A good way to start the week | Bleader

Monday, September 21, 2009

A good way to start the week

Posted By on 09.21.09 at 01:39 PM

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Lee Sandlin's site has been updated (h/t Nina) with a preview of his forthcoming book, as well as his 1984 Reader cover story "The Road to Nowhere," about the ontology of the American freeway system (I was moved to find out that, like myself, he had an obsession with maps; during "quiet reading time" in my alternative elementary school, I would occasionally pore over road atlases while my friends were reading actual books). As per usual, print it out and give it a couple reads:

"The distressing thing about all this is its claim to scientific objectivity. I don’t think it’s inherently racist. There’s just such satisfaction in the idea of using traffic patterns to remake a city. It’s like carving a statue with streams of water. Sheer poetry. Freeways have such a strong current that one just naturally thinks of using them, and then one sits around and tries to come up with objective reasons why they’re good. That the charts and the equations were dictated by the need to pander to suburban racism — well, an artist has to use the materials at hand. Nor can one blame the politicians. They saw their cities disintegrating and had no idea what to do. The suburban ideal was too powerful. Soon whole corporations, plants, office complexes were getting drawn out to the suburbs; the urban grids were breaking up like ice floes in the warm currents of the freeways."

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