Why urban design matters

Well, actually, there are a lot of reasons, but this is an interesting take on it. Nate Silver (oh He of FiveThirtyEight fame) goes to town on how the built environment shapes cultural and community norms. One of his points? City design equals community, and community equals political perspective. Therefore, how you build your community defines your local politics. Interesting, eh? Kind of puts your neighborhood planning process into a new light…

Watch, enjoy, critique.

Thanks to Seattle Transit Blog for the vid.


1 Response to “Why urban design matters”

  1. April 30, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    YES! yay. more this. shout it from the rooftops.

    For some reason, 2008 was the first election that I really noticed the county-level results. When you look at a map of the returns by county:

    http://philhardwickblog.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/2008_election_map-counties.jpg was totally

    It’s pretty striking how the blue counties draw a picture of historic (and current) trade routes. It is natural trade routes that have been the primary drivers of density and “creative traffic” – more visitors, more migration to/from/between, more immigration, cultural exchange, yeeee. So then that makes me think:

    Seems like it would be rad to build on this by studying the impacts of big agribusiness on the built environment in the heartland, its impact on the bleeding of wealth / break-down of family and social institutions in the heartland over time, and whether that also correlates with the rise of (social?) conservatism at all……… It definitely seems like poor white folk are more likely to hop on the McCain/Palin white-privilege-mobile.

    Not to be all “everything is everything” but ya I’m feeling more and more that economic development IS urban design. As far as I’m seeing, City of Seattle land use decisions seem pretty driven by people who can claim economic development (South Lake Union, ID upzone, etc).

    [Nitpick – Silver’s unfortunate assumption about his audience “when we think of Arkansas we think of hicks” etc]

    We need rad new economic development plans in order to influence urban planning…

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