(Shout-out to fellow fans of “Community”…)
What’s so remarkable and fascinating about architecture, urban planning, landscape architecture and urban design is the way in which the built world so permanently enshrines so much complication: conflicting incentives, political ideologies, racial and class tensions, aspirational faith in technology. It’s why the Jacobs-versus-Moses dichotomy continues to resonate to this day, and it’s why regular critical interrogation of design and building practices — across all scales — is both fruitful and necessary.
Fortunately, there’s many intelligent people in the world acting on just such an impulse, questioning the power dynamics which we make permanent in physical form or else etch upon the land with little regard for the extant (parking lots and industrial agriculture, anyone?). Sometimes nature forces us to ask those questions, as in Queensland; sometimes the challenge comes from people, from society abandoning places whose functionality is now forgotten. Whatever the source, revisiting these structural entanglements forces us to confront a host of cultural and political assumptions, and offers an opportunity to create a better world.
(In unrelated news: this is really interesting.)