September 9th, 2011

not a review, _Rise and Fall of Downtown_

I actually did not buy this book as part of the current obsession with property development that occurred when I started trying to visualize our future economy/job market. I bought it a year ago August, and I cannot for the life of me remember why. I bought a bunch of other land use stuff around the same time so presumably I'll eventually remember what I was thinking about. Maybe lj can tell me.

In any event, I never even started to read it until recently, and Fogelson pissed me off right at the beginning because the thesis is irritatingly precise (<-- yes, shocking that I would say that), in that he has something to say about downtown and he only means downtown in a very particular sense and it's not what most people born in my cohort (or even earlier) and later would ever think of when they thought of downtown. I don't think he's wrong, and it's actually a really interesting book in a lot of ways.

I'm reading the section about height limits and NYC finally getting some as an overall zoning ordinance and how that worked out both there and how height limits and zoning ordinances worked out elsewhere. This all happens _after_ he spends a bunch of time on subway proposals, which was, in and of itself, probably worth the price of the book (definitely for the kindle, possibly even the full price hardcover). At 37% and it looks like all the notes are at the end, I'm probably just about halfway through the book (which is close to 500 pages in hardcover, which helps explain why I feel like I'm reading slowly even tho the book reads quickly). So far, I've been impressed with the contemporary quotations he has produced (in terms of sourcing and development of the argument through use of contemporary argumentation).

Also, the book is making me feel, once again, like any argument anyone has ever had about zoning, land use, etc. has already been made. Repeatedly.