Monday, March 16, 2009

Kunstler was in South Africa - here's what he thought about the place [PLUS VIDEO]

The most conspicuous feature visible to someone from the US was the huge numbers of black Africans everywhere, but especially those traipsing or waiting along the the secondary highways in a country with very poor public transit. It looked like some kind of refugee stream from a distant war zone, but I was assured that it was just the normal flow of daily life.

NVDL: Read the rest of Jim's 'take' below, or watch this link:
I was in Johannesburg to give some talks at the invitation of an architecture firm, Osmand Lange, who had designed an outstanding New Urbanist project of some 35 acres in the otherwise Los Angeles-style illegible suburban sprawl north of the old central business district. The project, called Melrose Arch, was an ensemble of five-story buildings in a set of mixed-use, dense blocks rich with good public space -- a rare thing in this otherwise ultra-fortified security state of gated estate houses, malls, business "parks," and freeways.
   In fact, in the car coming off the very long flight from North America, with what felt like a brain-pan full of screaming weevils produced by jet-lag, I kept on wondering if I had somehow landed in LA by mistake, so similar was the palm-studded terrain and most of the objects deployed on it. After a day or so of brain rehab, the differences became more apparent.
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