In 1988 in Oakland, California, Thomas Dolan designed what is said to be the first new-construction live-work community created in the US since the Great Depression. It was called South Prescott Village, and was the first of many live-work projects that Dolan, an architect in Oakland, has designed. Now Dolan has put together an enormously knowledgable guide, Live-Work Planning and Design: Zero Commute Housing. The generously illustrated 251-page book from Wiley advocates live-work, but also tells how to avoid its pitfalls—such as isolation—by including courtyards and other spaces where residents will encounter one another. See article and June issue.
For two centuries, technologies damaged cities, says Simon Kuper, a columnist for the Financial Times. Factories brought dirt and noise. Cars added sprawl. But now technology is becoming a boon to urban living. The Internet, the laptop, and the Smartphone together make it easier for people to create new networks that reinforce older urban networks. If you can carry your network around in a 10-inch-square device, says Kuper, suddenly it's easier to find everything you want—from a bus to a date. As for sprawling cities that rely heavily on cars, those, he says, are becoming dysfunctional.
The prominent modernist firm of Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo "built some real stinkers, and they were working on such a scale that when a bulding failed, it failed big, bad and awful," Washington Post architecture critic Philip Kennicott says in reviewing an exhibition of the Hamden, Connecticut, design firm's production. And if the end of corporate America is a dystopian hell of environmental catastrophe, vast economic inequity, and social instability, as is entirely possible, the corporate architects of our age will not be remembered fondly, he warns.