forthright views on suburban architecture
James Kunstler, or Jim as he introduced himself with a firm handshake back in March 2011, is an outspoken critic of suburbia in America and proponent of the New Urbanism movement, which seeks to reverse the destructive trends of sprawl. Meeting him at the 9th Annual New York State Green Building Conference, he appeared at first unassuming. Later however, he shed his meek demeanor and delivered a rousing keynote address akin to the one delivered during his TED Talk back in February 2004 (see below). Never shying away from being provocative and at times profane, he words then are as true as they are today.
SUBURBIA, THE NEW FRONTIER
The product of American architecture has lead to a mythology that has created the idea that there is a Manifest Destiny — which has imbued buildings that is American with an enduring awareness of its own inevitability — persists in the secret supermodernity of now’s living surroundings. The “pull to the new” and “push from the old” that marked early twentieth century suburbs. It is clear a drive through modern America shows that the suburban dream still exists for most. It provides a sense of an escape from pressures, insecurity, fear, failings — exactly the motives that in the past have enticed people search for change, a new start. It is reconceptualisation of Frederick Jackson Turner's "Frontier Thesis". Although Jacjson declared it dead in fact it has taken on a new meaning. The frontiers are no longer, they are now personal, local and communal. Reimagining suburbia is the new frontier!