cause everybody hates a tourist
posted by owen hatherley at 12:16 am
Owen, I loved that article!Funny - suburbs in the U.S. have a crossed history too. One of the features is, of course, the expectation that the next war was coming soon, after 1945. Tom Vanderbilt's Survival City is about the ruins left by the atom bomb war that was never fought. He picks up on the fact that Civil Defense films about what to do in case of nuclear attack were never set in the city, "the housewife hearing about the bomb that had hit the city, wondering if her husband were among the survivors. The pattern itself was viewed by one planner as an architural fortification: the walls of the modern city are to be found in a satellite dispersal pattern.... Not surprisingly, the shopping center, which was to become the surrogatte pulic spce in the new suburban formations, was also touted for its possibilities as a fallout shelter." And so on. Vanderbilt agrees with Arata Isozaki that the cold war urbanist designed as a pilot. "His city designing resembles push-button warfare."Interestingly, Hitler apparently comforted himself with the thought that the allied bombing was a sort of first phase of urban renewal - get rid of the crap and the scum, and build something lasting, Aryan and monumental.
I made a few other remarks about your piece over at limitedinc as well.
@ roger: but it's very different in the UK. London was already a fully suburbanised city by 1930 or even 1900, but most American cities, while having suburbs since... ever, weren't really sprawling masses of suburbia until well into the 50's and 60's.
Seems a pity that some of the Guardian editors haven't read your article:http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/nov/24/in-praise-suburbiatut
Actually reading that it sounds like they did read me, as at least two points from it turn up - one agreed with, one dissented from - so it comes across as a disclaimer to any offended readers. Weirdly flattering!
A nice piece.I've just recently moved to Walthamstow, zone 3, not far from Blackhorse Road tube. People often say things to me like, 'So you finally hit the burbs' or 'How can you bear to live in the burbs', or 'Looking for the quiet life are we then Lara?' Always, the tone is patronising; and always, I sense that the other is terrified of leaving the more central parts they live simply for fear of being associated with suburbia - no matter that they know nothing of these areas at all. (I'm not convinced anyway that 'the Stow' - as some dare to call it - is suburbia. It depends on which end you live: most people, intriguingly, ass ume that I live in ' The Village ' when I don't.) But the village itself is dead creepy: suddenly the streets seem to home nearly entirely only white middle class people wearing Campers and holding the Guardian. Anyway, the long and short of it is Mr Hatherley: please would you come to Walthamstow and give us a guided tour of our neighbourhood, including all sorts of information yuo can muster to help us understand this grimey neighbourhood famous for not having dogs any longer and boasting the boyband after its postcode. Thre is a Hatherley Street, so you'd be at home. Come on down.
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