Help me out here

Can someone please explain to me what this is supposed to do? Because I’ve read this story several times and can’t figure it out.

An example of the types of collaboration COLA B hopes to work on just happened over the weekend, when it brought together students from 10 different majors to work with local developers and the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce to imagine what Jefferson Street could look like with a bit of coordinated investment. They came up with dozens of ideas, translated into drawings that will be on display tonight.

Great: more brilliant ideas with no political plan for achieving them? We don’t have enough of those.

(I’m sorry, have I knocked anyone out of their comfort zone with this question?)

4 Replies to “Help me out here”

  1. Ah, yes. They taught us to do this in city planning school– not one of the useful things I learned in city planning school, IMHO. It is supposed to inspire you and help you to visualize what the area could look like, if you had plenty of money, labor, neighborhood acceptance, zoning clearance and building permits– getting none of which are those clever students’ and professors’ problems. Which pretty much explains how they can be so inspired and visionary and out of the box, and excessively perky.

    I have a visionary and inspired project going myself right now– making a new set of front steps out of cast-off bricks and ashlar stonework that was going to be bulldozed for clean fill. Could use a few collaborative students to haul gravel for me. If they started visualizing and making drawings of what they thought would be better like I didn’t know what the %*#@ I wanted, though, I’d throw a free brick at ’em. Comfort zone, ya know?

    Students, go home and do your homework and wash your laundry. If you want to help Syracuse, send a donation, or tutor a local kid having trouble learning to read. Or, volunteer to really build something with Habitat for Humanity.

  2. We had a landscape architecture class of kids from CU do this with our property when we were first building–our architect had a friend whose class it was, and so we were treated to Our House with Japanese Sculpture Garden, Our House with Magical Waterfall (we’re on top of a mountain, so how this was going to happen is hard to picture), Our House with Terraced Landscape, etc. We used none of it, although we got a couple of ideas about how the driveway should enter the property.

    I actually think this kind of dreamscape “visioning” is okay for students who are just starting out. It’s when the city (and therefore, the taxpayer) starts paying for similar imagineering that you ought to worry.

  3. It’s more destabilizing then anything. People learn that planning is a dysfunctional waste of everyone’s time BECAUSE NOTHING EVER HAPPENS.

  4. Just to clarify, I wasn’t questioning the value of the classroom or the brainstorming activities for the students… I was wondering about the media coverage of the Jefferson St thing… the involvement of the Chamber of Commerce, etc. The media covers these splashy events but never follows up on the questions about how exactly these visions are to be politically achieved. I don’t mind funkiness for funkiness’ sake, but not when it’s being sold as a major civic development.

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