Saturday, November 26, 2005


Critics of development are sometimes accused of having a knee-jerk reaction to proposed projects, characterized as Not in My Back Yard (NIMBY). Required public services are often not desirable neighbors. Many people understand the need for homeless shelters, half-way houses, Department of Sanitation transfer stations, and the like, but don’t want them in their neighborhoods. And it is often suggested that this NIMBY attitude extends to all manner of projects, regardless of the merits. Alexandra Lange, in New York Magazine, wrote: “On one level, this is simply the mother of all NIMBY (not in my backyard) battles—since Gehry’s stadium and its accompanying towers will literally be built in some Brooklynites’ backyards. And Brooklyn’s potent, sometimes cloying nostalgia for the way things were—dese and dose, egg creams and spaldeens—can fuel a knee-jerk rage at any change at all.” See the full article here. In the same article, Gehry is quoted as suggesting that citizens’ groups “should back off when somebody knows what they’re doing”.

But to dismiss the concerns of the community as merely nostalgic and self-serving is to misunderstand the unique perspective that locals have. We know our streets better than others do, and care for our streets in a way that transcends our artistic values. Others may want great work and not care about our streets, we want great work only if we can still have our streets. Has this stopped us from getting great architecture? Maybe it’s the price we pay for having a great city.


Blogger ratnerville said...

Gehry: Community groups "should back off when somebody knows what they’re doing"

how condescending. never mind the fact that if Mr. Gehry "knew what he was doing" he wouldn't be calling his plan that appeared in the July NY Times "horrible" or seemingly be stuck at the drawing board has he is with Atlantic Yards. And if he knew what he was doing, he had a clue about the neighborhood he is proposing to level.

Its also quite humourous that Ms. Sange in New York Magazine thinks that the opponents of Ratnerville are the cloying nostalgists. She's got it absolutely backwards, the supporters are the cloying nostalgists, cynically pretending that Ratner's land grab has something to do with Walter O'Malley's treacherous move.

NIMBY are:
1. People whose arguments are too strong to refute with reason.
2. People like Mayor Bloomberg who has been quoted as saying that if Ratnerville were proposed in his neighborhood he wouldn't like it, but since its not, he loves it.

9:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Broolynites have to understand this community has to go through a change in some way.I am more sure that the residents in Brooklyn Heights had to deal with Metrotech, In Park Slope We had to deal with Barnes & Noble and now in Prospect Heights have to deal with Ratnerville. Lets see if when the values of the residents homes go up to astronomical figures we will see a change in minds of the owners. As for traffic nightmare this is New York, where can't you find a traffic nightmare; it has just extended to BKLYN.

6:07 PM  

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