Comments

  1. Good point! Great new ideas on the paper does not translate into utilitarian values. However, if our base value is economic profit, then sell or not sell is the real game; a new idea or not, irrelevant. On the flip side of the coin, if our base value is to celebrate the intellectual activities and encourage the diversity of the different thought stream in the profession, then even the “useless” new ideas have value just for the sake of ideas. Many “ideal type” models that sociologists and urban designers have envisioned never were brought to life. In my opinion, they still have values. If we have 1000 ideas, and only 10 were sold, it is still worth having those other 990 ideas. I completely see your point, and respect hardwork and bringing financial profit as the main goal of the society. I just humbly, at the same time, take a different base value and appreciate intellectual products which does not translate into dollars. To me that is part of the humanity.

  2. Love this piece, Scott! It highlights what I call the “Artist’s Dilemma” that afflicts most architects and many planners. Our backgrounds are often more art than science, and we have burdened ourselves with the notion that our art should speak for itself. And so we often feel that we’re doing something sleazy if we talk about selling. That’s unfortunate, because it is self-evident that ideas that spread have the opportunity to do good more broadly than those that do not.

  3. Melanie Taylor says:

    Well said, we seem to agree on the notion that persuasion aids our cause. If Apple were to make an ad to promote urbanism/the new urbanism, what would it look like? I’ll wager that they’d show vivid visceral images of people enjoying the richness of urban life.
    I may offer a suggestion on how to enroll others in the absence of a huge advertising budget, may I suggest that heart-felt sharing in plain-speak by those who experience the joys of urban life or life in TNDs is more likely to inspire people to live in cities or TNDs than any academic lecture. Interviewing a few people on what they love about living in San Fran or Oakland or Brooklyn and interspersing their quotes or videos in our presentations, sharing what you and your neighbors love about your urban life via social media, etc, even just starting a neighborhood association to improve your neighborhood and using every opportunity to tell the media that cover you how great life in your neighborhood is will make more of a difference than anything else.
    BTW, in the mid 90′s, I intentionally took some of the actions mentioned above, involved a group of neighbors and watched my New Haven ‘hood improve beyond my expectations. As a specific measurable result, real estate values in my neighborhood soared, outperforming the rest of the town even through the downturn. Corrupt pols may be occupying my New Haven neighborhood and my days of aggressively promoting urbanism/new urbanism may be over but I will never cease to quietly appreciate the rich life of living in an urban neighborhood or a tnd.

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