. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Nap Time!!!

Monday, July 31, 2006

Consequently I was intrigued by the landmark debate highlighted in The Daily Californian-a subject affecting all major cities around the world. Indeed, this is a classic story. On the one hand, the land developers and builders (who are backed by financial resources) oppose any legislation hampering demolition (whether landmark or heritage building), while on the other hand, the citizens (who love their city) and the preservationists would like to see the landmarks and heritage buildings preserved. I hope the developers will realize that a city without landmarked and heritage buildings would be an anonymous city (where prices of real estate would be lower), as has been predicted by city planner Jane Jacobs (who has taught at UC Berkeley) in her book "The Death and Life of Great American Cities".
Not much spin going on here. Citizens who love their city? Not neighbors who just don't want their own neighbors to do stuff? Right.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/31/2006 01:52:00 AM #
Comments (8)
. . .
Historical preservation can be taken overboard, but in my opinion cities are an awful lot cooler when there are historical buildings and sites in them. What would Boston be without Paul Revere's house etc. and Philadelphia without Independence Hall? Preserving history is important and cool.
That's really bad.
People in this city are delusional.

Keep important old buildings? Yes. Try not to build giant buildings that blot out the sun? Sure.

But the people around here are just against all change. I mean part of it is financial. They're afraid that if they let people develop, prices will go up in an already rough housing market, but I think the market is artificially inflated by the lack of development.

Everything's horribly expensive AND old. There's nothing particularly wonderful about a town full of old, poorly built, environmentally unsound houses and buildings.

It's this "Spirit of the 60s" nonsense where everyone in town hates the campus because it's not full of communists like it used to be. They think the town used to be some sort of paradise and developers are ruining it, but I think it's probably the reverse. They're screwy anti-development policies are turning the place into a ghost town with homeless every block. Then the Daily Cal and local papers write stories BLAMING STUDENTS for not showing up to these decrepit small businesses that charge way too much. Ugg.
Note: wasn't responding to first comment. Not saying first comment is really bad. Talking about the daily cal article.
Somehow, I think Boston could survive without Paul Revere's house. I used to work in Boston. I don't think the presence/absence of some dead guy's house really would've changed things for me.
Even if you don't love that dead guy's house, in that case it's hundreds of years old and has some obvious significance as a tourist trap and things like that.

Berkeley doesn't distinguish between old and important. Anything that is old is declared important. Rat infested shit housing? If it's from 1940 it's a landmark!
Simon is right on. Things that are important need to be preserved because a lot of people love history and they are of national and cultural importance (I would count things like Paul Revere's house among these). Although that might also be just because I really like history.

Nevertheless, not updating old shabby buildings isn't important, it's stupid. This leads to urban decay which leads to suburbanization and major American cities turning into Detroit and Pittsburgh-style hellholes with 15% unemployment and perennially-decreasing populations.

Berkeley must strike a balance between progress AND preservation, tilting too far in favor of either has consequences.
Who owns Paul Revere's house, by the way? At least most governments have the decency to buy museums, rather than declaring the owner responsible for maintaining one.
You should see some of the architectural abominations the LPC has tried to landmark. (Or, in one notable case, an empty yard. Seriously.)

Basically, back in the day, the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association was devoted to preserving the city's most distinctive architectural gems. They did that. Then the wackos took over BAHA and the LPC, and demanded that nothing ever be torn down again, ever. Or built on, if it happens to be a lawn.

(The East Bay Express (I think) did a story a few years back, about how they were trying to landmark an old, crumbling wall, which suddenly urgently needed to be preserved, because the owner wanted to tear down a small section and put in a garage.)
Post a Comment

. . .