alexschief wrote: ↑
August 23rd, 2019, 8:05 am
martykoessel wrote: ↑
August 22nd, 2019, 12:39 pm
In general, I sometimes think we're in danger of repeating some of the worst urban planning mistakes of the past, namely tearing down buildings because they look out of date or represent an architectural era we don't respect at the moment.
The big mistake of urban renewal wasn't that it tore down old buildings, it was that it tore down an urban fabric and replaced it with nothing
. If midcentury planners and architects had torn down the old buildings and replaced them with newer buildings that had ground floor retail and a mix of uses, there would be far fewer complaints.
It's a mistake to view the problem as one of style. Architectural fads come and go. But the principles of good urban design are far more permanent.
This is extremely on point. I don't think I've seen the problem of the Gateway area / urban renewal stated so succinctly.
Here's my much less concise expansion of your statement:
The problem with Gateway area / Washington Square isn't the architecture - above the ground floor, the buildings are good/great. It's the huge setbacks, total lack of ground floor storefronts & sidewalk presence, and lack of integration with anything around it. The area needs another half dozen Penny's-like additions before it could resemble something one could call "urban fabric". This area still has a long, long way to go...probably 10-20 years or more. And that really sucks considering everything awesome happening around this area (rapid infill of North Loop, Mill District and CBD). Someone needs to do a "Calhoun Towers"-style infill development of the area between The Churchill, River Towers and Washington Square. We can't line Hennepin with buildings because of Gateway Park, but I guess there's still hope for infilling the frontages on Washington Ave & 2nd Street around here. The vacated / car-free portion of 2nd Street between Hennepin and Marquette could an awesome mix of public/quasi-public park and coffee/dining/retail/etc.