I intend to write more about this later, but I wanted to put this out there for initial comment.
I attended the final General Growth Properties sponsored “Voices of Vision”. The guest lecturer was Adam Lerner, Executive Director of The Laboratory of Art and Ideas at Belmar. His presentation began with a brief discussion of how Belmar was developed in the city of Lakewood, Colorado (Belmar is Lakewood, Colorado’s downtown district). The second half of his lecture focused on the arts activities going on in Belmar. Mr. Lerner is certainly a very creative person and presented some programs that I (without a doubt) would like to attend. What I found particularly interesting was the Q&A after the lecture. One exchange I would like to share (and I transcribed this as best I could, so please forgive any inaccuracies) was the following:
Mr. Lerner was asked if tall buildings are appropriate in a downtown and what was the definition of human scale. Mr. Lerner responded that there was no hard and fast rule regarding human scale, that towers (tall buildings) were not necessarily out of hand, and it really depends on the context. He also remarked that he had not seen the plans for the proposed Plaza Tower for downtown Columbia, and wondered if the tower brought life to the area or did it suck? After a brief pause, he amended his remark to ask if the tower sucked life out of the area. Would people who lived in the tower be brought to the street level, or would they just drive their cars to and from the tower and not interact with the city? I had a chance to chat briefly with my social acquaintance, Guilford, after the lecture. When I asked him what he thought, he remarked, “I know what the headline will be tomorrow, ‘Plaza Tower Sucks’.” Regrettably, I don’t think he got the full meaning of Mr. Lerner’s statement.
And on This Side of the Mississippi
As fate would have it, the regionally located (Washington, DC) Urban Places and Spaces blog had a post yesterday about arts-based revitalization. The blog post relates some regional arts revitalization efforts going on and provides plenty of links to other arts-based efforts. It is certainly worth reading.
As I said, I will post more on this later. It was a really great lecture. Anyone else that attended, please post your thoughts. In addition, I would like to hear what people thought of the entire lecture series.