Quick gratification as design and planning practices does not a legacy make, well not the one we want anyways. Instead of racing against time and reason (for the sake of perceived innovation) ; and declaring war on pretty much everything else, including common and professional sense with forms that violate our sensibilities and everyday life of experiencing the city, let's stop to watch and listen to how fundamental forms of life organically (not forced) intermingle in the city: human, social, physical, ecological, etc. Design and planning should be a synthesis that augments without dictating. They ought to focus on the forms of dwelling first, not buildings. They need to mobilize a deep communication with the life in and around (even within) these forms, not just function in order to follow (the) form (of vertically governin).
We crave new forms of agency: of cognition and critique; not shapes and doodles made in boredom. As designers, we are responsible for all we designate. As citizens, we've grown accustomed to the ‘safety’ of the shadows cast, fearing the unhealthy glare of the light. It is darkness that shapes light. It is the past that shapes the possibility for a future. It is our humanity that shapes our design.
With this in mind, I leave you with Victor Hugo's ‘Les Misérables’, taken out of the context of a heavy (written) volume and placed in this fragment of post-thought still in formation. You can read it narrowly as in architecturally speaking, or broadly as in design and planning practices. After all, both are no small (de)feats and of war-like disposition.
“That form has long been fully illuminated; it did have a certain traditional obscurity through which always veils the truth for a longer or shorter time; but now the history is luminous and complete.
This light of history is pitiless; it has a strange and divine quality that, all luminous as it is, and precisely because it is luminous, often casts a shadow just where we saw a radiance; out of the same man it makes two different phantoms, and the one attacks and punishes the other, and the darkness of the despot struggles with the splendor of the captain. Hence a truer measure in the final judgment of the nations. Babylon violated lessens Alexander; Rome enslaved lessens Caesar; massacred Jerusalem lessens Titus. Tyranny follows the tyrant. It is woe to a man to leave behind him a shadow which has his form.”
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