“Good design” = bad cities

I meant to post this James Lileks bleat a while ago. He engaged in some “wretched, slanted cherry-picking of selected quotes” from a newspaper interview with professor Thomas Fisher, the dean of University of Minnesota’s new School of Design. The interview discusses “the Design Economy,” and Lileks uses some of Fisher’s quotes as a springboard to discuss cities (starting with Minneapolis), suburbs, and the economies that are tied to them. Starting point:

[I]f all you have is a degree in Design, everything looks like a design problem.

It’s a long post, but I recommend giving it a read, if only because it helps me justify my own life in the suburbs:

Boring people live everywhere. Interesting people live everywhere. People have reasons for wanting to live in certain places, and if someone wants to live in the city, it’s his business. If he wants to live in the burbs, it’s his business. I could argue that people who confine themselves to the city are removing themselves from the experience of suburbia, which is actually more germaine to understanding America’s future than experiencing some of the lousy blocks I drive through daily.

So there’s some Friday afternoon reading for ya, in case it’s a slow day at the office.

High Times

I finally got to see the new NYTimes building up close this week, during my meanderings to and from the Javits Center. It’s a mighty impressive exterior. NYT design director Khol Vinh just got to move into the building, and has high praise for it:

It’s early yet, but I think I’m completely enraptured by this building. Maybe it’s just my first time being exposed so intimately to fine, contemporary architecture, but the whole structure feels energizing to me. And it makes a certain kind of sense, too; Piano eschewed organic curves and aesthetically suspect design flourishes in favor of a wonderfully, wonderfully rectilinear construction. It’s an ornate, beautiful grid, in essence; of all the buildings in Manhattan, I feel like this is the one that makes the most sense for me to spend my working days. Forgive me, but I feel like a lucky bastard today.