Thu, 29 October 2009
James Howard Kunstler discusses two major projects that have recently turned 19th century railroad structures into parks: the High Line in lower Manhattan and the Walkway Over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The High Line is a unique park in New York City, built upon a former elevated rail line that used to bring trains through buildings. Although the High Line gives reprieve to New Yorkers, Kunstler finds it to be an accidental freak of urban nature. We would benefit more from the deliberate creation of beautifully designed streets and boulevards at grade level. The Walkway Over the Hudson is an extremely long railroad bridge that now serves as a pedestrian park. On the plus side, Kunstler believes this type of project might protect the bridge so that it doesn't completely fall apart. But he finds it tragic that America has discarded the major investments it once made in a rail system. A listener caller who is an urban planner in Vancouver shares his thoughts on adaptive reuse of buildings.This week's sponsor is Revolution Hall in Troy N.Y., inviting listeners to see Deer Tick, the band that sings the KunstlerCast theme song, this Nov. 4. www.RevolutionHall.com
Thu, 22 October 2009
Inspired by David Owen's book "Green Metropolis," James Howard Kunstler examines the idea of Manhattan as a "green" city. Kunstler believes that, during his lifetime, New York has never been in as good shape as it is now. But he also thinks it will never be in as good shape again. Financial and energy problems in the future may turn our newest skyscrapers into one-generation buildings, outlandish monuments built during the twilight of an empire. Of all the boroughs, Kunstler thinks Brooklyn may fare the best because of its higher quality urban fabric.
Thu, 15 October 2009
James Howard Kunstler believes that urban design will be the next big philosophical battle for the hearts and minds of Americans. One of the most important tasks we will face is determining the size, scale and shape of the 21st Century city. Kunstler says current cities are not scaled to the energy realities of the future. We must downscale, reform and de-automobilze our cities. Urban thinkers and urban planners will serve as our guides throughout that process. In this episode, Kunstler returns to the list of top 100 urban thinkers complied by Planetizen.com to discuss some of the top names on that list. People discussed on this program include: Christopher Alexander, Frederick Law Olmsted, Daniel Burnham, Lewis Mumford, Leon Krier, Le Corbusier, and Ian McHarg.
Thu, 8 October 2009
Planetizen, an urban planning website and book publisher, recently conducted a poll about the Top 100 Urban Thinkers. Jane Jacobs, author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, made #1 on the list. Kunstler explains the story and importance of Jacobs. He also recollects interviewing her in 2000. Although at the time Jacobs was writing a book about the coming energy crisis, Dark Age Ahead, Kunstler said she didn't seem interested in talking about "Long Emergency" issues during their conversation. A listener caller tells us why he thinks Seasame Street is a good model for urbanism.
Thu, 1 October 2009
In this week's episode, listener Frank Aragona of the Agroinnovations Podcast asks James Howard Kunstler to talk about the role of food in Jim's post-peak oil novel World Made By Hand. Although the characters in the novel must overcome many obstacles, the food that they eat is delicious in general and is a vast improvement to the current American diet. Aragona thinks that perhaps food is the triumphant element in the novel. Kunstler talks about how horrendous spectacl and the tragic results that the fast food nation has brought about. He also speaks about the lost ceremony of eating with family and friends. Listeners also comment on the recent podcasts about Los Angeles and white rooftops.
Sponsor: The Agroinnovations Podcast: http://agroinnovations.com/podcast