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New Urbanist Silverback Andres Duany and the Young Locusts

7:06 AM PDT on May 21, 2010

3148846111_5714b08775.jpgIz in ur city uzing ur urbanizm. (Photo: St0rmz via Flickr)

If you’ve been roaming the urbanist blogosphere this week, you may
have happened upon the comments made by one of the progenitors of New
Urbanism, Andres Duany, in an interview with the Atlantic. Duany, apparently, has a problem with young people coming into a city and using it in a way that he disapproves of:

There’s this generation who grew up in the suburbs, for whom thesuburbs have no magic. The mall has no magic. They’re the ones thathave discovered the city. Problem is, they’re also destroying the city.The teenagers and young people in Miami come in from the suburbs to thefew town centers we have, and they come in like locusts. They maketraffic congestion all night; they come in and take up the parking.They ruin the retail and they ruin the restaurants, because they havedifferent habits than older folks. I have seen it. They’re basicallyeating up the first-rate urbanism. They have this techno music, and thefood cheapens, and they run in packs, great social packs, and they takeover a place and ruin it and go somewhere else. 

It’s a perplexing statement at best, and it would be interesting to
hear Duany questioned more closely on this point. It certainly plays
into the argument that his carefully planned brand of urbanism bears
but faint resemblance to the organic creation of a real, chaotic city
such as Rome or New York.

Yesterday on Greater Greater Washington, contributor Dan Reed, a native of the D.C. area, posted a response to Duany’s comments:

Dear Mr. Duany,

At 22 years old, I qualify as a Millennial. I enjoy loud music andcheap, greasy food, among other things. I also love cities, includingWashington, D.C., the one I was born in. I can’t afford to live there,so I live at home with my parents. Yet, according to what you recently told the Atlantic, I’m ruining the place.…

But you know what really kills a city? Keeping people out. Making itprohibitively expensive by demanding it look or feel a certain way. Acity cannot be planned all at once or dropped from the sky. A city isthe accumulation of years and years of small changes made by many, manypeople of all kinds, creating a unique, irreplaceable product.

Searching for more intelligent commentary on Duany and his Atlantic interview? Head over to Strassgefühl and mammoth.

More from around the network: Another young lover of cities, Rob Pitingolo at Extraordinary Observations, writes that urbanism and environmentalism are not the same thing. Car Free Days posts on Bike to School month. And Reimagine an Urban Paradise celebrates nine car-free years, in Chicago, D.C. and Pittsburgh.

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