Great piece for discussion over at American Digest this morning:

Long ago it was cool to live in a loft, and not one “designed” to be an “artiste’s loft” either. Or at least it was thought to be so. I once lived (off and on) in an old cigar factory loft way below Soho in New York and it was, in its way, pretty cool. You threw down the keys and ran up a half-dozen flights of stairs. When the storms came the clang of metal shutters slamming into brick walls made you think you were sleeping inside of Big Ben. The kitchen was a small fridge and a hotplate. The bathroom door was a shower curtain. But if you wanted to you could make really big paintings and have really big parties and nobody knew you were there. It was cool.

Great cities have to grow organically with small scale solutions fit for their sites.  Cool places that last can be made that way…building theme parks for people to live in are nice short-term solutions, but add little to the true cultural inheritance of the greater community.  Planners and developers should carefully consider what they bring forward.  Developments should add to the long term health of the community, not just a short term answer to a transient consumer demand.