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KunstlerCast #43: Missing Teeth in the Urban Fabric

Empty Spaces in the Streetscape

Released: Dec. 18, 2008


James Howard Kunstler explains the negative effects that empty building lots have on the urban streetscape. These empty spaces or “missing teeth” are dead zones that are repellent to pedestrians. But, at the moment, our car crazy society prefers to keep those dead zones for surface parking rather than to infill them with good urban buildings. During the second half of the program Kunstler speaks face-to-face with Troy, N.Y. Mayor Harry Tutunjian about what to do with the empty space that will be left behind after the city demolishes its current City Hall. Plans for the soon-to-be empty lot include an underground parking garage with grass on top. The mayor says that the lawn will allow access to the Hudson River and provide scenic views of the river from Broadway. Kunstler argues that the building lot should be completely occupied by a good urban building, like a new city hall.

Direct Download:
KunstlerCast_43.mp3

( 35 MB | 38 mins.)

Note: Use Google Street View to view City Hall and Monument Square in Troy NY. Use the cursor to examine this outdoor public room:


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Promo music featured in this episode courtesy of IODA Promonet:

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“Freibad” (mp3)
from “Ferndorf”
(Fat Cat Records)

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More info about the KunstlerCast theme music

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About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency and the four-book series of World Made By Hand novels, set in a post economic crash American future. His most recent book is Living in the Long Emergency; Global Crisis, the Failure of the Futurists, and the Early Adapters Who Are Showing Us the Way Forward. Jim lives on a homestead in Washington County, New. York, where he tends his garden and communes with his chickens.

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