Someone's doing dumb stuff with Smart cars in the Bay Area. A report says Los Angeles is beyond help. And did architect Thom Mayne's new building damage a school's legacy and the neighborhood it calls home? It's all this week in What's Ruining Our Cities.
Little cars have always been the butt of jokes, getting picked up and moved in funny commercials or fraternity pranks. But it's not as funny when it looks like it's part of a targeted campaign. Last weekend, vandals went on a rampage, flipping three Smart cars in three different neighborhoods within a 24-hour span, reports Jalopnik: "They were found either totally flipped or asses on the ground, head poking towards the sky." What could you possibly be speaking out against by messing with a Smart car? Do you want fewer parking options? [Jalopnik]
A few months ago, a group of former elected leaders named the 2020 Commission presented a gloom-and-doom forecast for L.A., describing it as basically a third world city plunging ever-downward into swift decline. Now, they've released their recommendations for improving this lost-cause city which include vague, bureaucracy-layering moves like adding departments, forming commissions, and—this one is pure gold—creating an Office of Transparency. Even worse, this article attempts to lump in the Tonight Show moving to New York City as one of the latest in a "series of blows that have challenged its self-esteem and even its long-term stability." [New York Times]
Architects get blamed for plenty of stuff—melting cars, shoddy materials—but can they be blamed for the downfall of a neighborhood? A group of New York City architecture critics took to Twitter earlier this week to accuse architect Thom Mayne of creating a "crisis" for the Cooper Union, where he designed a pricey, controversial building for the school, which is suffering a financial crisis and will no longer offer free tuition to its students. Michael Kimmelman lamented the "blight" of new architecture in the school's Astor Place neighborhood and even suggested that Mayne take over as the school's new dean to fix the problems he helped create. [@kimmelman]