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Big Bang Ideas: Morning Round-Up of the Possibilities

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Writing big sweeping articles about how the economic downturn will affect urban cores, suburbs and urban planning is very, very popular these days. A sampling: A reader forwards David Brooks most recent New York Times column in which Brooks references a Pew Study that found that 1. Most of us want to live somewhere else. 2. Where we say we'd like to move to: "Denver, San Diego, Seattle, Orlando and Tampa."

Writes Brooks: "[Those five places] (except for Orlando) where spectacular natural scenery is visible from medium-density residential neighborhoods, where the boundary between suburb and city is hard to detect. These are places with loose social structures and relative social equality, without the Ivy League status system of the Northeast or the star structure of L.A. These places are car-dependent and spread out, but they also have strong cultural identities and pedestrian meeting places. They offer at least the promise of friendlier neighborhoods, slower lifestyles and service-sector employment." Whether or not people are happier once they do move to Orlando and Seattle isn't clear. (Who hasn't met a Seattlite who hasn't complained about that city's traffic or weather?) Meanwhile, The Atlantic has a sweeping piece about how the recession will reshape our country, and specifically, our cities. New York may lose its status as the financial capitol of the world (London was taking it over anyway), Los Angeles will fare ok given our diverse economy, and Detroit may as well as just roll itself up and call it a day. Closer to home, the LA Times' Christopher Hawthorne recently weighed in on the role of starchitects, and their potential role in shaping our urban cores. He writes: "What if we asked our most innovative architects to collaborate on plans to build bus stops, subway stations, neo-Victory Gardens and elementary schools?"
· I Dream of Denver [NY Times]
· What's the future of 'The Infrastructural City' of L.A. [LA Times]
· How the Crash Will Reshape America [The Atlantic]