Sunday, March 2, 2008

Beauty Outlawed in Suburbs

I just read a couple articles (here and here) in the Pioneer Press about that Spirit of Brandtjen Farm housing development in Lakeville. The author wrote 24 articles over 4 years documenting the project from inception to first owner move-in. Here's a snippet from the summary article he wrote at the conclusion of the series:

The suburbs are the same because the ordinances are the same, promoting efficiency, safety, crime control. There is no ordinance for beauty.

When officials ponder plans for developments, no one advocates for how people will feel in a new neighborhood. Every other consideration takes precedence.

Maybe Brandtjen Farms will show other communities that things can be done differently, taking more into account when building a neighborhood than simplicity and quick profit for the developers. There are a wealth of architects out there who would love nothing more than to help us live more enjoyably, but we need to ask for their help and value their skills. However, architecture is just like music and the other arts: a majority of people seem to be more than content with the ordinary. As a result, developers and cities have no incentive to create more livable, sustainable, comfortable communities.

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