City Builder Book Club: Chapter 10

Part 2: The conditions of city diversity

Chapter 10: The need for aged buildings 

Chapter 10, p 207 

Mingling old buildings, with consequent mingling in living costs and tastes, are essential to get diversity and stability in residential populations, as well as diversity in enterprises.

Among the most admirable and enjoyable sights to be found along the sidewalks of big cities are the ingenious adaptations of old quarters to new uses.  The town-house parlour that becomes a craftman’s showroom, the stable that becomes a house, the basement that becomes an immigrants club, the garage of brewery becomes a theatre, the beauty parlour that becomes the ground floor of a duplex, the warehouse that becomes a factory for Chinese food, the dancing school that becomes a pamphlet printer’s,the cobbler’s that becomes a church with lovingly painted windows…..


Chapter 10, p 211

Neighbourhoods built up all at once change little physically over the years as a rule…

Finally comes the decision, after exhortations to fix up and fight blight have failed, that the whole thing must be wiped out and a new cycle to started.  Perhaps some old buildings will be left if they can be ‘renewed’ into the economic equivalent of new buildings.  A new corpse is laid out.  It does no smell yet, but it is just as dead, just as incapable of the constant adjustments, adaptations and permutations that make up the processes of life…


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