Duany speech at Thurs. morning CNU plenary: Why Code?
For me, the highlight of CNU 20 so far was Andres Duany's speech at this morning's plenary session. Most of his speech was about the SmartCode, responding to libertarian objections. He said, in so many words: if we don't code, and if we don't consider aesthetics when we do, someone else will (usually a local aesthetic review committee or zoning board). He added that given the United States' century-long history of bureaucratic control over land use, the most likely alternative to coding is not the free market, but decisionmaking by bureaucratic discretion. By contrast, a clear code gives landowners the right to say to government, "You can't tell me what to do if I follow the law."
Duany also spoke about the usefulness of calibrating the Code to meet local concerns, suggesting that without such variation we will still get a "reasonably good place" but that flexibility is necessary to get a really great place. But how much flexbility is too much?
Then he spoke about the necessity of "code-free zones" that accommodate the preference of much of the public for sprawl. But how do we prevent the exceptions to a code from swallowing up the code itself?
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