It was utopianism and good intentions run amok.
|Demolition of Pruitt-Igoe, St. Louis|
|Infamous mid-Century Urban Renwal and Public Housing: |
Pruitt-Igoe before Demolition, St. Louis
They are on a much smaller scale and of totally different materials than Pruitt-Igoe. In many ways they shouldn't be compared.
Additionally, good policy for public housing is far, far beyond our scope here, and if people had mastered it, we'd obviously have a much different state of affairs.
So I just want to comment on a couple of things.
|Proposed site plan showing edges on Parkway|
As was pointed out recently, cheap land is often cheap because it's inaccessible. Parkway Village is right on the Parkway. Walkscore rates it: "somewhat walkable." Its transit score is much worse. Fortunately there's a Fred Meyer in walking distance, but at a site far from transit centers, bordering an urban highway, and one of Salem's largest industrial areas, it practically enforces car ownership on the residents. That's a huge chunk of income for insurance, gas, and maintenance! So if one of the policy goals of public housing is to help people recover earning power, we don't do people any favors by car-dependent development, and the proximity to the Parkway's particulates surely isn't supporting positive health outcomes, either.
Worse, in the "Project Information Form" required by the City, "parking" gets more detailed answers than "crime prevention"! It may be that we give more attention to storing cars than to keeping people safe, and the answers say something about how much of our care and attention we give to projects like this.
And a section on "common open space" just gets non-answers - a single boilerplate answer for nearly every section. There's no thought in this.
But at least as far as transportation and walking go, while the project may not rate an outright "F," it's hard to imagine that it's much better than a "D."
The Planning Commission meets Tuesday the 28th and there is no agenda posted yet.