^ The British are more accustomed to the urban condition.
We're just frontier hermits.
We see more of this kind of development in England, no? Are the NIMBYs there smarter, or just less influential?
^ The British are more accustomed to the urban condition.
We're just frontier hermits.
They're both side effects of an intent to seek selfish goals --and a simultaneous ignorance about how best to do that.
The mechanism in both cases is opposition to change as conveyed by the new. Their premiere hot-button issue to enlist allies in their luddite quest is building height.
The quality of new proposals is irrelevant; NIMBYs aren't capable of discerning it anyway; they're blinded by misconceptions and selfishness.
By Logan Ward and David Hanson
Our Top 10 Cottage Communities for 2007
Each year we look for neighborhoods we’d like to call home. Our 2007 favorites have charming cottages, a sense of community, and an eye on the future.
Now is a good time for great communities. Across the country, many older neighborhoods are enjoying comebacks—homes lovingly restored, crime driven out, young trees greening up streetscapes. And new communities are cropping up that improve quality of life through innovative design and clever solutions to familiar problems, such as long waits in commuter traffic and skyrocketing utility bills. Today’s architects, planners, preservationists, and developers are combining the best from the past with the bright ideas of tomorrow, all for the good of the people who call these neighborhoods home.
Last year, we celebrated 10 well-established cottage neighborhoods—places with inspiring architecture, porches, and gardens; walkable streets with parks and playgrounds; locally owned shops and restaurants; and an enveloping neighborliness. This year, we’ve broadened our criteria to include the most exciting and attractive communities, large and small, being built today. The trees may not be mature enough to offer much shade, and the residents may still be getting to know one another. But these examples offer winning alternatives to alienation, car-dependency, high energy costs, commercial sprawl, and soaring housing prices. The following neighborhoods bring cottage style to smart growth.
1. Forest Hills Gardens Queens, New York
This is the model cottage community, designed almost a century ago and emulated ever since.
welcome to Station Square, gateway to Olmsted’s
urban-planning masterpiece and a wonderful meeting
place that connects residents for work and play.
Location: Queens, New York; 20 minutes and four subway stops from Manhattan on the express line
Number of homes: 660 houses, 220 townhouses, and 11 apartment buildings with 631 units
What $300,000 will buy you: a one-bedroom apartment For more info: foresthillsrealestate.com
By Justin Martin
I live in new york city, a place known more for high-pitched change than a slow, neighborly pace. But my community, Forest Hills Gardens, feels magically removed from all the bustle. Stop at any random corner, look around, and the view is almost the same as it was nearly a century ago. Maybe that's why this original of cottage communities still inspires many newer developments that seek to replicate its simple yet timelessly effective design.
Forest Hills Gardens—not to be confused with nearby Forest Hills—is a small community (142 acres) laid out in 1910 by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., the premier landscape designer of his era. In the United States, Forest Hills Gardens is the granddaddy of what might be termed the planned, pedestrian-scale community. Its influence is visible everywhere, from Shaker Heights, Ohio (begun in 1912), to more recent developments, especially those of the popular New Urbanism movement.
"I wish I could get it as perfectly as Olmsted did," says Andrés Duany, a founder of New Urbanism. "He was the master, and I'd be happy to get even close to that level of design."
Olmsted's gift was that he was equal parts landscape architect and social engineer. When planning Forest Hills Gardens, he chose to curve the streets—not to avoid any particular impediment but simply to promote a feeling of calm. This was an innovation at the time. The effect slows traffic, both auto and pedestrian, to a more leisurely pace.
Olmsted was also partial to small parks. The larger a park, he believed, the higher the risk that visitors would move about behind a veil of urban anonymity. (Interesting, since his father was the visionary behind Manhattan's Central Park.) So rather than one big space, Forest Hills Gardens boasts four smaller parks. They are used abundantly, in all seasons, by residents of all ages. In fact, you can't really move through the neighborhood without passing by or through one of them, and since park space means social space, my wife always reminds me to factor in 20 minutes for chitchat.
Even the houses feature subtle touches meant to foster a sense of community. Many of the cottages are the work of Grosvenor Atterbury, an esteemed architect notable for designing the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A bit of a utopian, Atterbury built Forest Hills Gardens homes in the Arts and Crafts style. He elected to attach many houses to one another. Your home is not a castle, he seemed to be saying. You share your walls, your roof, your drainpipes with those around you.
But not all connect; that would be too predictable and, well, boring. Forest Hills Gardens includes a number of cottage clusters with small homes turned at angles to create informal common spaces. "Live here and you are simply going to know your neighbors," says Scott Marcus, an 18-year resident.
Like the houses, the neighbors tend not to look—or cook—the same. The 6,000 residents of Forest Hills Gardens are a diverse lot, hailing from all over the world. My twin 5-year-old sons attend kindergarten at the School in the Gardens, a first-rate public school. They've had the opportunity to try a variety of dishes, from Chinese and Greek to Moroccan, that their classmates bring on holidays.
To preserve the uniqueness of this neighborhood, Forest Hills Gardens has an active—obsessive, some would say—property owners' association. Without the group's blessing, you can't make modifications to the outside of your home. When my next-door neighbor wanted to repaint the trim on his house, he had to figure out the precise green that wouldn't clash with the rest of our row.
It may sound irritating, but this persnicketiness maintains the neighborhood in a classic and harmonious style. It's key to preserving the illusion that New York City is a million miles away.
Fortunately, that is just an illusion. In a matter of minutes, I can walk out of Forest Hills Gardens and into a dense, urban scape where I run errands or stroll off to Austin Street (Forest Hills' main shopping drag) for lunch. To get way into the city, I hop on the subway or a commuter train and emerge 20 minutes later in Midtown Manhattan.
All of these subtle elements—curved streets, mixed housing, small parks, diversity, and a connection to a larger urban environment—amount to an ideal neighborhood: the original cottage community. I grew up in a small town in Kansas, and I'm happy my children will have the luxury of a similar experience, only in a much larger city, during a much faster age.
Thankfully, the well-designed community is not a thing of the past. The remaining nine cottage communities featured on the links at left, build upon Olmsted's prototype while adopting new solutions to common development problems.
Copyright © 2007 Cottage Living
Intersting themes and phrases keep turning up in the articles about those "Top 10 Cottage Communities" communities that the authors describe as "neighborhoods we’d like to call home" :
(described in the title to this thread as "Utopia in Queens")
"To preserve the uniqueness of this neighborhood, Forest Hills Gardens has an active—obsessive, some would say—property owners' association. Without the group's blessing, you can't make modifications to the outside of your home. When my next-door neighbor wanted to repaint the trim on his house, he had to figure out the precise green that wouldn't clash with the rest of our row. "
The Bungalow Belt Chicago, Illinois :
(a National Register Historic District)
"Preservation of our historic neighborhood is a key element of Local Landmark designation. Being recognized as a Local Landmark District ensures a comprehensive community review process for changes to our neighborhood’s homes and buildings..."
Edenton Mill Village Edenton, North Carolina
(National Register of Historic Places)
"Before bulldozers could roll in, Preservation North Carolina (PNC) saved Mill Village,..."
High Point Seattle, Washington
"Now, thanks to visionary planning, along with input from hundreds of citizens, city leaders, and countless civic groups, the community has been knit back into the fabric of the city."
The incredibly strict "Design Guidelines" to this community are linked below (PDF).
Last edited by Fabrizio; July 2nd, 2007 at 03:15 PM.
^ You can probably make a better case for strict design guidelines in a place that already has a powerful character that everyone agrees is beautiful; it becomes a question of preventing sour notes (incidentally, there are a few of these at Forest Hills Gardens; they shouldn't have passed design review).
My beef is with zoning, which prevents the kind of fresh experimentation that Forest Hills displays, and with idiotic aesthetic regulations, which are ... well, idiotic. Both of thses hamper genuine creativity.
That said, I'm glad Forest Hills Gardens is so tightly controlled. Those rich ol' borderline Bolsheviks knew a thing or two about beauty as well as social engineering (Oh ... they thought they were inseperably intertwined.)
A Pocket of Queens Brimming With History, and Now Resentment
Terrence Kehoe believes his opposition to making Sunnyside Gardens a historic district led a neighbor to seek orders stopping work on his house.
By ELLEN BARRY
Published: July 5, 2007
From a spot in the middle of his backyard, in the leafy enclave of Sunnyside Gardens, Queens, Terrence Kehoe scans the houses around him. He does not know which one of his neighbors reported him to the Department of Buildings for an extension he added to his attic, but he thinks he knows why.
From the point of view of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the community of Sunnyside Gardens has crossed a threshold; on June 26, the commissioners voted unanimously to designate the 16-block neighborhood in western Queens as a historic district. The designation is now subject to review by the City Planning Department and a vote by the City Council.
But ill will lingers among residents.
Mr. Kehoe stood up at a public meeting last year to express his opposition to giving the neighborhood landmark status. That stance prompted a phone call, he believes, which led to a stop-work order on his house that has lasted for seven months. So for him, no, the issue has not been put to rest.
“People have long memories in this neighborhood,” said Mr. Kehoe, 50, who grew up in Sunnyside Gardens when its brick houses were “packed with Irish kids.” In all those years, he said, he has never seen this kind of division.
“They have a lot of social work to do in this neighborhood,” he said. “We have people who don’t talk to one another anymore.”
After months of debate, many people involved with Sunnyside Gardens’ landmark process — elected officials, residents and preservationists — say they are shocked at how vitriolic it became. It is hardly the first time the Landmarks Preservation Commission has run into resistance in Queens, whose politicians for many years bridled at the notion of ceding local control to a body from Manhattan.
Queens is changing, of course, and many residents are beginning to see overdevelopment as a graver threat than overreaching city bureaucrats. There are now 2,325 homes, buildings and other sites in Queens considered landmarks — a fraction of those in Manhattan and Brooklyn, which have 11,350 and 9,500, respectively, but far more than the 36 the borough had in 1993.
In this dispute, key elected officials like the borough president, Helen M. Marshall, and Councilman Eric N. Gioia came out in favor of designating the neighborhood as a historic district.
“It has taken a long time,” said Jeffrey Kroessler, president of the Queensborough Preservation League and a primary advocate of landmark status for Sunnyside Gardens, “but the political leaders in Queens have finally figured out that preservation is a mom-and-apple-pie issue. It’s not a conspiracy of elitists.”
In this case, it was homeowners who mobilized against the plan — and, in some cases, against one another. Mr. Gioia said he “felt like a marriage counselor at times,” prodding residents in private conversation to seek common ground. While the controversy simmered, he said, residents called in “countless complaints” of building violations.
“That was the lighting of the tinder,” he said. “I have to say, that was a very bad idea. It added to the contentiousness of the debate, if it did not create it.”
Sunnyside Gardens has a history of tortuous debate over preservation. In the 1920s, its designers, Clarence Stein, Henry Wright and Frederick Lee Ackerman, rejected many of the conventions of single-family homes. They banned driveways and garages and replaced individual yards with open courtyards running down the centers of blocks — an approach they thought would encourage neighbors to mingle and share space.
But when their rules expired 40 years later, yards appeared; so did fences, and swimming pools. Driveways began to multiply.
In 1974, the City Planning Commission designated the neighborhood a Special Planned Community Preservation District, making various changes, like driveways and new construction, illegal without a special permit. Still, the occasional homeowner went ahead and put down concrete, rousing the ire of local preservationists.
Given that history, any governmental body stepping into the preservation arena in Sunnyside Gardens, said Ira Greenberg, a neighborhood resident, would “have to tread lightly.”
“Get two people together in this neighborhood, and you have three opinions about preserving it,” said Mr. Greenberg, a lawyer who opposed landmark designation. “When Landmarks came in, they had to know that.”
Though much may have changed in Queens over the years, he added, some of the old cultural factors came into play.
“Why does someone live in Queens?” he said. For most of them, he said, “a house is a place to live in. It may look nice, but most of the houses in Queens are not glorious and extravagant. There’s a promise you feel you got, a promise that this was your property.”
Landmark proponents had worked for years to designate Sunnyside Gardens as a historic district, which would protect houses’ facades and shift the permit process to the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Not until last winter did an organized opposition emerge, with detractors arguing that the designation would shift power away from the community and make maintenance more expensive. Many argued that the existing controls were sufficient. Others questioned the motives of landmark proponents, calling the effort elitist and hostile to immigrants.
At that point, Councilman Gioia said, “I was taken aback by how intense the opposition was.”
Mr. Gioia said last week, shortly before the vote by the preservation commission, that his own canvassing had led him to the conclude that most residents supported landmark status for the neighborhood. A fact sheet provided by the preservation commission said a “vast majority” favored the move, with opposition confined to a “small, vocal minority”; it noted that at an April hearing, 67 residents testified in favor of landmark status and 25 opposed it.
Irma Rodriguez, one of the original supporters of the landmark effort, rejects the idea that the process has left real scars.
“There are a few fences to mend,” said Ms. Rodriguez, 58. “But I also think the so-called controversy was blown a little bit out of proportion.”
But opponents say the dispute has drawn lasting lines of demarcation in Sunnyside Gardens. The residents of Harrison Court, where Ms. Rodriguez lives, are 90 percent in favor, she said; Jefferson Court, across from Mr. Kehoe’s childhood home, is a hotbed of opposition.
On 45th Street, Mr. Greenberg said, someone called in building violations on everyone’s decks. Mr. Kehoe — who acknowledges that “landmarking might be a positive thing for the community” if the process had been more inclusive — says the stop-work order on his house has cost him heavily, forcing him to rent an apartment while his home sits empty.
As damaging as anything, Mr. Greenberg said, is the lingering feeling that opponents “were not heard and not listened to by the government.”
“Look, neighbors argue about a lot of things,” he said, “but we didn’t need the government to make it worse.”
Asked whether she was ready to move on, Tina Carillo, 68, who was sweeping her stoop on 47th Street the other afternoon, looked doubtful. She was chatting with three neighbors, all of them opponents of the landmark designation, and the conversation grew more and more vehement. At one point, she exclaimed, “What is this, communism?”
Then she had a thought, and brightened.
“Hopefully it won’t go through,” she said, “and we’ll all be friends again.”
Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company
From the NY Times article:That said, I'm glad Forest Hills Gardens is so tightly controlled. Those rich ol' borderline Bolsheviks knew a thing or two about beauty as well as social engineering (Oh ... they thought they were inseperably intertwined.)
"They have a lot of social work to do in this neighborhood,” he said. “We have people who don’t talk to one another anymore.”
So much for social engineering.
“Look, neighbors argue about a lot of things,” he said, “but we didn’t need the government to make it worse.”
"Asked whether she was ready to move on, Tina Carillo, 68, who was sweeping her stoop on 47th Street the other afternoon, looked doubtful. She was chatting with three neighbors, all of them opponents of the landmark designation, and the conversation grew more and more vehement. At one point, she exclaimed, “What is this, communism?”"
Funny you mentioned the Bolsheviks.
NOTE to Rap:
Now that Forrest Hills has gotten down-graded from "Utopia" to "Bolshevik Russia" perhaps we should change the name of this thread.
As far as Sunnyside goes:
"Mr. Gioia said last week, shortly before the vote by the preservation commission, that his own canvassing had led him to the conclude that most residents supported landmark status for the neighborhood. A fact sheet provided by the preservation commission said a “vast majority” favored the move, with opposition confined to a “small, vocal minority”; it noted that at an April hearing, 67 residents testified in favor of landmark status and 25 opposed it."
"Sunnyside Gardens has a history of tortuous debate over preservation."
ForestHills: For a refresher on what those commie neighborhood activists who take matters of taste and aesthetics far too seriously hath wrought, and fight to preserve:
Last edited by Fabrizio; July 8th, 2007 at 01:18 PM.
All Bolsheviks were Utopians. Their goal was the "withering away of the state" due to improvements in mankind wrought by the entirely temporary "dictatorship of the proletariat." This would exist for the shortest time possible to re-train human nature for radiant millenia of blissful communal life.
The theory sees anarchism as the only sensible goal of all political action; that is, the goal of politics is to eliminate the need for government. Here Lenin, Bakunin and Kropotkin close ranks with Jefferson, Paine, Rousseau and Ron Paul.
Once enlightened, the residents of Sunnyside will back off each others' throats and recognize their common goals and humanity. Unicorns will materialize to browse in their gardens. (And they will only eat weeds.)
Manhattan skyline from above Forest Hills. From SSC.
Lovely panorama, but Forest Hills needs a nice tinsel wraped Ariel-style tower to relieve the dull sameness and conformity.
You walk a few blocks in the OTHER direction and you have a downtown that was built in the 1970's just one block away from the Boulevard of Death, and if you walk further in the direction you were initially going, you find these squat looking brick duplexes that are but a stones throw away from a middle aged (and now forgoten by any employee who gives a crap) Home Depot.''You've got dense, populated areas if you're into apartment houses,'' said Kathleen Histon, district manager for Community Board 6 in Forest Hills. ''Then you can walk a block or two and you have these lovely streets filled with beautiful Tudors.''
Honestly though, the area is not bad, and some of the buildings in it are absolutely OUTSTANDING. But the way you have these gorgeous Tudors and other classics, and less than a half mile away you have absolute crap is just sad......
I'm glad this thread was revived. Wonderful photos, Ablarc.
Had a bit of a giggle at the sign in this one . Danger because of work...or men...or men doing work...the two combined...or...??? All in all, it doesn't look that dangerous here .