Macro Intervention: The Kraut Creek, Boone, NC

The Kraut Creek restoration project was initiated in 1995 as an integral part of a larger project pursued by Appalachian State University to replace its central energy plant, relocate its baseball stadium, realign Rivers Street, and to create a new entrance into their Campus (Hobbs, 2006).  There had been little to no research at that time done on stream restoration so this project represents an educated attempt to recreate a mountain stream in a high density downtown environment.

The creek was originally channelized in the mid 1960s resulting in frequent high velocity flooding.  The damage and repair costs associated with this condition encouraged the University to seek a long-term solution.  This solution involved a revolutionary idea at the time:  daylighting the stream.

As one of the pioneer attempts to balance art and science on a malfunctioning urban stream, this project looked to:  meander the stream to increase sinuosity to control velocity and to mimic the mountain stream context, carefully place wiers for function, visual effects, grade transition, and to create a step pool system.

Although in its infancy at the time, stream restoration, or daylighting as it was called then, was the lynch pin of this project.   A study was done of surrounding streams and a functional and esthetically pleasing stream was created.  Important features such as meander and step pools were incorporated.  The floodplain was sculpted to reduce velocity and spread the water flow.  When it wasn’t flooded, these areas form passive use and visually amenable experiences.

As a gateway to the University, this space links the downtown where many students reside to places where they attend classes.  It features two well used bus stops and tennis courts.  These amenities provide a desirable place to see and be seen and help to activate the park.  All of these nodes create a vibrant and well used park.  In addition, internal activity is created by a pedestrian loop trail.  Surrounding mountain stream morphology was analyzed and recreated with this design.  Native plants were also used to help recreate the sense of surrounding mountain  character.

As part of the gateway creation aesthetics and function meld to provide a balance between pedestrian circulation and recreation.  The quality of the aesthetic experience as well as the functionality of the floodplain design and trail layout help to create a picturesque mountain identity for Appalachian State.

The portion of this trout water stream to be restored represented the last section of the watershed.  The watershed itself had over 1/3 of its lower area urbanized with no stormwater controls in place.  This resulted in an increased frequency of high flash floods.  Designers had to contend with this as a design constraint in terms of the function of the stream but as a real threat during construction (Hobbs, 2006).  A major event did occur during construction, and the damage was significant.  Undeterred the project went through.

As noted this presented a challenge to designers that resulted in way was perhaps a restoration that was less successful from an ecological point of view.  Without the pool riffle sequence now utilized this stream does not provide the types of habitat necessary to support a complex stream food chain.  The meander was not created using hydrological calculations.  The calculations developed as well as new construction techniques reduce cost and provide tested long-term stability.  As it stands there are a few, what stream engineers call, nick points where there is some soil erosion.

Important lessons learned include recognizing and enhancing the existing activity nodes as well as the idea that new nodes can be created within a park setting (i.e. tennis court, trail, and bus stops).  Additionally, it is important to note that newer methods for stream design would have helped this stream function better and help to avoid some of the nick points Kraut Creek now has.  From a design standpoint many regard this as a shining example of an esthetically pleasing and successful urban stream restoration.


Micro Intervention: TreeVitalize

Photo Courtesy of PHS
The TreeVitalize Philadelphia Tree Planting Program supports neighborhood volunteer tree planting by supplying trees and limited services to help prepare planting locations. Organizations and groups in Philadelphia that are willing and able to organize a neighborhood volunteer tree planting event of at least 10 trees are provided those trees free of charge.

TreeVitalize is a program launched by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in 2005 to increase tree canopy in urbanized areas.  The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) is the lead partner for TreeVitalize in southeastern Pennsylvania. PHS is a private non-profit organization that motivates people to improve the quality of life and create a sense of community through horticulture. Tree Tenders is a PHS training program offering free classes on tree biology, identification, planting, and proper care. Philadelphia Parks & Recreation staff oversees street tree planting and care within Philadelphia.

(a)biotic has found PHS to be a wonderful source for all things herbaceous and/or woody.  The link below is a wonderful resource for the amature and professional alike:


They are gearing up for the 2011 tree planting and are seeking volunteers and applications.  If approved a group can expect to be provided with:
  • Between 10 and 100 trees to plant in your neighborhood, based on your group’s request, capacity, and level of experience. The number, species, and type of nursery stock (balled & burlap, container, or bare root) of trees approved will be determined by PHS and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. Bare-root trees will be used wherever possible. 
  • Cutting and removal of pavement, as needed and as funding allows. However, please note that if the property owner cancels the tree request after submitting the request form and the sidewalk has already been cut, the owner will be held responsible for the cost of replacing the pavement. (Property owners are also responsible for removing any stumps.) 
  • Tree stakes and ties. 
  • Priority enrollment for free PHS Tree Tenders training as well as other specialized trainings

For an application or information contact:
Mindy Maslin                                     Casey Combs                                  Liz Haegele
215-988-8844                                   215-988-8874                                  215-988-1618
mmaslin@pennhort.org                    ccombs@pennhort.org                    ehaegele@pennhort.org

Applications are due March 25, 2011


The Urban Hydrological Rationalization for Post Industrial Restoration

The traditional method of stream engineering in an urbanized area was to “remove large woody debris from the channel, straighten that channel, confine the stream in a new concrete channel, armor the banks with rip-rap, or enclose the stream in a pipe” (Brown, 2000). The aim was to move water as quickly and safely out of the immediate area to prevent “local urban flooding” (Brown, 2000). Due to this distorted form, urban streams ecologically malfunction and the wildlife that the stream and stream banks would normally support cannot survive (Brown, 2000). The physical effects of urbanization on natural water processes can be grouped into four categories: impervious surface cover (ISC), drainage density, temperature, and chemical and biological contamination (Paul, 2001).

“The most consistent and pervasive effect of urbanization is an increase in impervious surface cover within urban catchments, which alters the hydrology and geomorphology of streams” (Paul, 2001). When there is rainfall in areas with high ISC, water runs swiftly from roof tops and pavement with little to no absorption into the ground. This has two rather devastating effects both on the function of the stream and potentially to human settlement around those watercourses. Since the water runs more quickly, the time between the precipitation event to the “center of the runoff volume shortens within the urban catchments” (Paul, 2001). This results not only in more frequent flooding, but “floods that peak more rapidly” (Paul, 2001). In addition, since less water is absorbed into the ground, there is no water to provide baseflow discharge in the urban stream. The situation becomes one where there is little to no flow in what would normally have been an ephemeral stream followed by episodes of dangerously high flooding (Paul, 2001). Flooding in itself is as well a natural and much needed occurrence, however when the type and amplitude of flooding is not responsive to the climate, soil, and geology of the area, important amounts of land and vegetation can be lost from an area that normally would not have experienced those events.

It is important to address other water strategies in conjunction with stream restoration. There may be a question as to the detrimental impact of high density development or redevelopment of former industrial sites on the newly restored stream (Richards, 2000). If more ISC is introduced to an area using traditional grading and drainage plans there is no doubt that there will be a negative impact on the watershed (Richards, 2002). Lynn Richards, a policy analyst for the EPA sited two important studies conducted in 2000 that suggest that stormwater conservation redevelopment is more desirable condition compared with low density greenfield development or traditional redevelopment. The first is a study from Purdue University which “estimated that placing a hypothetical low-density development at the Chicago fringe area would produce 10 times more runoff than a mixed-uses development in the urban core” (Richards, 2000). The second, conducted at Jordan Cove, found that when “compared to conservation lot design, the large lot development produce 95% more runoff” (Richards, 2000). It only stands to reason that if there is a better and an often time cost effective (both in short and long term profit margins) means of constructing new, or retrofitting old neighborhoods it should be the preferable solution.

Brown, Kenneth. Urban Stream Restoration Practices: An Initial Assessment. Ellicott City, MD: US EPA, Office of Wetlands, Ocean, and Watersheds, 2000.

Paul, Michael J., and Judy L. Meyer. "Streams in Urban Landscape." Institute of Ecology, University of Georgia (2001): 333-356.

Richards, Lynn. Is Density Good for Water Quality? US EPA--OPEI APA Conference. 17 Apr. 2002. 19 Dec. 2005 <http://www.asu.edu/caed/ proceedings02/RICHARDS/richard1.htm>.


Greenways: A Brief History

Champs Elyse

To better describe what a greenway is, it is best to explore their history.  This history can be viewed as passing through three generations.  The first extends from some of the earliest urban developments to the first half of the 20th Century.  This generation is defined by the historical use of the axis and boulevard as an organizing urban design element that created “formal, ceremonial routes that tried to reintroduce nature into the city” while linking important architectural and cultural features (Searns, 1995). 

Examples are found in ancient Rome, in Versailles, and the Champs Elysees all leading to the notion that the corridor itself can become a special event (Searns, 1995).  Some of the earlier inspiration can also be found in the burgeoning urban settlements of the Renaissance period where “walkways and spaces were created near rivers for sunlight, air, and view” (Searns, 1995).  These open air and at times naturalized places, as well as the European boulevards, and even the canals of Venice, Amersterdam, and St. Petersburgh all connect important geographical features and acted as muse for designers such as Frederick Law Olmsted. 

Having traveled extensively in Europe Olmsted’s ideas for tree lined links in and around places like Boston and Berkely promoted the parkway and a parkway system as not only a corridor but its own experience.  Perhaps the most well known of these plans is the Emerald Necklace of 1876 in Boston, MA (Fabos, 2004). 

In the mid to late 1800s, around the same time Olmsted was exploring his ideas about the parkway, there were efforts being made by New York State to adopt the “blueline concept” (also referred to as the greenline concept) to create the Adirondack Park.  The “blueline concept” was essentially a blueline drawn on a map designating and limiting the extent of urban growth north though New York State (Zube, 1995).  The Library of Congress cites the Adirondack Park model as the “genesis of the greenline concept and therefore a benchmark of the genesis of the greenway concept.”  The Adirondack Park consists of pockets of highly regulated development surrounded by vast amounts of undeveloped lands and linked by limited roads and an extensive off-road trail system  (Zube, 1995).

In 1898, Ebenezer Howard adapted the Adirondack model when developing his Garden City.  The greenbelt he envisioned encircling his new urban form was meant to function more like a blueline and less like a green link within and around the city (Zube, 1995).   It is important to note that this greenbelt was intended to function much like a greenway in that there was a determined introduction of nature into urban life.  In the early 20th century the popularity of the automobile, and separatist notions of the Garden City and blueline led to the advent of the next generation of greenways that looked to create separate corridors for pedestrians and automobiles (Searns, 1995).

Kelley Drive Gree
In the mid 1970’s, gaining inspiration from the 1930’s design of the San Antonio Riverwalk, the Plattco River Greenway was one of the first projects to employ the term greenway.  William White, by most accounts, is credited with inventing the term in is 1960 book, Last Landscape (Searns, 1995).     The second generation was defined by an “urban greenway trail representing a special, more accessible, adaption of the traditional ‘wilderness experience’ or stroll through the English Garden or city park” (Searns 1995).  This second generation represented a “combination of the off-street bikeway concept, first emerging in Europe, wilderness hiking trails, and Olmsted’s park walkways” (Searns, 1995). 

The physical design of greenways also changed during this time.  Beginning in the 1970’s, walk/bike trails (multi-use trails) were constructed with a smooth surface, usually asphalt, about 8’ in width.  The smooth surface was intended to accommodate the popular, narrow tired bicycles of the time.   The trails began to widen and the materials began to vary as bicycle tire widths increased and more and varied types of users began to use the trails.

American Tobacco Trail.
Image courtesy of Greenways Inc.
In addition to the riverside or park urban greenway, this generation saw the rise of the road system give way to abandoned rail tracks and the subsequent reuse of these tracks as non-motorized corridors.  The Rails to Trails movement developed during this time and was spearheaded by National Rails to Trails Conservancy (Searns, 1995).  These contiguous preexisting corridors proved to be key in the promotion and adaptation of the greenway as a dynamic urban form.

As design and implementation of the greenway model evolved along with urban development, the third generation of greenways developed as a synthesis of the previously assumed benefits of connected open space.  Scientific research began to prove many of the claims greenway proponents had been exposing.  Current greenway theory suggests that greenways are multi-objective linear open spaces that promote not only an aesthetic, but contain restorative aspects of nature, recreation, and ecological stewardship (Searns, 1995).  This generation spun off of the writings of the McHargh and Forman as well as the current data on habitat protection, flood hazard reduction, water quality, historic preservation, education, biodiversity maintenance, human health, and economic benefit (Searns, 1995).

The strength of the evolving “greenway concept is lies in its diversity of form and function” and the multiplicity of uses and users (Flink, 1993).  The most cutting edge greenway development is occurring in conjunction with the reengineering of degraded watercourses.  When used in conjunction with watershed protection and stream restoration, this concept can spread into surrounding neighborhoods in the form of natural, or “green”, stormwater infrastructure retrofits.  As part of this multi-objective endeavor, the urban stream restoration is itself promoting an adaptation from an urban form that in many cases functions in opposition to the ecological viability of everything downstream from its location.  


Macro Intervention: The Adirondack Park

At (a)biotic we sometimes joke that good things often happen in spite of government regulation and planning, not because of them. One could argue that the birth of jazz and blues came about in-spite of segregation and that as an art these things triumphed amidst a failed system. There are examples, however, of what we call Macro Interventions that present some pretty wonderful events and places. Just like our celebration of Micro Interventions we would like to explore and discuss the good and the bad behind our larger scale land use planning efforts.

One such place that we thoroughly enjoy is the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York. Though considered young by mountain standards, these mountains were formed about 5 million years ago and are considered part of the Canadian Crust geological formation. The granite, marble, and quartz rocks (among others) were formed billions of years ago only to be uplifted, scoured, smoothed and eroded by rain, wind, heat and glacial activity. For this reason, they bare the somewhat comical moniker: “new mountains from old rocks.” 1 The range itself is quite unique in that it is not an “elongated range like the Rockies or Appalachians.” 1 The Adirondacks actually form a circle called the “Adirondack Dome.” 1

As part of a multi-functional attempt to preserve this land for timber, water management, and recreation (mostly for the ultra-wealthy of the time), the New York State Forest Preserve was formed. In 1885, a declaration was made that all “State-owned lands in eight Adirondack and three Catskill counties should be ‘forever kept as wild forest lands’ and could not be leased or further sold.” 1 Groundbreaking legislation was formed in 1892 when the Adirondack Park was formed to encompass the Forest Preserve as well as private lands in the central region. The “Adirondack Park” has hence been declared the “primary benchmark in the genesis of the greenbelt and greenway concepts.” It is a truly unique attempt to manage land and development and “incorporate public and private land and economic and conservation interests in the park.” 2

The park today is the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States, greater in size than Yellowstone, Everglades, Glacier, and Grand Canyon National Park combined1. The park covers nearly 6 million acres and New York State owns less than half. The rest is in private hands in the form of settlements, timber industry, businesses, homes, and camps. The over 130,000 inhabitants and over 105 towns and villages often long for more economic activity and it is a constant struggle against the forces of development to keep the land as preserved as possible.

1 http://www.apa.state.ny.us/About_Park/geology.htm (body text and map at right)
2 Current State of Greenway Planning, Landscape and Urban Planning, 2004

A Hand Sketch of the Telephone Game

A Sequence of Lines Traced by Five Hundred Individuals from clement valla on Vimeo.

An online drawing tool explores and beautifully demonstrates a hand drawn version of the "telephone game".
A Sequence of Lines Consecutively Traced by Five Hundred Individuals asks each user to trace a line on the screen. Any errors are replicated and exaggerated and demonstrating a continuous almost organic search for equilibrium.


Micro Intervention: Put a Bird In It

Portlandia, a 6-part short-based comedy a la Kids in the Hall delivers a funny yet biting critique of detached consumer art in their sketch: Put a Bird on It ( http: www.putabirdonit.com ). In it, detached hipsters discuss design and approach nature from the standpoint of dysfunctional aesthetic obsession. This is reflected in both their personal relationship as well as their relationship with the actual wildlife whose image they promote. Hilarity ensues.

We look to recognize those that represent the counterpoint to the caterwaul of the often self-ordained and always self-possessed aesthete. We admire those that carry out the idea of bottom up, community based art and design that allows for the confluence of environmental enhancement, art, and civic engagement. Without fanfare and ornament organizations such as the Canal Nest Colony turn a simple goal of building and installing bird and bat houses into an effort that address all of those efforts simultaneously.

Partnered with the Gowanus Canal Conservency (GCC), the Canal Nest Colony is a The Canal Nest Colony is a "multi-disciplinary design effort to encourage human-nature interaction, plant and animal biodiversity, and highlight the diverse ecosystem potential of the of the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, New York."

From the GCC website, we learn that "the 1.8 mile long Gowanus Canal was created in the mid-late 1800s on the site of a former saltmarsh and creek and has seen its fair share of environmental issues. For years, it has captured raw sewage waste from adjacent residential neighborhoods, industrial waste products from the businesses located along its banks, and polluted surface run off. At the same time, the canal is dotted with structures and bridges that celebrate its important industrial history and is home to egrets, cormorans, and other forms of wildlife. Currently, the area is filled with small industries, businesses, homes and artists’ studios and is slated for rezoning by the City as well as being considered for potential Superfund status."

All images courtesy of Andrew Nicholas, www.thiscityismine.com, except for Portlandia image courtesy of


On Landscape Ecology

What is landscape ecology and how does it fit within an urban framework?  

“Ecology”, as Richard Forman tells us, “is generally defined as the study of interactions among organisms and their environment, and a landscape is a kilometers-wide mosaic over which particular local ecosystems and land-uses recur” (Forman, 1996).  Zev Naveh in his book, Landscape Ecology, Theory and Application, refines this definition and tells us that landscape ecology is “a young branch of modern ecology that deals with the interrelationship between man and his open and built landscape”   (Naveh, 1994).   Pete August further refines this definition when he suggests that “landscape ecology is a discipline that studies how and why living organisms are distributed in the environment in the ways that they are.

Landscape ecologists are especially interested in how the components of a landscape – forests, villages, rivers – interact” (August, 2005).  Fortunately, landscape architecture has been accepted as a partner in the interdisciplinary field of landscape ecology (Ahern, 2005).  This is fortunate because much of landscape architecture theory is cradled in ecology.  The difference between ecology and landscape architecture is, as Ahern asserts, the “imperative to act” (Ahern, 2005) of landscape architecture.  While building places and altering landscapes, landscape ecology is asked to provide guidance and inform design decisions at a variety of scales (Ahern, 2005).  As landscape architecture makes it mark in the urban design realm, landscape ecology is again asked to provide a language for holistic design.

An important idea behind modern landscape ecology that begins to provide a design language is that any “living system, from the human body to the biosphere, exhibits three broad characteristics:  structure, functioning, and change.

Landscape structure is the special pattern or arrangement of landscape elements.  Functioning is the movement and flows of animals, plants, water, wind, and materials and energy through the structure.  And change is the dynamics or alteration in spatial pattern and functioning over time” (Forman, 1996).

The general principles that Forman presents are as well important to present:

Patches:  “A spatially separate instance of a given type of habitat” (Steiner, 1999).  Urbanization and natural process create patches of vegetation.  These patches may be as large as a national forest or as small as a single tree.

Edges and Boundaries:  An edge is described as the outer portion of a patch where the environment differs significantly from the interior of the patch.  Often, edge and interior elements look and feel differently.  A boundary can be either curvilinear or straight, but it influences the flow of nutrients, water, energy, or species along or across it.  Boundaries may also be artificial:  political or administrative.

          Corridors and Connectivity:  In the face of continuing habitat loss and
isolation, many landscape ecologists stress the need for providing landscape connectivity, particularly in the forms of wildlife movement corridors and stepping stones.  Corridors in the landscape may also act as barriers or filters to species movement.  Finally, stream or river systems are corridors of exceptional significance in the landscape.  Maintaining their ecological integrity in the face of intense human use is both a challenge and an opportunity to landscape designers and land-use planners.  The core of this paper, in that it deals with integrating neighborhood design with urban stream restoration, relies heavily on this principle.

Mosaics:  The overall structure and functional integrity of a landscape can be understood and evaluated in terms of both pattern and scale.  Interconnected corridors form networks.  These networks may be interrupted by fragmentation which is often associated with the loss and isolation of habitat.  The interaction, placement, and relationship between networks, edges, and patches form land mosaics.

The patch/corridor/matrix model is complementary to the adaptation of landscape ecological theory and concepts into urban planning and design (Herpsberger, 2005).   The landscape structure/functioning/change concept is an interesting way of describing an urban site with the patch/corridor/matrix model as a possible subset of that description.  An urban morphology can be determined and reinterpreted with these concept from landscape ecology as groups of buildings, open lots, streets, vegetation, movement all form a cohesive whole (Herspberger, 2005). 

A city can be described, as Forman has presented, not only as existing within a living system (as seen from a regional scale) but as itself a living system at the local scale—with all major theory and principles of landscape ecology describing that system.   Eugene Odum in his heralded book, Ecology: A Bridge Between Science and Society describes cities “as a parasite on the natural and domesticated environments, since it makes no food, cleans no air, and cleans very little water to the point where it could be reused” (Odum).  In contrast Jane Jacobs offers the idea that it is the domesticated areas that act as a drain on the city. Cities, she claims, provide the creativity and social benefits that enhance the human race and provide for our continued existence (Jacobs).  This anthropocentric view cannot be entirely ignored and in fact it is important to note that, as humans, it is virtually impossible to adopt any other view other than a human centered reality (Seed, 1999).

Although both a somewhat negative view of the contrast between the built and open environments, these notions, if viewed as opportunities, are quite congruent.  Odum’s view, likening a city to a parasite, for the most part accepts the notion that the city is a malignant living system, but a living system nonetheless.  With the creativity and knowledge base provided by the benefits of higher density living as suggested by Jacobs, there is a clear invitation for not only a move towards creating more of these high density environments, but a mandate to do so in an ecologically sensitive manner.  


Micro Interventions: Neighborhood Bike Works

The Micro Intervention concept originates from an idea that small incremental change is a more effective and efficient use of resources for urban renewal than large scale planning and design efforts. Because these interventions are by virtue organic and community based, they are applicable, relevant and responsible within that community. Engineers, architects, planners, and landscape architects often fall prey to over-predation of urban design theory and forget that community design is more about designing with the community, rather than for the community. Micro Interventions move past theory and create a new reality of doing with rather than speaking to.

This concept will be explained more fully in future posts and will examine current practices in community design and provide what we think are outstanding examples of positive Micro Interventions.

The first in the series is the Neighborhood Bike Works. I had the opportunity last fall to sign up for a bike repair class offered at their home base in West Philly at 3916 Locust Walk. Neighborhood Bike Works are a nonprofit educational organization in Philadelphia that seeks to increase opportunities for urban youth through bicycling and to promote cycling as an environmentally friendly means of transportation.

There are a number of truly wonderful aspects about this nonprofit that take on the issue of "sustainability" from a grass routes level. They address issues of equity, education, and energy simultaneously.

Earn-A-Bike is their popular flagship program. Over the course of fourteen sessions, youth learn the basics of bike repair and maintenance, safe urban riding, and health and nutrition. Throughout the two month course, they also earn “hours”, which by the end of the course adds up to enough to take home their very own bike. These programs are free to the participants, as all costs are covered by Neighborhood Bike Works and partner organizations.

They have many bike repair classes for adults and children, a bike part art show, group rides and other community outreach efforts
. If you are interested, take a look at their website to see how you can participate.



Nursery Landscapes

Gerco de Ruijter provides us with some fabulous examples of alterting the perspective of a landscape to help redefine, understand, and admire its beauty. The power of a formal grid of planting suggests a blending of mankind's overtly simplistic understanding of order with the dynamic chaos of the living.

de Ruijter asks: "How abstract can a landscape become while remaining a landscape?" Perhaps there is a better question: "At what point does our fascination with monocultures overwhelm our landscape?"

Or maybe that is what he meant by abstraction.

It seems as though de Ruijter is defining "landscape" as "nature", both of which are loaded terms and begs a much larger discussion.

Maybe that is also what he meant by abstraction.

The image below represents what de Ruijter depiction of a grid planting that has overgrown its confined arrangement (at least from above).

Stay tuned for images from (a)bioitic of a forgotten tree farm near Valle Crucis, North Carolina.

All images courtesy of Gerco de Ruijter. For more of his work, visit:



An Ismism

Response to "Green Building: Are cities the best place to live? Are suburbs OK? A fight grows in urban planning, with Harvard at the center" from the Boston Globe.

Carl Wiens for The Boston Globe
When Waldheim and Duany descend from the shelter of their ivy league keeps long enough to exchange blows over whose theory concerning urban design and planning is most relevant, the result is both underwhelming and forehead-slappingly-ignorant. Waldheim's vision for landscape urbanism advocates and defends sprawl while Duany's stomps with pouted lip its rejection of the now vilified cul de sac (all the while eating up precious open space with arrogant greenfield development).

As the way of any good overly thought out idea, both are inordinately idealistic and naturally detached from reality. Both would benefit from admitting that development and sprawl are a direct consequence of the availability of two things: clean water and more importantly cheap energy.

If energy is cheap, sprawl will continue. If energy is expensive, a dense urban environment will be not only desired, but necessary. Prescription of taste and desire to the proletariat is a hold over of modernist classicist dogma while the simple action of the demand and supply curve more directly informs how we live. Just as in ancient Greece where the size of the city was dictated by a day's horse and cart ride from the nearby farms, the form, mass and density of our cities are limited only by our access to cheap gasoline.

Listening to the prattle from the detached vestibules of our so called elite universities, reminds one of a succinct Hardy quote:
(The dog) …"was, in fact, taken and tragically shot at twelve o’clock that same day–another instance of the untoward fate which so often attends dogs and other philosophers who follow out a train of reasoning to its logical conclusion, and attempt perfectly consistent conduct in a world made up so largely of compromise."