Stop Making Senseless Cities

Posted by Andrew Price

David Byrne, whom we all know and love as the founder of the Talking Heads, muses on the perfect city in the Wall Street Journal and makes this point:This is a Jane Jacobs phrase. A perfect city is where different things are going on, relatively close to each other, at different times of the day. A city isn't a strip of hotels and restaurants on a glorious beach; it's a place where there are restaurants and hotels, but also little stores, fashion boutiques, schools, houses, offices, temples and banks. The healthy neighborhood doesn't empty out at 6 p.m., as most of downtown L.A. does. In my perfect city there would always be something going on nearby.This kind of mixed-use arrangement makes it easier to do all your errands without driving too far, of course, but it also has a benefit that's harder to quantify: It puts you in regular contact with a broader cross-section of humanity.Related: The excellent Talking Heads number "This Must Be The Place" is as good a song for this subject as you could ask for.

Here's a (mediocre) cover by MGMT, and here's a (pretty good) cover by Arcade Fire.