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New Urbanist Silverback Andres Duany and the Young Locusts

9:05 AM PDT on May 21, 2010

3148846111_5714b08775.jpgIz in ur city uzing ur urbanizm. (Photo: St0rmz via

If you've been roaming the urbanist blogosphere
this week, you may have happened upon the comments made by one of the
progenitors of New Urbanism, Andres Duany, in an interview with the Atlantic.
Duany, apparently, has a problem with young people coming into a city
and using it in a way that he disapproves of:

There's this generation who grew up in the suburbs, for whom thesuburbs have no magic. The mall has no magic. They're the ones that have discovered the city. Problem is, they're also destroying the city. Theteenagers and young people in Miami come in from the suburbs to the fewtown centers we have, and they come in like locusts. They make trafficcongestion all night; they come in and take up the parking. They ruinthe retail and they ruin the restaurants, because they have differenthabits than older folks. I have seen it. They're basically eating up the first-rate urbanism. They have this techno music, and the foodcheapens, and they run in packs, great social packs, and they take over a place and ruin it and go somewhere else. 

It's a perplexing statement at best, and it would be interesting to
hear Duany questioned more closely on this point. It certainly plays
into the argument that his carefully planned brand of urbanism bears but
faint resemblance to the organic creation of a real, chaotic city such
as Rome or New York.

Yesterday on Greater
Greater Washington
, contributor Dan Reed, a native of the D.C. area,
posted a response to Duany's comments:

Dear Mr. Duany,

At 22 years old, I qualify as a Millennial. I enjoy loud musicand cheap, greasy food, among other things. I also love cities,including Washington, D.C., the one I was born in. I can't afford tolive there, so I live at home with my parents. Yet, according to whatyou recently told the Atlantic, I'm ruining the place...

But you know what really kills a city? Keeping people out. Making it prohibitively expensive by demanding it look or feel a certain way. A city cannot be planned all at once or dropped from the sky. A city isthe accumulation of years and years of small changes made by many, manypeople of all kinds, creating a unique, irreplaceable product.

Searching for more intelligent commentary on Duany and his Atlantic
interview? Head over to Strassgefühl
and mammoth.

More from around the network: Another young lover of cities, Rob
Pitingolo at Extraordinary
, writes that urbanism and environmentalism are not the
same thing. Car
Free Days
posts on Bike to School month. And Reimagine
an Urban Paradise
celebrates nine car-free years, in Chicago, D.C.
and Pittsburgh.

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