A personal favorite of mine, the 1962 former Bob Kaminsky house in midtown Savannah, designed by Carl Helfrich. Photos taken by one of my professors

"Don’t let people treat you like a cigarette, they only use you when they’re bored and step on you when they’re done. Be like drugs, let them die for you."


Frank Lloyd Wright (American, 1867-1959)

Rose Pauson House, Phoenix, Arizona, 1939-1941

The Rose Pauson House is one of many tragic losses in Frank Lloyd Wright’s career. Despite taking nearly 3 years to design and build, the house lasted only 1 year. It burned in a catastrophic fire in 1943.

After the fire, the stone ruins persisted on the prominent Phoenix hillsite for over 30 years. Covered in tags, the area was called “Ship Rock.” The ultimate desecration of the site occurred when the ruins were moved to a nearby housing development to become the entrance sign for “Alta Vista Estates” (bottom photo).


"Paving decisions" in Atlanta

The top image is taken from a 1909 aerial map of Atlanta, at the intersection of Trinity Avenue and Forsyth Street. It’s typical of the compact land use of pre-automobile cities. The bottom photo shows what we have in that spot today.

I shaded in blue what is pretty much the only set of structures left intact after the surroundings were obliterated by the desire to build parking lots. 

How did this happen? The answer comes via a quote posted by citymaus :

In their headlong search for modernity through mobility, American urbanites made a decision to destroy the living environments of nineteenth-century neighborhoods by converting their gathering places into traffic jams, their playgrounds into motorways, and their shopping places into elongated parking lots. These paving decisions effectively made obsolete many of urban America’s older neighborhoods.

What isn’t answered in the quote is this question: why does this urban decay linger? What is preventing us from turning this transit-connected space (that’s a MARTA station on the lower right) with gridded streets into something more valuable, efficient, and uplifting for the city? 

Downtown residents have been wondering for many years, but there are no simple answers and very little initiative seems to exist in city government to find a solution. This, despite the millions of dollars that were spent to build the rail station and the great potential for revenue from transit-connected development.

Quote source: “Transforming the Use of Urban Space – Look at the Revolution in Street Pavements, 1880-1924” Journal of Urban History, 5(3)