U.S. Suburbia : Not Good Enough for Americans


Its another addition of Video Sundays here at architecture.MNP – this week we’re bringing you another TED video [these things are great, and there’s a TON of them], this time featuring that crazy ass ninja James Howard Kunstler.

Kunstler, a big supporter of New Urbanism, brings into question suburbia in the U.S., calling on architects, planners, and everyday citizens to cut the crap and demand higher quality in our physical environment. He even calls out Boston City Hall as the worst civic space in the country – tying in to our recent coverage on Boston’s brutalist government headquarters.  Watch the video – this guy is the truth.

The tragic landscape of highway strips, parking lots, housing tracts, mega-malls, junked cities, and ravaged countryside that makes up the everyday environment where most Americans live and work [is] … a land full of places that are not worth caring about [and] will soon be a nation and a way of life that is not worth defending. ~ James Howard Kunstler [quote via Wikipedia]

Lets wake up + stop ‘sleepwalking into the future‘.

Posted: September 23rd, 2007
at 4:10pm by orangemenace

Categories: architecture,green arch,urban/master planning,featured ninjas,videos

Comments: 3 comments


3 Responses to 'U.S. Suburbia : Not Good Enough for Americans'

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  1. While I might agree with your sentiment that we need to cut the crap, I’d like to argue that New Urbanism is precisely the upper-middle-class white-bread consumerist crap we need to cut. If I see another po-mo restoration hardware next to a starbucks cafe passed off as “main-street USA” I’m gonna shoot myself. Improving the quality of our physical environment is absolutely the right thing to do. …I’m not sure I’d give this blow-hard an am-ex card to do it with. …go ahead, watch the video – but this guy is NOT the truth.


    24 Sep 07 at 4:08 pm


  2. Well, your absolutely right about new urbanism – and I’ve expressed my dislike for the movement before on the site. Not only are you on point with it being ‘upper-middle-class white-bread consumerist crap’ – but that shit is just plain weird [read ‘creepy’]. Reminds me of planned communities and whatnot – shit is just unnatural.

    I think the issue is that people want to design an urban fabric to match something they found in Europe that took generations – and they want to do it in 5 years. AND that everyone, in the long run, is either owned from the get go, or bought out.

    All that being said, I stand by this guy’s talk, as I think its ill [I kind of like that he’s a blow-hard] – but he’s definitely got his own agenda, and ‘new urbanism’ is definitely fucked up.


    24 Sep 07 at 4:43 pm


  3. […] Este es un proyecto medio viejo de LTL Architects que se llama New Suburbanism : Prototypical American Suburb (Nuevo Suburbanismo: Prototipo del suburbio americano) y es parte de las “especulaciones” que ha realizado el estudio. Éste fue parte de la Trienal Nacional de Diseño en el año 2000 en el Cooper Hewitt Museum y actualizado en el 2004 para la Biennal de Arquitectura de Venecia. Básicamente es la mísma idea del suburbio y la manera de planearlo, organizarlo y vivirlo pero vista desde otro ángulo, como una respuesta directa al fracaso del típico suburbio americano y sus secuelas (como por ejemplo, el Nuevo Urbanismo). […]



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