KunstlerCast - Suburban Sprawl: A Tragic Comedy
James Howard Kunstler, author of The Geography of Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and World Made By Hand, takes on suburban sprawl, disposable architecture and the end of the cheap oil era each week with program host Duncan Crary.

A listener asks James Howard Kunstler to react to the Feb. 9 fire that destroyed a Beijing building by Dutch starchitect Rem Koolhaas. Kunstler believes many famous architects, including Koolhaas, often strive to confound people in order to appear supernaturally brilliant. It's all in the service of grandiosity and narcissism, though. Rather than attempting to disturb our expectations, architects should strive to give us buildings that are neurologically comprehensible and that satisfy our need for cultural orientation. Kunstler also takes shots at a proposed skyscraper in Boston and the Southern Poverty Law Center. **Tim Halber, managing editor of Planetizen, responds in a listener comment to Duncan's recent comments about the failures of new urbanism.

Direct download: KunstlerCast_53.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:26am EST

James Howard Kunstler discusses the issue of rebuilding New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. Legal disputes, government inefficiency and suburban mindsets have stood in the way of constructing traditional neighborhoods in New Orleans. While the charming urban fabric of the French Quarter and the Garden District still remains, Kunstler believes that New Orleans is likely to be a much smaller city than it was in the 20th century. Much of the cultural programming that emerged in the poorer neighborhoods of New Orleans may not return. Ultimately, the realities of climate and weather may determine the fate of the Crescent City. **To celebrate the one-year anniversary of the KunstlerCast, host Duncan Crary joins the band Deer Tick for a live concert. Deer Tick performs the theme song for the KunstlerCast.Released: Feb. 19, 2009.

Direct download: KunstlerCast_52.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:02am EST

James Howard Kunstler is back from a visit to the American South. He reports on two New Urbanist developments outside of Montgomery, Alabama. In many ways Kunstler believes that the new urbanist model of building 400-acre “traditional neighborhoods” out in the green fields of suburbia is over. He explains the relationship between new urbanism, suburbanism and just plain old urbanism. Kunstler’s journey also took him to revisit Seaside, Florida, one of the most famous new urbanist projects produced by Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk. Many people criticize Seaside for being elite and artificial. But Kunstler says Seaside will probably feel more authentic as it ages naturally. Released: Feb. 12, 2009.

Direct download: KunstlerCast_51.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:13am EST