneau
“The charm of a city, now we come to it, is not unlike the charm of flowers. It partly depends on seeing time creep across it. Charm needs to be fleeting. Nothing could be less palatable than a museum-city propped up by prosthetic devices of concrete.

Paris is not in danger of becoming a museum-city, thanks to the restlessness and greed of promoters. Yet their frenzy to demolish everything is less objectionable than their clumsy determination to raise housing projects that cannot function without the constant presence of an armed police force…

All these banks, all these glass buildings, all these mirrored facades are the mark of a reflected image. You can no longer see what’s happening inside, you become afraid of the shadows. The city becomes abstract, reflecting only itself. People almost seem out of place in this landscape. Before the war, there were nooks and crannies everywhere.

Now people are trying to eliminate shadows, straighten streets. You can’t even put up a shed without the personal authorization of the minister of culture.

When I was growing up, my grandpa built a small house. Next door the youth club had some sheds, down the street the local painter stored his equipment under some stretched-out tarpaulin. Everybody added on. It was telescopic. A game. Life wasn’t so expensive — ordinary people would live and work in Paris. You’d see masons in blue overalls, painters in white ones, carpenters in corduroys. Nowadays, just look at Faubourg Sainte-Antoine — traditional craftsmen are being pushed out by advertising agencies and design galleries. Land is so expensive that only huge companies can build, and they have to build ‘huge’ in order to make it profitable. Cubes, squares, rectangles. Everything straight, everything even. Clutter has been outlawed. But a little disorder is a good thing. That’s where poetry lurks. We never needed promoters to provide us, in their generosity, with ‘leisure spaces.’ We invented our own. Today there’s no question of putting your own space together, the planning commission will shut it down. Spontaneity has been outlawed. People are afraid of life.”
Robert Doisneau, Paris

Jane Jacobs
“No neighbourhood or district, no matter how well established, prestigious or well heeled and no matter how intensely populated for one purpose, can flout the necessity for spreading people through time of day without frustrating its potential for generating diversity.”
Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Ivan Illich
“Beyond a certain speed, motorized vehicles create remoteness which they alone can shrink. They create distances for all and shrink them for only a few. A new dirt road through the wilderness brings the city within view, but not within reach, of most Brazilian subsistence farmers. The new expressway expands Chicago, but it sucks those who are well-wheeled away from a downtown that decays into a ghetto.”
Ivan Illich, Energy and Equity

“The course of urban development in America is pushing the individual toward that line seperating proud independence from pitiable isolation.”
Ray Oldenburg, The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community

“...Americans didn’t stick to cities, which makes us different from the people in other industrialized countries. We no sooner arrived in town, turning those towns into great mid-century metropolises, than we decided to take off for the green world beyond, so that by the 1970 Census, we had become the first suburban nation in the history of the world. And Detroit led the way, with a population curve up and down just like everywhere else, but with its urban decline a lot steeper over the past sixty years—so typical a place that it only looks like an exception.”
Jerry Herron

Jane Jacobs
“Planners, architects of city design, and those they have led along with them in their beliefs are not consciously disdainful of the importance of knowing how things work. On the contrary, they have gone to great pains to learn what saints and sages of modern orthodox planning have said about how cities ought to work and what ought to be good for people and business in them. They take this with such devotion that when contradictory reality intrudes, threatening tho shatter their dearly won learning, they must shrug reality aside.”
Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Jane Jacobs
“There is a widespread belief that americans hate cities. I think it is probable that Americans hate city failure, but, from the evidence, we certainly do not hate successful and vital city areas. On the contrary, so many people want to make use of such places, so many people want to work in them or live in them or visit in them, that municipal self-destruction ensues. In killing successful diversity combinations with money, we are employing perhaps our nearest equivalent to killing with kindness.”
Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Beryl Markham
“From the time I arrived in British East Africa at the indifferent age of four and went through the barefoot stage of early youth hunting wild pig with the Nandi, later training racehorses for a living, and still later scouting Tanganyika and the waterless bush country between the Tana and Athi Rivers, by aeroplane, for elephant, I remained so happily provincial I was unable to discuss the boredom of being alive with any intelligence until I had gone to London and lived there for a year. Boredom, like hookworm, is endemic.”
Beryl Markham, West with the Night

“Urbanism is the most advanced, concrete fulfillment of a nightmare. Littre defines nightmare as 'a state that ends when one awakens with a start after extreme anxiety.' But a start against whom? Who has stuffed us to the point of somnolence?”
Tom McDonough, The Situationists and the City: A Reader

“But ideal cities are very much the product of their own ages. Designed as complete urban statements, they bear the unmistakable imprint of their own culture and world view in every street and building. And yet to be successful a city has to be open to continuous development, free to evolve and grow with the demands of new times. Like science fiction accounts of the future, ideal cities quickly become outmoded.”
P.D. Smith

Alessandro Busà
“And the space created by capital is a very seductive space indeed— provided you have the money.”
Alessandro Busà, The Creative Destruction of New York City: Engineering the City for the Elite

“The development of an informal public life depends people finding and enjoying one another outside the cash nexus.”
Ray Oldenburg, The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community

Peter Zumthor
“Construction is the art of making a meaningful whole out of many parts. Buildings are witnesses to the human ability to construct concrete things. I believe that the real core of all architectural work lies in the act of construction. At the point in time concrete materials are assembled and erected, the architecture we have been looking for becomes part of the real world.”
Peter Zumthor

“Living in a dense environment means a less stressful and time-consuming commute to work without the aid of a car. It's about a greater sense of community and partnership that naturally develops when you walk through a place and casually collide with neighbors. It's about feeling a sense of attachment to stores and bars and restaurants and their owners and employees. Frequently I will stop in to say a hello at a restaurant or store even if I'm not shopping or eating. It's about using a compact life to reduce environmental impact. For me, it boils down to this: a place you walk through is a place you know and love.”
Philip Langdon, Within Walking Distance: Creating Livable Communities for All

“I delve into the mysterious and counterintuitive world of helmets and high-visibility gear later in the book. But it's worth immediately noting this: while they're not inherently bad, they're less a safety device for cycling than a symptom of a road network where no cyclist can truly feel safe.”
Peter Walker, How Cycling Can Save the World

China Miéville
“…where the two cities are close up they make for interference patterns, harder to read or predict. They are more than a city and a city; that is elementary urban arithmetic.”
China Miéville, The City & the City

Owen Hatherley
“Brutalist architecture was Modernism's angry underside, and was never, much as some would rather it were, a mere aesthetic style. It was a political aesthetic, an attitude, a weapon, dedicated to the precept that nothing was too good for ordinary people. Now, after decades of neglect, it's devided between 'eyesores' and 'icons'; fine for the Barbican's stockbrokers but unacceptable for the ordinary people who were always its intended clients.”
Owen Hatherley, A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain

Ian McDonald
“A CITY IS AS much a state of mind as a place—a set of perceptions of place. On the last train home to Mullaghbrack or Gortyfarnham or half a hundred other BallyBogMans, two farmers fall to reviewing their experiences of the big city. One has walked the streets and avenues and come away with memories of glistening steeples and dreaming spires, monuments to men of bearing and import, Palladian porticos and grand civic cupolas, pillars, piers, and palisades, and the air full of singing birds. The other has walked the same streets, yet his memories are of grey brick tenements shouldering against each other like nervous thugs; cracked fanlights, windows boarded over with card, baby carriages full of coal or potatoes, tramps in doorways, cabbage leaves underfoot, the perfume of urine and porter, pressing people with voices like flatirons. They might have visited cities continents apart, but it is the same city.”
Ian McDonald, King of Morning, Queen of Day

Guy Debord
“The word psychogeography, suggested by an illiterate Kabyle as a general term for the phenomena a few of us were investigating around the summer of 1953, is not too inappropriate. It does not contradict the materialist perspective of the conditioning of life and thought by objective nature. Geography, for example, deals with the determinant action of general natural forces, such as soil composition or climatic conditions, on the economic structures of a society, and thus on the corresponding conception that such a society can have of the world. Psychogeography could set for itself the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, whether consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals. The charmingly vague adjective psychogeographicalcan be applied to the findings arrived at by this type of investigation, to their influence on human feelings, and more generally to any situation or conduct that seems to reflect the same spirit of discovery.

It has long been said that the desert is monotheistic. Is it illogical or devoid of interest to observe that the district in Paris between Place de la Contrescarpe and Rue de l’Arbalète conduces rather to atheism, to oblivion and to the disorientation of habitual reflexes?”
Guy Debord

Jane Jacobs
“What if we fail to stop the erosion of cities by automobiles? What if we are prevented from catalyzing workable and vital cities because the practical steps needed to do so are in conflict with the practical steps demanded by erosion?
There is a silver lining to everything.
In that case we Americans will hardly need to ponder a mystery that has troubled men for millennia: What is the purpose of life? For us, the answer will be clear, established and for all practical purposes indisputable: The purpose of life is to produce and consume automobiles.
It is not hard to understand that the producing and consuming of automobiles might properly seem the purpose of life to the General Motors management, or that it may seem so to other men and women deeply commtted economically or emotionally to this pursuit. If they so regard it, they should be commended rather than cricicized for this remarkable identification of philosophy with daily duty. It is harder to understand, however, why the production and consumption of automobiles should be the purpose of life for this country.
Similarly, it is understandable that men who were young in the 1920's were captivated by the vision of the freeway Radiant City, with the specious promise that it would be appropriate to an automobile age. At least it was then a new idea; to men of the generation of New York's Robert Moses, for example, it was radical and exciting in the days when their minds were growing and their ideas forming. Some men tend to cling to old intellectual excitements, just as some belles, when they are old ladies, still cling to the fashions and coiffures of their exciting youth. But it is harder to understand why this form of arrested mental development should be passed on intact to succeeding generations of planners and designers. It is disturbing to think that men who are young today, men who are being trained now for their carreers, should accept *on the grounds that they must be "modern" in their thinking,* conceptions about cities and traffic which are not only unworkably, but also to which nothing new of any significance has been added since their fathers were children.”
Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Colin Ellard
“The relevance of these special properties of the hippocampus and their role in map learning comes from a consideration of the massive upsurge in our use of technology for wayfinding. By focusing on the blue dot of a phone map, rather than looking about at our surroundings and making the effort to form a genuine map, we are short-circuiting the processes that we've learned to use over previous millennia. As far as finding our way is concerned, we have become striatal stimulus-response machines, racing through time and space like feverish maze mice hunting for cheese.”
Colin Ellard, Places of the Heart: The Psychogeography of Everyday Life

Zygmunt Haupt
“Czymś niebywale przypadkowym i bezplanowym jest takie zbiorowisko domów, podwórz, placów, skwerów, ogrodów i ogródków. Właściwie z miasta zna się tylko niewielki procent odkrytych dla oka przechodnia powierzchni "komunalnych", perspektyw ulic obramionych schodkowatą linią fasad domów i jest się zaskoczonym, kiedy jakieś sprawy zaprowadzą w środku znanego kręgu budowli na jakieś podwórze lub piętro, gdzie pojawia się przed zdumionymi oczami egzotyka niewidzianego nigdy z ulicy miejsca. To tak jak ze znanymi twarzami, które kryją za sobą czeluście dziwaczne i frapujące, kiedy przez kaprys przypadku znajdziemy się poza ich zwykłym dniem.”
Zygmunt Haupt

“A walkable community has to have useful things for people to walk to.”
Philip Langdon, Within Walking Distance: Creating Livable Communities for All

“Toward the end of the Second World War, a
new consciousness arose amongst the public
and policy makers of the Western World. After
ten years of crippling economic depression
and another five at war, the public demanded
something new from their disintegrating
urban environments.”
Lucas Mascotto-Carbone

Allucquère Rosanne Stone
“Electronic virtual communities represent flexible, lively, and practical adaptations to the real circumstances that confront persons seeking community ... They are part of a range of innovative solutions to the drive for sociality--a drive that can be frequently thwarted by the geographical and cultural realities of cities increasingly structured according to the needs of powerful economic interests rather than in ways that encourage and facilitate habitation and social interaction in the urban context. In this context, electronic virtual communities are complex and ingenious strategies for survival.”
Allucquère Rosanne Stone

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