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Rapunzel as Urban Allegory

Lee Hachadoorian on Dec 31st 2010

Sometimes coincidence can generate unexpected connections. I happen to be reading Jane Jacob’s incomparable The Death and Life of Great American Cities. In it, Jacobs skewers several planning archetypes that she saw as dominating (in 1961) orthodox urban planning. One of these archetypes was Le Corbusier’s Radiant City, or “towers in the park”. In this design, 95% of the ground is left as open space, while all housing and commerce is contained in isolated skyscrapers. This ideal ended up being influential in the design of American public housing, mostly lower-income but some middle-income projects as well. Jacobs goes on to criticize this type of design as creating open spaces that nobody actually uses because of the lack of street level commerce.

Then, last week, I took my daughter to see the Disney movie Tangled, a modern retelling of the Rapunzel story. Continue Reading »

Filed in Planning,Urban | One response so far

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