Excerpt from an article at The Atlantic Cities: http://www.theatlanticcities.com/housing/2012/03/what-mumbai-and-beijing-can-learn-new-york/1508/
There is the abject lesson of how not to accommodate a society’s population – the exhibit Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream at the Museum of Modern Art, where teams of architects, economists, and artists re-imagined five areas devastated by the 2008 housing crisis. The hotspots in New Jersey, Florida, Illinois, southern California and Oregon are all primarily suburban environments, though not as far-flung as the so-called zombie subdivisions miles from anywhere.
The ideas in the exhibit prompted much commentary about how realistic they were, from James Russell, Blair Kamin, Diana Lind, Bryan Bell and my colleague Sarah Goodyear. Members of the team that re-imagined a factory site in Cicero, Illinois, Jeanne Gang and Greg Lindsay, penned a New York Times op-ed calling for a fresh design and policy approach to housing for the 21st century. Curator Barry Bergdoll said the proposals were meant to be “provocations.”
By JEANNE GANG and GREG LINDSAY
Published: February 9, 2012
RECENT efforts to fix the housing market — including Thursday’s $26 billion settlement with five of the nation’s biggest banks — have focused purely on the financial aspects of the slump. A permanent solution, however, must go further than money to address issues that have been at the core of the crisis but have been wholly ignored: design and urban planning.
Too often during the bubble, banks and builders shunned thoughtful architecture and urban design in favor of cookie-cutter houses that could be easily repackaged as derivatives to be flipped, while architects snubbed housing to pursue more prestigious projects.
But better design is precisely what suburban America needs, particularly when it comes to rethinking the basic residential categories that define it, but can no longer accommodate the realities of domestic life. Designers and policy makers need to see the single-family house as a design dilemma whose elements — architecture, finance and residents’ desires — are inextricably linked.