Jarrett Walker's been in Salem recently. Cherriots engaged him to do a system analysis, and over at LoveSalem there's a photo and report on an initial discussion with the Cherriots board - plus great quips on the Kroc Center.
N3B also cited one of J. Walker's posts about counting traffic. (It's great to see criticism of LOS analysis gain traction!)
But for the moment, I'm most interested in J. Walker's response to the Atlantic's "Ten Urbanist Buzzwords to Rethink."
The number one word to trash is "urbanism" and J. Walker offers a "vigorous defense"! He offers a defense of the word as meaning something not easily expressed otherwise - and of course defends the values it expresses.
As J. Walker points out, the operative poles aren't so much rural and urban as suburban and urban - the opposition between the streetcar-era gridded, walkable neighborhoods and the post-war suburbs with heirarchical and disconnected street networks that require a car. The word "urban area" collapses this distinction.
Does a dull bureaucratic term like urban area really constitute [a] threat to the thriving walkable inner cities? Yes, for this reason: It prevents people who care about dense, gridded, walkable, usually pre-war parts of big cities from saying what they mean. It prevents me, in many reports, from saying urban and forces me to find ways to say "dense, gridded, walkable, usually pre-war parts of big cities" over and over....That's why I like urbanist. It's not just saying what it means, it's helping to fight for the word urban, without which people who care about walkable cities simply can't talk about them, and be understood.With the word sortof under attack, urbanism perhaps needs a spiritual protector, and I think I know just the one!
Floor mosaic from late Roman bath near Antioch
What do you think? Maybe too pagan, too rich? What about saints? A casual google didn't turn up any saints known for a frank enjoyment of the city. Maybe that's kinda antithetical to the whole office of the saint - especially considering the vogue for St. Francis and simplicity just now. Rabbis?
I still like Apolausis, because even if luxury isn't necessarily the goal, interest and pleasure is, both in the process, the walk, and in the destination, the end. It's also a social rather than solitary value. I mean, isn't that being able to walk or bike from your home to meet friends for drinks or dinner?
Remember Jeff Speck on the "interesting walk"?