Tuesday, May 13

Kunstler on my radio

For the last few weeks, I've really been enjoying James Howard Kunstler's new podcast, Kunstlercast. He's every bit as acerbic and knowledgeable on the microphone as he is at the keyboard, addressing such subjects as green building, gentrification, starchitects, zoning, landscape art, and just about anything to do with the "tragic comedy of suburban sprawl." I happen to think that most of his opinions are right, but more than anything he feeds into that contrarian impulse inside - even when he's blasting the very profession that I'm entering into.

Here's Kunstler on planners:

"Well these poor bozos, they come out of planning school because they made some bad choice or they were deceived into thinking that they were in a design discipline, and then they spend the next 40 years working for a city piling up a pension plan. They hate their work; they hate themselves for doing it. They realize that the whole thing is a mummery.

Finally they gaze at that golden, glowing finish line of retirement. And then they can go to a place where it’s exciting, that’s mixed-used—a place that, in short, displays all the qualities that they’ve been preventing from occurring in the place they’re in charge of for their whole career. Or they move to Key West, or Europe, or some other place."

Yet many planners still love the guy, which only supports my hunch that the planning profession is probably the most self-loathing discipline in recent history. Ever since Jane Jacobs.

It's also fun to hear some examples from the upstate New York area, where I was born.

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