Friday, 14 September 2012

Some more cool quotes about cities

A couple of months ago now, I shared some of my favourite quotes about cities. My post featured quotes by William H. Whyte, Richard Florida, Jane Jacobs and Jan Gehl. Since then, I've come across some more cool quotes about cities. I thought I'd share three more of my favourites:

Bill Bryson on getting our priorities for cities right:

“I have nothing  against novelty in buildings – I am quite taken with the glass pyramid at the Louvre and those buildings at La Defense that have the huge holes in the middle – but I just hate the way architects and city planners and everyone else responsible for urban life seems to have lost sight of what cities are for.

They are for people.

That seems obvious enough, but for half a century we have been building cities that are for almost anything else: for cars, for businesses, for developers, for people with money and bold visions who refuse to see cities from ground level, as places in which people must live and function and get around. Why should I have to walk through a damp tunnel and negotiate two sets of stairs to get across a busy street? Why should cars be given priority over me? How can we be so rich and so stupid at the same time?”

I really like this quote from one of my favourite writers, which is taken from his book 'Neither Here Nor There'. Bryson makes a very insightful point and it’s a salient one for the future of Freo.

I also believe that it's a particularly timely reminder for Fremantle's Councillors, who seem to be happy to saddle us with the heritage-friendly, people-unfriendly dustbowl at Bathers Beach. 

Sarah Goodyear on the benefits of multigenerational cities:

“So to me, at least, it makes all the sense in the world to raise a kid in the city. In the end, of course, it’s a profoundly personal choice, and it’s obviously not the right decision for every family. One thing is clear, though: The city benefits as much from having children as children do from having the city.

A city that is filled with children is a happier, more lively place than one that isn’t. More than that, it’s a place that is clearly headed toward the future, not stagnating in the past. A city that can keep its children engaged and stimulated is building a resource that will pay off big-time in years to come.”

I enjoy Sarah Goodyear's articles on Atlantic Cities and I'm definitely buying what she is selling in her 'Multigenerational Communities or Bust' article. A city that provides a range of people young or old, singles or families with options, be it for getting around, housing or just for kicking back and enjoying can only be a good one.

Hubert H. Humphrey on planning for active, vibrant cities:

“We are in danger of making our cities places where business goes on but where life, in its real sense, is lost.”

Thanks to Mum and Dad's inclination to give me an additional reason to stand out in the Karratha playground besides being tall, foreign and very skinny, I grew up a bit of a baseball nut. 1991 was a good year, as one of our family friends in Perth had taped the World Series between the Minnesota Twins and the Atlanta Braves. They mailed the video up to us in Karratha for our viewing pleasure. It was a classic World Series. The Twins (who I went for because the Braves had knocked out one of my teams the Pittsburgh Pirates) eventually won in seven drama filled games.

As a 12 year old, I was fascinated by the nomenclature of the Minnesota Twins home stadium - the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. Being from a small country town in north-west Australia, I was already impressed with the fact that they played baseball in an indoor stadium, but the fact that they had given their stadium such a strong sounding name lifted my appreciation to new levels. Suffice it to say that the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome inspired many a strong named stadium for my Sim City games.

Humphrey's quote is more than likely from the 1950s and 1960s (he was an American politician during this time, being elected Vice President in 1964). Its context was during the period of American suburban expansion. I like Humphrey's quote because it is still relevant in 2012, especially for Freo.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent quotes. I particularly like Bryson's observation -

    "(They)have lost sight of what cities are for. They are for people."

    Why is it so difficult to see the obvious?