Comment 2932

By Rusty (registered) - website | Posted January 12, 2007 at 13:34:59

Good points. I think the crux of Irritable Bilbao Syndrome is that cities think that the advertisement is ALL they need. As has been said on your post and other posts here, there are (at least) 2 problems with this:

  1. If the advertisement is generic or crap. If the draw is just not a good enough experience (I mean come on Sheffield - a Center of Popular Music?) or if it has no ties to the town's history or expertise, and
  2. If there is nothing else to anchor the town's tourist industry and keep people in town.

I recall a friend of mine telling me the story of his first visit to Hamilton. He went to the theatre, walked around for a bit afterwards, realized there was nowhere to go and went home. Oh, and he got lost in the one-way streets and vowed never to return (he hasn't).

Jane Jacobs talks a lot about mixed use neighbourhoods in Death and Life.... She cites the example of Manhatten island, down by Wall Street and the ferry to Statton Island. 'There are not enough tourist draws' she complains, explaining that people have no reason to hang around and little excuse to ever come back once their ferry trip is over.

That's why we advocate mixed uses for all neighbourhoods - especially tourist areas like the downtown, as well as good street planning - good streetwalls so people will keep walking, traffic calming, etc. For a tourist area if you have lots of draws for people, and mixed uses so we have residents, tourists, visitors all mingling for different purposes - then we get vibrancy, what real life is all about - people living their lives, creating communities, being together.

There are no Big Fixes to creating this kind of successful city - it's all about the dispate elements working together (Jane Jacob's, 'chaos'). I'm not against big draws, we just need to understand that this is merely one element in a big puzzle. And if the other peices don't fit, you have one almightly white elephant on your hands.



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