Ethan Kent interview: Placemaking as antidote to “top-down solutions.”


Given that so many of the New Albany governing clique’s stalwarts view the sexist, racist and anti-Semitic myth merchant Walt Disney as some sort of god, perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they keep patting citizens condescendingly on their heads, pointing the way to the water slide, and treating us like ignorant little children.

But you see, New Albany doesn’t need any more multi-million dollar monuments to make-believe. We need a reality check, and win or lose, this is what I aim to provide in my race for mayor. I’d appreciate your support.

For me, loveability begins increasing once the need to channel and control urban management for purely political funding reasons begins receding. It’s time to open this place up, not add further rings of hermetic security to the down-low bunker.

What Makes a City Great? It’s not the Liveability but the Loveability, by Irene Pedruelo (Policy Innovations)

There is a lack of consideration for “place” in American urban planning that Ethan Kent finds concerning. It offends him the way ugly typography offends graphic designers. He works as senior vice president of Project for Public Spaces (PPS) in New York, where they are trying to turn the way we shape cities upside down. Over its 40-year history PPS has focused on turning public spaces into great places. How? Just visit their offices in Manhattan. The entrance is like the jungle.

An example of the question-and-answer:

IRENE PEDRUELO: Then why are many trying to suppress this kind of urban planning?

ETHAN KENT: The culture of global development is very much trying to order and organize chaotic streets and communities, often undermining the emergent creativity of these places. It is not to glorify the problems but it’s to say that in some ways they are creating better public spaces, better community outcomes, than the more top-down solutions that are being introduced to solve their problems.