The Original Green is measured not by standard of living, but by quality of life. How good, not how big. This has many implications about scale. It's not so important how late we die, but how fully we live. A hundred-year life repeating everyday things is not nearly so important as a 33-year life doing the most important things, for example.
To make stuff happen soon, activate the Single-Crew Workplace.
When someone you love so much is on the very edge of time, you are better equipped to understand quality of life over standard of living. We will all arrive at this place someday.
Large monolithic projects weaken #WalkAppeal simply because they’re less interesting than a good #MainStreet, which changes every few steps. The only mitigating device is an interesting sidewalk-level frontage.
Almost all #urbanism problems are problems of scale: too big, too fast (and too heavy), too loud, too tall, too long, etc. Places built to the measure of mankind are inherently more #livable and #lovable than those built to the measure of machines.
Utility trucks are essential in all places that will no longer tolerate beast-borne or human-borne burdens. Places that have the courage to eliminate all but utility vehicles get a doubling of density on the same land, with no loss of usefulness. Same green space, etc.
Vernacular #PlaceMaking strengthens the good paths and heals the broken places in many small acts over a long time, and requires humility. Classical placemaking changes paths and places and can be done with humility by humane masters or tyrannically by the ego-obsessed.
Great urbanism requires no #SeaOfParking. Instead, great urbanism spreads services in small establishments in each neighborhood, rather than a few mega-establishments everyone must drive to.
I’ve said for years: grade a site like you only have a wheelbarrow; you’ll preserve much more of its character, interest, and trees that way.
The most important part of #GreatUrbanism is also its smallest part: the frontages, which are the spaces between the building face and the edge of the street. Interesting frontages are the backbone of strong #WalkAppeal.
Industry says “build as much as possible, sell it fast, and design it to wear out quickly so they’ll have to buy more.” Craft says “build as well as possible, and make it to last so future generations can appreciate my craftsmanship.
There is no greater indicator of failure to achieve #urbanism than the large surface parking lot. Find several of those and you’ve found sprawl. SimpleIndicatorComplexCondition
Pop-up shops happen easily in good #urbanism with high #WalkAppeal because there are nooks and crannies where they can be right in the action but not in the way. But #sprawl engineered #stroads are designed solely for cars with nothing left over. SimpleIndicatorComplexCondition
Towns that want a stronger middle class should smooth the path to establishing and sustaining small businesses. The smaller the barriers to entry, the more robust the local business community will be.
A city helping small business succeed is not so much an act of investment as it is an act of getting out of the way and regulating less. #Regulation should follow risk; the larger the business, the more tightly they should be regulated because the more people they impact.
Struggling towns serious about recovery encourage #SingleCrewWorkplaces, where one or two people can start a business. They're tiny, like a #FoodCart and cost far less than bricks and mortar stores. #SimpleIndicatorComplexCondition
Bigger isn't better; bigger is clearly worse, while smaller is better. For any given budget, the bigger the thing you're buying with that budget (like a house) the more cheaply it must be built. Build small enough & you can have the best of everything. https://t.co/UcW6xmISlR https://t.co/sBklQlV4Wn
The #SingleCrewWorkplace is a true silver bullet of #urbanism and the birthplace of the #MiddleClass. Want a stronger middle class? Make it easier for a single person to start a business they can run on their own. https://t.co/AjH3MIcpp3 https://t.co/Orv5cLVdBY
1-Story Urbanism is the natural starting point of places; the inaugural condition. Forcing more intense at the beginning is an unfair burden to place on development. Inaugural 1-Story Urbanism should be temporary and mobile things like food carts and retail shacks. But be careful, because they can be so charming like Perspicasity at Seaside, Florida that people don't want you to take them out when the time comes to replace them with bigger stuff.
A high irony of #industry is that while on the one hand, #scale is the highest ideal of industry. On the other hand, scale makes industry noxious faster than any other use. Craft workshops have been great neighbors in urbanism forever. But not mega-factories!
I’d suggest that office work as we know it today is largely (not entirely, of course) a product of the scaling-up of modern life due to the #IndustrialRevolution. Was #MiddleManager even a thing in the #MiddleAges?
Before and after our time, I believe that #consumption will be considered a vice, not a virtue. Read any ancient wisdom. Where can we find consumption as a virtue? Or even intelligent? Our worship of consumption is a temporal insanity.
A living creature does not grow one adult organ or limb at a time, but starts as an infant and grows one cell division at a time. A #LivingCity does not grow one fully-complete development at a time but starts as a hamlet and grows in small property divisions. #SignsOfLife
I’ve observed by looking at a lot of the #NewUrbanism over the past decades that almost without exception the worst quality, both construction quality and quality of urbanism, is that which was built with the greatest velocity.
In how many realms does fast vs. slow tend to be Industrial & dangerous vs. humane & healthy?
If happiness is the measure, then there are two paths to wealth: having more, or needing less. If dollars are the measure, then there is only one path: have more. Someone will always have more than I do, and can prove it. Whereas who is to say who is happier? I can be fully happy. I can never be fully rich because that would mean having the whole world.
Pretty much every problem of urbanism today is a problem of scale. Too fast. Too far. To wide. Too loud. Too heavy. Too long. The list goes on and on.
While a few of us might be trying to build utopia, most of us are just trying to start out by making things less bad. Small first steps like being able to walk to the grocery store, and make a living where you’re living.
Contact Sundog Books at Seaside, which is our favorite bookstore ever!
I speak on the Original Green across the US and abroad. Would you like for me to speak (via Zoom these days) at your next event?
If you have an idea for a story, or know about work we need to feature...
@2021 Mouzon Design, Inc.