Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"Bishop Boulevard growth fine as it is"

There was a great letter in the April 3 edition of the Daily News from Larry Hodge, a former member of the Latah Economic Development Council:
Friday's headline said 'Students protest city's 'architorture' " (Page 1A, March 28).

Students from professor Ayad Rahmani's WSU architecture class were protesting development of Bishop Boulevard.

Reading the article, one would believe that in the past, downtowns such as Pullman and Moscow were developed out of a very well-planned sense of cohesion, with only approved architecture being allowed. Nothing could be further from the truth. The only thing planned was the road system with lots and blocks laid out in a rectangular system where topography allowed. The buildings were constructed by developers using their own designs, building one here and one there, infilling until most of the lots were taken.

Bishop Boulevard is being developed just as it should be. One model for urban development does not fit all situations. Just like we need large houses, small houses, and houses with different architecture we need more than a downtown offers. Downtowns are wonderful and none of us wants to give up on ours, but other types of development in different areas should not be viewed with such disdain. The people of Pullman should be proud of buildings like the Pullman Regional Hospital, Brelsford's University Pointe office complex, and Zeppoz. They all add a unique perspective to an environment that was never meant to be downtown.

There are many different views of what is appropriate building design and lot layout and there is always room for improvement, but organizing a design review board as professor Rahmani suggests is not the answer. Having someone else tell me what color I should paint my house is not what America is about and I hope it never will be.

Larry J. Hodge, Moscow

1 comment:

April E. Coggins said...

It's ironic that the same people who complain about "cookie cutter" housing developments also complain about a lack of "cohesion" in retail development. I dunno but they seem like they are actually against any private development. I really think that they are against invidualism and free choice. A building is a large, very visible expression of individualism and they despise it.