Kunstler's language should be used by the planners.,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Geography of Nowhere: Rise and Decline of America's Man-made Landscape (Paperback)
James Kunstler has the advantage of the skillful writer of novels, which enables the more brilliant and satirical passages found in his description of our automobile wasteland. There are no serious attempts to construct answers. The rhetorical approach - "I know what a viable community looks like when I see it"- mimics the day to day planning literature produced by many less talented communicators. Kuntsler's book is no less necessary, of course, but one wishes for the same dramatic effect when the planning or "zoning" process begins in the city or town hall. When will the professionals learn to sell their worthy product without indulging in the language of dictatorship and the mechanics of taking?
Kunstler does make one important point. The best of the small town or city neighborhoods are and were not planned. He demonstrates that we could expect viable communities if the automobile were eliminated from the scene. Attempts to regulate the automobile should in the long run survive serious legal challenge, perhaps more successfully than the notion that we can corporately deprive people of their land.
Kunstler is not an urban planner, of course, but those who are might learn to sell their ideas by avoiding legalism and coercion and talking the language of the poet or novelist. Attractive neighborhood streets with real people on them may be the result.