Sunday, July 18, 2010

stuff I disagree with

Adam Greenfield is reading about the notion of "military urbanism". I think this is oversold, and also that like a lot of concepts relating to the social aspects of architecture, it's overbroad - people chuck in bits and pieces of anything that seems to fit. CCTV? Surveillance, whack it in. Temporary buildings? Logistics and containerisation, got to be in there. The Olympics (and much of modern thinking)? Well, that seems to land up in there as well. And, of course, a lot of border security stuff, Israeli settler town planning.

I'm not convinced that the concept holds together once you squeeze quite so much stuff into it; it starts to look like a list of Stuff I Disagree With, and a lot of it isn't particularly military. There is a big difference between blowing things and people up and putting a big blue plywood hoarding round the Olympics site. One of them pisses off Iain Sinclair and the other...insert joke here.

1 comment:

gawp said...

Well, the *justification* for this huge range of urban changes is, itself, overbroad. Terrorism! Boo!

The thing that bugs me is how stupidly first order the thinking is. Even if you accept the threat is of the claimed magnitude (I don't) it doesn't mean you agree with the proposed remedies.

Terrorism != I get to do what I want with your urban environment.

A good example is the US embassy in Ottawa.,_Ottawa

It's a huge, ugly, hardened building in the downtown core right next to a row of historic (1850ish, about as historic as you get in Ottawa) masonry buildings and the national gallery which is all glass. They've claimed a lane of traffic on either side to inverse-square shield themselves from blasts. 911! Terrorism! This is a major impediment to traffic in the area.

Of course any significant blast in that area would take down pretty much all the old buildings on one side and shatter much of the national gallery on the other. The embassy would be unscathed no doubt, it's built like a friggin' bomb shelter.

So, first order thinking:
-We need to give them special accomodations due to risk

Second order thinking:
-GTFO of here, if the risk is that bad you're a hue threat to everyone around you.

The embassy was built before 911 but the threat of bombings was present in 1999 and previous.

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