Sunday, September 20, 2009

David Byrne's city, and my favorite cities

David Byrne designs the perfect city. This is one of a bunch of qualities it would have:
Mixed use
This is a Jane Jacobs phrase. A perfect city is where different things are going on, relatively close to each other, at different times of the day. A city isn't a strip of hotels and restaurants on a glorious beach; it's a place where there are restaurants and hotels, but also little stores, fashion boutiques, schools, houses, offices, temples and banks. The healthy neighborhood doesn't empty out at 6 p.m., as most of downtown L.A. does. In my perfect city there would always be something going on nearby.
I think my perfect city would be somewhat different than Byrne's -- smaller, probably, and greener. But I like the idea of thinking through all the different qualities that make a good city. What is most important to you?

I'll have to think about which specific qualities matter most to me. In the meantime, I can list some of my own favorite cities I've visited.

Abroad: Amsterdam; Barcelona; Dublin; Liverpool; Montreal.

In the U.S.: Athens, Ga.; Columbus, Ohio; Madison; Portland; San Francisco; Washington, D.C.

Of course there are a lot of place I haven't been, so this list is not yet even close to comprehensive or complete.


Noah Larsen said...

Here are mine:

Abroad: Amsterdam; London; Paris; Prague

U.S.: Chicago; Boulder, CO; South LA metro (Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, etc.), Lawrence, KS

Isaac said...

Abroad: Toronto and Montreal (haven't been off continent, sadly).

US: Minneapolis, Chicago, San Francisco/Oakland/Berkeley, DC.

Minneapolis is my top favorite for the following factors: political engagement, cheap, excellent food, dense but not overly so, 'MN nice', bikeable, fun.