BuffaloResearch.com
Genealogy & Local History in Buffalo, NY


Favorite Quotes on Architecture and Urbanism


"Cities need old buildings so badly it is probably impossible for vigorous streets and districts to grow without them. By old buildings I mean not museum-piece old buildings, not old buildings in an excellent state of rehabilitation - -although these make fine ingredients -- but also a good lot of plain, ordinary, low-value old buildings, including some rundown old buildings....

Even the enterprises that can support new construction in cities need old construction in their immediate vicinity. Otherwise they are part of a total attraction and total environment that is economically too limited -- and therefore functionally too limited to be lively, interesting and convenient. Flourishing diversity anywhere in a city means the mingling of high-yield, middling-yield, low-yield and no-yield enterprises."

-- Jane Jacobs, "The Death and Life of Great American Cities." New York: Random House, ©1961.

orange divider

"Actually, there is a point at which a city can satisfy its parking needs. This situation can be found in many small, older American cities and is almost always the result of the same history: at mid-century, with automobile ownership on the rise, a charming old downtown with a wonderful pedestrian realm finds itself in need of more parking spaces. It tears down a few historic buildings and replaces them with surface parking lots, making the downtown both easier to park in and less pleasant to walk through. As more people drive, it tears down a few more buildings, with the same result. Eventually, what remains of the old downtown becomes unpleasant enough to undermine the desire to visit, and the demand for parking is easily satisfied by the supply. This phenomenon could be called the Pensacola Parking Syndrome, in honor of one of its victims."

--Andres Duany, "Suburban Nation." North Point Press, ©2000, p. 162 [footnote]

orange divider

"I am--fanatically, unapologetically--a placeist. This makes me a virtual thought-criminal in an age of global homogeneity. 'Placeism' might be defined in the criminal code as the unreasoned love of a particular place, be it a neighborhood, village, city, or even state. Placeists insist that residents of real places have histories, customs, accents, and concerns that are irreducibly different that those of other places."

--Bill Kauffman, "Dispatches From the Muckdog Gazette." Henry Holt, © 2003

orange divider

"We've all often heard the expression, 'It's cheaper to build new than it is to reconstruct.' That's not true. I've always found that it's cheaper to use an existing structure. Now, doing so is more complicated, and you actually have to be a better builder to do that kind of work, but if you know what you're doing, it costs you less money. A lot of the building is already done--you already have your structure--so that's why it's much cheaper. For example, I saved a substantial amount of money when I built Trump Park Avenue in New York City by reusing the Delmonico Hotel's foundation, frame, and exterior."

--Donald Trump,"An Exchange with Donald Trump." Preservation, v.58, no. 4, July/August 2006, p. 18

orange divider

"The right to have access to every building in the city by private motorcar in an age when everyone possesses such a vehicle is actually the right to destroy the city."

--Lewis Mumford, "The Highway and the City," New American Library, 1964, p. 23

orange divider

"When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for; and let us think, as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when those stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, 'See! This our father did for us.'"

--John Ruskin, "The Seven Lamps of Architecture." New York: The Noonday Press, 1961, p. 177

orange divider

"We regret much of what we've built; we regret much of what we've torn down. But we've never regretted preserving anything."

--Daniel Sack

orange divider

"Preservationists are the only people in the world invariably confirmed in their wisdom after the fact."

--John Kenneth Galbraith, 1980

orange divider

"Usually, terrible things that are done with the excuse that progress requires them are not really progress at all, but just terrible things."

-Russell Baker

orange divider

"Modern architecture brought with it an ideology about city planning that should by now be as thoroughly discredited by 50 calamitous years of city building as any ideas in history."

--Daniel Solomon, "Global Cities Blues." Island Press, ©2003

orange divider

"Traditional skilled craftsmanship has not been lost. What has been lost is the willingness to pay for it."

--Vincent Kuntz

orange divider

"Everyone claims to want a city, but no one here wants city living. City living by its definition is crowded. It is tolerant of other people. It is dependent on a sophisticated population that makes a hundred compromises daily so that they can benefit from the collective energy that a city generates."

--Robert N. Davis, Jr., May 4, 2004

orange divider

"In America, we have adapted a sentimental view that the well off should not displace the people living in run-down neighbourhoods. This is a philosophically indefensible position, since it presumes that well-off people are not welcome in the city per se, and have no business fixing up old property. It implies that the well-off should restrict themselves to life in the suburbs or the rural hinterlands. A city without better-off classes cannot endure.”

--James Howard Kunstler, January 2005

orange divider

"In the beginning, the earth was without parking. The planner said, Let there be parking, and there was parking. And the planner saw that it was good. And the planner then said, Let there be off-street parking for each land use, according to its kind. And developers provided off-street parking for each land use according to its kind. And again the planner saw that it was good. And the planner said to cars, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and have dominion over every living thing that moves upon the earth. And the planner saw everything he had made, and, behold, it was not good."

--Donald C. Shoup, "The High Cost of Free Parking." Chicago, IL: Planners Press, © 2005, p. 21

orange divider

"Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell."

--Edward Abbey

orange divider

"Once a downtown is more than one-third parking lots, it loses its character and sense of place."

--Welington E. Webb, mayor of Denver, CO

orange divider

"My heart is moved by all I cannot save:
So much has been destroyed
I have to cast my lot with those
who, age after age, perversely, with no extraordinary
power, reconstitute the world."

--Adrienne Rich

orange divider

"Whatever is goode in its kinde ought to be preserv'd in respect for antiquity, as well as our present advantage, for destruction can be profitable to none but such as live by it."

-Nicholas Hawksmoor, on the rebuilding of All Souls College, Oxford, 17 February 1715

Favorite Quotes on Other Topics


"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."

--Bill Cosby

orange divider

"One of the great attractions of patriotism -- it fulfills our worst wishes. In the person of our nation we are able, vicariously, to bully and cheat. Bully and cheat, what's more, with a feeling that we are profoundly virtuous."

--Aldous Huxley

orange divider

"Well-behaved women rarely make history."

--Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

orange divider

"Men are from the Gilded Age, women are from the Progressive Era."

--Perry, Elisabeth I., SHGAPE Presidential Address, March 31, 2000, OAH, St. Louis, Missouri

orange divider

Updated 18 March 2010

BuffaloResearch.com