[Image of Grand Ave rendering]
The NY Times's annual "Year in Ideas" was published in yesterday's magazine and somehow the editors seem to think that Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses are posthumously enjoying a metaphorical roll in the sack, as American cities embrace large-scale development projects. More likely, they're each rolling over in the graves, as the NY Times' celebrates projects like Gehry's Grand Ave development, the controversial Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn (targeted in a lawsuit by community groups) and Libeskind's extension to the Denver Art Museum (Kunstler's Eyesore of the Month in November). The Grey Lady can admit economic incentives has a little to do with these behemoth projects:
In part, this can be attributed to mechanics like “tax increment financing,” a newly popular device that allows municipal governments to issue bonds on the expected tax-revenue windfall upon a development’s completion. (TIF development projects are able to receive public support without threatening to dip into city coffers.)But the Times feels support for these projects is rooted in a new enthusiasm for massive scale as a means towards a "vibrant urbanism." If we remember correctly, most of the criticism for all of the projects mentioned focuses on the issue of scale. To take a page from our other favorite reading matter, Cheers to the NYT for recognizing a (fairly obvious) trend. Jeers for celebrating it while ignoring the opposition.