“Phony Urbanism”

I love that Philadelphia is so bike- and pedestrian-friendly. Like many historic areas, its walkability adds to its value. Should not, then, preservationists be advocating for the increased accessibility of Dumbo and Vinegar Hill in Brooklyn? Andrew Dolkart, director of Columbia’s HP program, said in a NY Times article that replacing the weathered cobble stones with machine-cut ones is “phony urbanism.” But, as Laura Roumanos, an executive producer at a gallery in Dumbo, noted, the cobblestones have not been there forever, and people complained when they replaced gravel and stone. I think it is important to retain the character of the area and not simply introduce pavement, but isn’t advocating to maintain the cobblestones as they are the preservation of phony-urbanism itself?

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