Charles R. Twardy

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Strong Towns & Ideological Purity

Good essay by Peter Norton Why we need Strong Towns critiquing a Current Affairs piece by Allison Dean.

I side with Norton here: Dean falls into the trap of demanding ideological purity. If you have to read only one, pick Norton. But after donning your Norton spectacles, read Dean for a solid discussion of points of overlap, reinterpreting critiques as debate about the best way to reach shared goals.

This other response to Dean attempts to add some middle ground to Dean’s Savannah and Flint examples, hinting what a reframed critique might look like. Unfortunately it’s long and meanders, and grinds its own axen.

I suspect Dean is allergic to economic justifications like “wealth” and “prosperity”. But we want our communities to thrive, and valuing prosperity is no more yearning for Dickensian hellscapes than loving community is pining for totalitarian ones.

The wonderful, walkable, wish-I-lived-there communities on Not Just Bikes are thriving, apparently in large part by sensible people-oriented design. More of that please.

(And watch Not Just Bikes for a more approachable take on Strong Towns, and examples of success.)