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Old October 18th, 2010, 03:07 AM   #101
Concrete Stereo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dleung View Post
Exactly. So far, none of the pics of Barcelona, Athens, etc were showing cookie-cutter. Although Penguino mentioned Vancouver apparently for the wrong reasons (that it's boring), it can be argued that parts of Vancouver ie: concord pacific, and parts of the eastern suburbs are indeed cookie-cutter. Of course, much less so than most North American cities. Yaletown highrises look similar, but only because of regulation, not because one developer stamped out dozens of towers all at once. A most "boring" city thread won't work because "boring" is subjective, whereas "cookie cutter" is objectively defined by the built form. That this is confusing to some people is really surprising.
Well... For me 'cookie-cutter' as a concept is very much related to the cliché (or reality) of the endless sprawl of say LA suburbs

But on a more personal level, I have to say I have an experience from both Athens and Barcelona Eixampla which is not so much about being cookie-cutter but about being 'generic' (or about being 'badly built speculation').

Athens is the most generic city I've ever visited. In this sense that it feels you could exit a random metro station and be surrounded by the same faceless white diarrhea without knowing where you are, and without a general feeling of quality. I'm putting it a bit hard, but the city's urbanism is very criticiseable from this point.

The same goes for Barcelona - which is at the same time pretty and ugly. Barcelona has a scale of faceless generic speculative architecture which deserves to be criticized. I don't want to suggest Barcelona is not worth a visit, or isn't worth its current status, but at the same time it has a huge scale of developments which aren't fitting to the general image of the city. The Eixampla - to be perfectly honest - is mostly in terrible condition. And it's getting worse - in this sense that in the old towns many quality buildings have been replaced by developments that are - quite frankly - just about making money. Badly constructed, badly detailed. As a tourist you don't notice - because you make sure you stay in the pretty area - but as an inhabitant, you are mostly in using the diarrhea. I think a city (any city, but especially Barcelona) or at least the architects should be very much concerned with defending the general quality of the city. You need high standards. As I said before, it should at least be possible to criticise this aspect - without getting into pointless discussions about respect and disrespect.
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Old October 18th, 2010, 03:27 AM   #102
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Most North Americans who visit Europe see only the pretty touristic areas and never come across the blandness, or the sprawl of suburbs, and often leave the country thinking sprawl or boring repetition doesn't exist in Europe (note I have said "most" not "all" so hopefully this will prevent people screaming at me! ). When you live in a city, you get to know it at a different level.
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Old October 18th, 2010, 04:06 AM   #103
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Concrete Stereo View Post
The same goes for Barcelona - which is at the same time pretty and ugly. Barcelona has a scale of faceless generic speculative architecture which deserves to be criticized. I don't want to suggest Barcelona is not worth a visit, or isn't worth its current status, but at the same time it has a huge scale of developments which aren't fitting to the general image of the city. The Eixampla - to be perfectly honest - is mostly in terrible condition. And it's getting worse - in this sense that in the old towns many quality buildings have been replaced by developments that are - quite frankly - just about making money. Badly constructed, badly detailed. As a tourist you don't notice - because you make sure you stay in the pretty area - but as an inhabitant, you are mostly in using the diarrhea. I think a city (any city, but especially Barcelona) or at least the architects should be very much concerned with defending the general quality of the city. You need high standards. As I said before, it should at least be possible to criticise this aspect - without getting into pointless discussions about respect and disrespect.

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Old October 18th, 2010, 09:03 AM   #104
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While there certainly is sprawl in Europe, it is not nearly as bad as it is in Canada and the USA. Just drive through Edmonton one day. Faceless, soulless, godawful houses all exact replicas of each other placed in gigantic rows.



This is a picture of our north side. DISGUSTING. Even my neighborhood is filled with multiple replicas of the same ugly houses with the exact same design. At least cities like Barcelona have some culture and elegance, North American sprawl is just one gigantic jungle of shit. Edmonton is bigger in area than Chicago and New York, and we have much less people.

It's even worse in a city like Atlanta or Phoenix, where it is just miles and miles of the same horrid two story houses with white picket fences. If I was a dictator of America, I would burn down all the suburbs and force people back into the city. The thing is, in Europe there isn't enough space to have all of these massive sprawling cities, so you have more compact ones with nice little towns everywhere, in Canada and the USA, we have TONS of room, so we can expand our cities as far as we want, until they're just a mush of massive little neighborhoods vomited all over the countryside.

At least Asia got it right, and all the people live IN the city.
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Old October 19th, 2010, 10:56 PM   #105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Concrete Stereo View Post

The same goes for Barcelona - which is at the same time pretty and ugly. Barcelona has a scale of faceless generic speculative architecture which deserves to be criticized. I don't want to suggest Barcelona is not worth a visit, or isn't worth its current status, but at the same time it has a huge scale of developments which aren't fitting to the general image of the city. The Eixampla - to be perfectly honest - is mostly in terrible condition.
It's the eixample! And there we are at the root of the problem. You don't know what the eixample entails since you can't spell it.

The eixample is in a better state than ever.... The most beautiful boulevards of Barcelona are here and it's one of the pricier neighborhoods. You probably mean the outskirts of which technically most are not even Barcelona proper...
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Old October 20th, 2010, 12:32 AM   #106
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My home city of Oklahoma City,Oklahoma USA might fit The mold of this thread perfectly!Sad to say!
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Old October 20th, 2010, 02:06 AM   #107
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Miami's wetern suburbs look like an abstract painting from air. They also finish abruptly into the Everglades (see the left of the pic).

Lol. And they're wondering why there are alligators living in their basements or blocking the highways.
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Old October 20th, 2010, 01:59 PM   #108
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I would rather suffer American suburban "sprawl" than live in this depressing arrangement commonly found in British cities.

These pictures were taken not far from where I live.

image hosted on flickr






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Old October 20th, 2010, 03:51 PM   #109
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^I disagree. With some basic renovation those houses could look almost charming. They look robust and real and the streets are smaller not to mention there´s no gridiron plan.
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Old October 20th, 2010, 04:12 PM   #110
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That is exactly the attitude that causes this mess...

you are looking at one of the poorest, most welfare dependent and crime ridden areas of the north east.

An interesting fact I have noticed seems to be the link between poverty and red brick terraced housing wherever I have traveled in the UK

There is NOTHING to be envious about in this town... As someone who has lived in both the USA and the UK... there is no comparison.

Cookie cutter American suburbia anytime

Here is a satellite photo of Ashington (the town pictured).



look it up
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Old October 20th, 2010, 06:23 PM   #111
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^ that second pic looks terrible but I see nothing wrong with the rest of it. I'd rather have are suburbs (the new ones) look like that instead of what they are right now. I don't see how that is depressing compared to new subdivisions like the ones in Florida, but then again I've always liked rowhomes...
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Old October 20th, 2010, 07:49 PM   #112
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What is planned on paper does not mean it will work in real life.... property values in this area remain very low and the streets are not a nice place to walk through.

Row upon row of terraced houses quickly become shabby due to the high concentration of people in a small area, combined with a lack of jobs.

It is also awkward to navigate due to fact every street looks the same.
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Old October 20th, 2010, 08:27 PM   #113
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^ Lol true
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Old October 20th, 2010, 10:38 PM   #114
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The problems you mention have less to do with the built form as it is the population that lives in it. If it's close to the inner city and transit, it'll gentrify eventually, perhaps marketed as a bohemian hipster neighbourhood...
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