Good Listening

Logical arguments in Latin began will over 2,000 years ago and faded along with the Roman Empire several centuries later. An interesting contribution to the world of today remains in the structures of human argument as follows:

Argumentum:

  • ad hominem – the appeal to personal prejudice
  • ad populum – an appeal to mass emotions
  • ad misericordiam – an appeal through the exploitation to pity
  • ad baculum – the application of brute forces – “to the club.”
  • ad crumenam – an appeal to money, “the purse.”
  • ad verecundiam – the playing up of prejudice
  • ad ignorantiam – stress upon ignorance
  • ad captandum vulgus – a dishonest argument to “catch the crowd.”

The Standard of Risk

This is an odd post to do at this time. The thoughts of all on Eastern European theaters have only moved a bit north and west of the Middle East. There is more war-detail. No real loss of enthusiasm, but more emphasis on atrosity. I sense dread, but it is not as serious as thinking about my kids, old friends and how tired everyone seems to be. To dig into it, I began this long essay on perspectives. It is unedited. It will be a string of thoughts to come back and review, edit, remove and start again as so do we all.

RLC – Occupy

Urban planning is full of socially conscientious jargon: sustainability, diversity, social action, consensus-building, anti-poverty, ecologically sound, and a recent favorite, decarbonization. Many planners think that planning should be a tool for allocating resources to eliminate the significant inequalities of wealth and power in a society. That sounds more interesting than maintaining and justifying the status quo. It is a popular approach in social science schools of grad and undergrad universities. Thus the charge of a liberal bent. Change is motivating because learning to manage it is encouraging. The motive is reasonable, and it feels right to stand before that massive billboard demanding “A Fair and Just Society.” On the other hand, a drive down a road with that notice includes another. That billboard will always say, “It Will Never Happen.” Why? Progressivism and neoliberalism function in policy as if the proponents were mortal enemies. That is not the case. They are siblings of the same parents who want to keep the kids under control and uncorrupted, especially during a divorce.

When the public attempts to serve ordinary people, the task begins with laws governing the ability to trade freely in a “free market” and a public policy to fill gaps. Democratic solutions to problems become difficult when these two processes define the other as corrupt. For the planner, the control power builds on reforms of past errors in these markets. Buildings fall and kill people – write a safety code. Land uses poison land and lungs – legislate to protect the environment. Much can be done to either embrace or obscure failures. A property is taken by law and redeveloped by public/private partnerships to erase failures blandly defined as entropy. In all of these instances, clever T-shirts that say things like “Blight Me” or “There Is No Planet B” sell very well, along with resistance to a lawful change by lawful means. When these disruptions happen, you have met the parents attempting to distinguish lies from truth.

The Process for Corruption

The quick answer to the “lies” problem is that only the demand for currency and not cash alone will support intangible assets such as health, welfare, and safety. It is the demand that counts. Whether represented by T-shirt sales, or flipping property, the process creates openings during and after the push and pull of a reform movement. The intent is to capitalize on the obstacles used in resistance to “the state” and when it is “the state.” When that happens, you have watched the parents at work on practical matters of intelligence. However, the accompanying values determine likely pathways along the historical arc of questions of currency encountering parental guidance.

Those born after 1944 and before 1965 in New York City accept and understand how truth began to disappear worldwide. For New Yorkers, the disappearance has a date. On November 9, 1965, New York City suddenly lacked electric power for twelve hours, trapping about 800,000 people [? population of Tangier, Morocco] in the NYC subways and causing chaos throughout the Northeast. It was due to a 230-kilovolt transmission line tripping near Ontario, Canada. Then a blackout in 1977, again in 2003, and 2006, 2012, and 2019 now reveal to New Yorkers that these disruptions are part of a continuum. Although this example, among many others throughout the world, is given a specific tipping point, the causes remain meaningless. These many failures have one reason – the rise in the demand for power coupled with systems of organized lying. The ensuing malaise has “tells such as the inadequacy exposed in, “we are doing the best we can,” or the hypocritical “thoughts and prayers,” sentiment.

National Archives and Records Administration 1944

Nevertheless, the “switch-trip” part of the truth on the cause of events such as a massive power failure remains a source of assurance, if not meaning. A mere nod to the web entangling every person plunged into a sudden market failure and crisis reveals the survival instinct among those with political capital and those without it. Social scientists recognize psychotic elements in the survival instinct embedded in ordinary people can also be found in large corporations as they continue to enlarge.

The defining measures for a reduction of sanity include lack of remorse, unassailable leaders, disturbingly globalized economic structures, and resistance to comprehend the experience of others when damaged. Even war offers this unhopeful truth. With the enforcement of laws and regulations, the public is responding to disruptive behavior only to discover the impossible task of detecting future errors. Hence, the action creates a condition of contrast and comparison necessary to publish new law. That is the parent. The next question is about the currency of that parenthood.

The Mask of Persuasion

The desire for control over creating something that every human on the planet would pay ten dollars to acquire is arousing. Is this feeling similar to “love thy neighbor?” Both motives are undeniably human. But sadly, The Mask of Sanity (here) is on both sides, offering cash and currency. The free-wheeling explorations of the global capital mask are brought under political control all of the time, but not for long periods. These ventures cover the demands of social justice ideas routinely. Yet, the desire to get ten dollars from everyone every day to use a widget remains inevitable.

Despite the production of vast imbalances, recently expressed as a series of dirty little wars, ultimately just war prevails for the lack of headway on other fronts. Progress by its Latin origin would be a combination of pro and gradi and translate to for the stride. The proverb — the road is made by walking is a personal expression of that kind of need for change. The desire to get to a new place or resolve differences through negotiation and compromise unavoidably involves the reallocation of a resource. The walk is through a government willing to enforce standards. The policy examines this demand for change based on risks such as lawlessness, disparate causes, and violent methods—all events representing good reasons for being conservative.

The analysis of Ludwig von Mises (Bureaucracy 1944) and Friedrich Hayek (The Road to Serfdom 1944) describes today’s neoliberalism. They characterize the risks associated with FDR’s New Deal as a welfare state expression of communism and ensuing totalitarian control. Hayek’s book sales and the attention of the wealthy, fearful of powerful governments tuned by war, led to the Mont Pelerin Society, an organization dedicated to neoliberalism in 1947. Under these historical conditions and compassion for the status quo, the political aim embraces the spirit of reform. It is a foil against risk factors. A modern social reform will always look to a standard for justice in this granular context of the law built on the inadequacy of measures from one group to the next. Thus, the “he said, no, I said” context believes persuasion is the priority, not fact.

From refugees to American homeowners, the focus on distinct groups (regions) sees resourceful individuals, corporations, and governments agreeing to mitigation regulation, watchdog administration, and planning. Hence, since 1944, the advent of exquisitely refined measures with terabytes of data per issue. Each can measure system conditions in continuous change from one state to another. The first test of this new order has two words – global carbon.

From 1939 to 1944, the spectacular industry growth in steel, rubber, aircraft, munitions, shipbuilding, and aluminum became possible due to the infusion of public capital from 1933 to 1940. During these two periods, it was possible to build a public investment argument to resolve the excesses of business practices in response to an economic collapse and include the stimulus of a massive war in Europe.

Similar to the climax of the industrial era, the technological revolution became equally exponential. An excellent example is the number of internet users at three million people] in 1990 became nearly two billion by 2010 and four billion in 2020, representing over 50% of the earth’s population. It has occurred before, but this was the first time it was global. The macroeconomic impact was recognized early by Nobel Prize winner Robert E. Lucas Jr. in 1995.

“For the first time in history, the living standards of the masses of ordinary people have begun to undergo sustained growth… Nothing remotely like this economic behavior has happened before.”

Robert E. Lucas Jr

Parenting

Every parent knows that when you take a kid’s stuff away, privileges, or worse, their phone, or demean their political outlook, all hell can break loose. Setting milestones provide the mitigating factor to this crisis. Examples would be grounding for a week, reduced allowance, or driving privileges for a month. Parents can be very creative when controlling the household until they fail. The parents we are talking about here are very close to losing control of the kids. Very close, but then I came across a video blog by Anderson Cooper on the entire concept of parenthood. As it turns out, his quest to be the best parent possible offers valuable insight into the metaphor used here on the meaning of liberty in a free society.

His first thoughts involved the newness of parenting and the seriousness of doing it well. His first post introduced his desire to have conversations with other parents and people who offer advice. His first interview was with Janet Lansbury regarding her insight into parenting.

Kids’ personalities are constantly growing, and they should be observed and related to as persons. All parents have a unique relationship with kids. In this sense, it is the most private and most public of human relationships. Lansbury quickly clarifies the importance of the differences between parents and children, all parents and children of all ages, their caregivers, educators, and scientists. 

The rate and absorption of content in these relationships vary in these relationships. The example given is when a baby reaches for an object. A parent might seek to give it to the child. Being mindful of differences suggests other interests, such as seeing fingers, feeling arm motion, or cloth texture. From the beginning of a relationship, it is essential to not “rush” and consider combinations of perceptions.

Cooper’s inquiry then turned to how vital talking is in this relationship. From describing individual actions to making emotions known, the brains of young children function almost exclusively on sounds. The endeavor absorbs those that are inclusive and personally engaging from other sounds that are less so. At this point in the conversation, the idea of “braving the silence” came up. Like not rushing to give an object to a child, silence in a conversation is equally important in these relationships knowing the kids are not parents. Cooper noted it was a journalism technique to wait and listen for more during an interview to gain information.

The example was how can a new kid not change everything when parent-child becomes parent children. The silence helps to more openly welcome the unstated feelings of change that represent new levels of change, such as confirming being upset about this change in awareness.   Confirmation bias remains a confirmation confirmed in the relationship.

As most aunts and uncles will confess, it is easy to wind up the kids with the excitement of play itself. On the other hand, stopping play confirms a unique power component. As the parents will tell the aunts and uncles that the kids are not adults, parenting represents the initial relationship model followed by many others. When it is time to stop play, recognize “the courage to confirm” balance in building a life for the kids outside of the parent relationship is preeminent.

Cooper then turned to a parent and colleague, Clarissa Ward, on the challenges of being a working parent. This portion of the interview hinged on media communications with kids instead of the warmth of a parent’s personal space. When separated, the parents are in pain. On the other hand, the deep emotion comes from knowing the kids are not. Despite the separation, parents struggle to discover what is best for their children. Nevertheless, if the kids still feel love, are being held, appreciated, and sense stability, the parent’s comfort remains strong and perhaps survives the entire journey.

Government

Because it was Anderson Cooper, it felt appropriate to replace parents with governing and the kids with the people as a schema on parallel analysis to determine the number of components needed to uncover the underlying structure of a large set of variables. So the following is a drill down on finding the government and people within a parent and child metaphor.

His first thoughts involved the newness of governing and the seriousness of handling it well. His first post introduced his desire to have conversations with other governments and people who offer governing advice. His first interview was with Janet Lansbury regarding her insight into governing.

People are busy forming their personalities and should always be observed and related as persons. All governments have a unique relationship with the people. In this sense, it is the most private and most public of human relationships. Lansbury quickly clarifies the importance of the differences between the governments and the people, all governments and people of all ages, their caregivers, educators, and scientists. 

The rate and absorption of content in these relationships vary in these relationships. The example given is when a baby reaches for an object. A government might seek to give it to the child. Being mindful of differences suggests the potential for other interests, such as seeing fingers, feeling arm motion, or cloth texture. From the beginning of a relationship, consider combinations of perceptions and not “rush.”

The subject then turned to how vital talking is in this relationship. From describing individual actions to making emotions known, the brains of young children function almost exclusively on sounds. The endeavor absorbs those that are inclusive and personally engaging from other sounds that are less so while separating the parents and kids, governments and people.

At this point in the conversation, the idea of “braving the silence” came up. Like not rushing an object into a child’s hand, silence in a conversation is equally important in the relationships between people and governments. Anderson noted that the braving silence technique of journalism, to wait and listen for more during an interview, often gains essential information.

An example was how new people (siblings) change everything is when silence helps to openly welcome the unstated feelings of change. The unsaid parts represent new levels of change, such as confirming being upset about this change in awareness.   Confirmation bias remains a confirmation confirmed in the relationship.

As most aunts and uncles will confess, it is easy to wind up the people with the excitement play itself. On the other hand, stopping play confirms a unique power component. The government will tell the aunts and uncles that the people are not adults, and the government represents the initial relationship model followed by many others. When it is time to stop play, recognize “the courage to confirm” balance in building a life for the people outside of your relationship as the government is preeminent.

Cooper then turned to a parent and colleague, Clarissa Ward, on the challenges of being a working parent. The conversation hinged on the “coldness” of media communications compared to the warmth of personal space. When separated, the government will experience severe pain. But, on the other hand, a deep emotion comes from knowing that the people are not. Despite the separation, parents struggle to discover what is best for their children. Nevertheless, if the kids still feel love, are being held, appreciated, and sense stability, the government’s comfort remains strong and perhaps survives the entire journey.

Need a Laugh?

and Benign Violations 

Everything changed when the screen eye brought the horror of the world to you. To get over it, begin your day with a critical listen to Bill Hicks’ “Sane Man” on absurdities of American culture via Netflix and as you realize much of it shouldn’t be funny anymore, or go to YouTube for little of Samantha Bee’s political satire and then to the radar brilliance of W. Kamau Bell for a rush of the ridiculous truth on CNN.  Finish the mental easing exercise with the “release” offered by John Oliver and then go see Hasan Minhaj if you can find him.

If you are encouraged to add humor to your interest in social change take a look at the benign violation theory presented by Peter McGraw on TED

Basics

When you ask architects for a joke, or something funny, they say, “Sorry, I’m still working on it.” Urban planners, on the other hand, like acronyms. Here are a few examples: AICP: any idiot can plan, SLAP: for space leftover after planning: MCIP: my career is painful (Member, Canadian Institute of Planners) BANANA: build absolutely nothing anytime near anything and to more favorites, DUDE: developer under delusions of entitlement and BOHICA – bend over here it comes again. As far as urban design is concerned, I remember being told not to hurry around an old plotter because they can smell fear.

Harlem

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  1. Harlem Piers: W Architecture and Landscape Architecture Spring 2007
  2. Columbia Manhattanville: Renzo Piano Building Workshop and Marilyn Taylor/SOM, 2016
  3. Apollo Theater: Beyer Blinder Belle with Davis Brody Bond, under renovation (wiki)
  4. Loews-Victoria Theater: RFP issued, no completion date (wiki)
  5. Harlem Park: TEN Arquitectos, no completion date
  6. Kalahari Apartments: Frederick Schwartz and GF55 and Studio JTA, September 2007
  7. Uptown New York Reissuing: RFP, 2006
  8. Latino Entertainment Corridor: Architect TBA, no completion date
  9. East River Plaza: Greenberg Farrow Architects, spring 2008

Comments, images, pictures, stories, site plans are welcome on these locations. Additions are welcome (posted 2010)

Infinity & Change

A

lemniscate is a beautiful shape, easily recognized as a figure eight or an infinity symbol. The formula that runs this animated GIF is infinite as long as there is electric power. How energy is produced is how infinity challenges entropy.

Clients

Architecture Plus!BronxNY
ASSISTSalt Lake CityUT
Ball State UniversityMuncieIN
Ball State UniversityIndianapolisIN
Brooklyn Chamber of CommerceBrooklynNY
Brooklyn Children’s MuseumBrooklynNY
Brooklyn Economic Development CorporationBrooklynNY
Butler + AssociatesBrooklynNY
Center for ArchitectureNew YorkNY
Chilton Realty InternationalDouglastonNY
City College Architectural CenterNew YorkNY
Community Board 12MNew YorkNY
Dorgan Architecture & PlanningStorrsCT
East Williamsburg (EWVIDCO)BrooklynNY
Enterprise Community Parters, Inc.New YorkNY
FxFowle Architects, PCNew YorkNY
Goodwill IndustriesAstoriaNY
Granite Partners, LLCNew YorkNY
Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI)New YorkNY
Institute for Urban DesignNew YorkNY
Kitchen for Hire, Inc.BrooklynNY
Medgar Evers CollegeBrooklynNY
Michael King ArchitectBrooklynNY
New York City Department of City PlanningNew YorkNY
New York City Housing Authority Resident ServicesBrooklynNY
New York Community Trust, TheNew YorkNY
NYC Dept. of Housing Preservation & DevelopmentNew YorkNY
Open Society InstituteNew YorkNY
Pratt Area Community CouncilBrooklynNY
Princeton University School of ArchitectureNew HavenCT
Pyatok AssociatesOaklandCA
Regional Planning AssociationNew YorkNY
Rochester Regional Community Design CenterRochesterNY
Society for the Preservation of WeeksvilleBrooklynNY
St. Nicholas Housing & Preservation CorporationBrooklynNY
Sustainable South BronxBronxNY
The Urban Homesteading Assistance BoardNew YorkNY
University of Detroit/Mercy (DCDC)DetroitMI
University of ManitobaWinnipegManitoba
University of MinnesotaMinneapolisMN
West Harlem Environmental Action (WE ACT)New YorkNY

Vote Early

Like any clear-headed voter, I was in shock following the “what happened” 2016 election. I turned to Jane Jacobs for help and went straight for Dark Days Ahead” in my library and came to this in the first chapter:

“…the death or the stagnated moribundity of formerly unassailable and vigorous cultures is caused not by an assault from outside but by an assault from within, that is, by internal rot in the form of fatal cultural turnings not recognized as wrong turnings when they occur or soon enough afterward to be correctable. The time during which corrections can be made runs out because of cultural forgetfulness.”

Jane Jocobs

There is still time. In this election, will we forget the assault on the dignity of women carried out by a candidate for the Presidency of the United States? Will we forget the self-serving lies? As a candidate, he is that unrecognized “rot” in the cultural turning of a national election. Take hope in knowing it is not “fatal.” There is a time to correct. Vote early. To find where your early site is located go here. If you want to go the absentee route get the application here.

Biden/Harris

The terms of office in the U.S. Constitution assure the observance of character sufficient to support or deny renewal. Terms are kernels of political time, and like seeds, they carry stories of leadership. Some champion the highest of human ideals and guide us with the opportunity for growth with every kind of crucial nutrient. The message of the seed is not to grieve, but to find the nutrients to grow. The rot we have now will provide if left to decay.

I cannot think of a better time to build a massive effort to vote as JFK said, not because it is easy, but because it is hard. The cities are skeptical and easily angered, but on balance, unafraid of change because they are diverse and highly skilled in the experience of it. Today, it may seem difficult to get to the truth and I can tell you exactly where you will find it.

Walk to a street outside your home and accept this idea. Out there the worried search for nutrients and fear of change is strong. Many will be tempted to choose the false promises of a liar. Know that justice can be ripped from our hearts, but not without cost. To succeed in this task, one dark force in the world requires exposure and the “vote” is not all we have, but it is all we need to renew and begin again.

Vote early. To find where your early site is located go here. If you want to go the absentee route get the application here.

Vote damn it!

Form-Base Miami

Density is a central factor in creating the experience of urban intensity, but it is not the element that makes it pleasurable. Density offers access to many choices, but the ease of use is what makes it enjoyable. Many factors may point to a place of interest. Still, numeric measures are written alone to regulate height and mass with the floor area, and open space ratios are without the elements needed. To describe or judge success or failure is established in part by Mami21. Given the change in global conditions, this is a place to watch.

Jobs and population per acre are common measures of density. Simultaneously, design components such as the ratio of building mass to open space only frame the possibility of a quality experience.  Places from low- to high-density tie to individual place finding or marketing algorithms that provide a sense of position that reflects a personal value within a community such as Miami.

The images in patchwork nation will illustrate the U.S. in 12 community types by using demographic, political, and socioeconomic data.  What is not shown is how a census block group of any major urban center will easily replicate the nation’s image by county.  That the nation has these social densities as similarly as a city is encouraging. What the nation is missing is the intensity of the city as an intentionally diverse place.

Density and community land use formulas tend to see a house always being a house or an office complex limited to business. In an intensely used urban environment, these initial functions yield many new, often unexpected uses.  Density provides the opportunity for a critical mass of interaction. Still, it works best when combined with an open-ended set of form elements to produce the desire for development intensity that, in turn, leads to a sense of confidence about dynamically changing sets of land uses.

A region with 100 jobs and 200 residents per acre may identify a comparatively dense area and signify a transit-oriented mixed-use center. Using this measure, the development intensity tier includes the number of time intervals that link to other transit-oriented centers. These areas might have lower residential/job densities jobs per acre or higher.  Each signifies an edge where the intensity accelerates or declines.  The density itself remains significant as an intensifying agent within a traditional street grid, height, and scale ratios. Areas operating without this constraint tend to yield grey zones, lost landscapes, and forgotten trends. Growth without constraint is what kills them.  The death is rapid, and it shames the residential community into which it was injected.

Form-Based Growth

Before heading off to the University of Utah, Arthur “Chris” Nelson was in the Urban Affairs and Planning program at Virginia Tech’s Washington-Alexandria Center.  His research indicated a doubling of the Greater Washington, D.C. region’s entire built environment could occur by 2030.  The concept of exponential growth is intoxicating in mega-regions such as the northeast. Still, the Greenfield development rate is by all accounts unsustainable, and that policy measures to focus (if not force) this energy into the existing built environment require implementation.  Without new restraints, most job growth will occur outside of the urban core areas, resulting in nothing more than a vast enlargement of the current inner-city design process over a much larger section of the metropolitan region.  Conclusions from this analysis demand a new regime of land use and building controls authored on a regional basis and of necessity across state lines. One mega-region is contained with Florida, whose development concerns turned to a form basis.

The purpose of a “form-based code” is to yield to human creative purposes with a greater trust in performance measures and regulations affecting access to natural light, clean air, lack of noise, and other events or qualities that affect the quality of life.  When Miami 21 was passed by the city in October 2009, introducing the “transect” idea may change everything in land use management.  It is a boundary line around a land area for ecological measurements.  Injecting this idea into land use and development decisions is protective of life and contributes to contextual development events and conversion.  Although NYC used the code was involved in the transition of the West Side Highway in Manhattan into a street near waterfront parkland speaks to this purpose.  Today it is not exactly the Camps-Elysee, but there are aspirations. This potential is now far greater than that offered by former existence as limited access, elevated super-highway.

The principles of form-based code limit building heights based on the street grids.  Yet as a constraint, it recognizes and supports traditional neighborhood resilience.  These communities offer a vibrant series of mixed-use centers that accommodate growth and increased urban intensity. With multiple forms of public mass transit, this intensity also contributes to the growth of other mixed-use urban centers or edge cities and employment centers throughout the region.

Interested in comments from Raleigh, Cabarrus County, Charlotte and Denver

Link for exploration fun: Flamingo Park, Miami Beach, FL  Towers on a barrier beach – what could go wrong or be better? I’m looking to cite a study of falling RE and condo prices.