Creating Places: A Citizen Observer's Look at Nashville's Built Environment

Writer's Note: William Williams' interest in the manmade environment dates to 1970, at which point the then-young Williams started a collection of postcards of city skylines. The collection now numbers 1,000-plus cards. Among the writer's specific interests are exterior building design, city district planning, demographics, signage, mixed-use development, mass transit and green/sustainable construction and living. Williams began his Creating Places column with The City Paper in February 2005. The column in its original form was discontinued in September 2008 and reinvented via this blog in November 2008. Creating Places can be found on the home page of the website of The City Paper, at which Williams has worked in various capacities since October 2000.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Kunstler's Version of Nowheresville

If you have not done so, read "The Geography of Nowhere," a biting commentary regarding how Americans have allowed the car culture to brutalize both the nation's built and natural environments. James "Jim" Howard Kunstler — a writer who has no peer regarding the talent, for example, to cleverly compare a generic suburban elementary school with a sludge-processing factory — penned this mini-masterpiece, which is must-reading for those who lament the loss of the art of U.S. place-making. Kunstler's thesis is simple: When anywhere is no different than everywhere, we may as well live, work and play in nowhere.

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