Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Quote of the Year

There is no really good area outside of what’s on campus.
- WSU architecture professor Ayad Rahmani passsing judgment on Pullman, "Architecture students protest on Bishop Boulevard," The Daily Evergreen, April 1, 2008

Rahmani hopes his imperious and insulting comments will "generate some intelligent discussion."

Each building is completely independent from one another


April E. Coggins said...

This is a sort of "one-two punch" that WSU profs have been delivering to Pullman for as long I can remember. On the one side, we have the anti-progress profs. On the other side we have the "Pullman is ugly and should do better" profs. Unfortunately, Pullman developers don't have the benefit of the state legislators purse strings. When Pullman builds a McDonalds, it will be built to look and function like an effective McDonalds. Pullman can't afford to build a McDonalds that looks like an opera house. And even if we could, would that be a wise use of resources?

Tom Forbes said...

Actually, I think they are one and the same. Professors aren't anti-progress, they're just anti-anything that has not been planned by some government committee, on which, of course, they would play a prominent role. Of course, since we live in a free society where property owners and developers are free to do as they please within certain constraints, that never happens. Thus they appear to be against everything.

These liberal fascists believe in a reactionary policy of micromanaging every aspect of society.

Gregg said...

I actually think the professor has a very good point. Pullman has incredible potential. Unfortunately, it also has had a lack of coherent standards/planning/architectural consistency. If there were a long-term plan (with leadership to communicate and implement), the city could be transformed into a very attractive place.

PS Just to be clear, I am a big supporter of allowing Wal-Mart to locate in Pullman...and I'm certainly right-of-center politically.

Tom Forbes said...

My exception to Rahmani's comments are his arrogant and condescending tone and his desire for government to get involved in the aesthetics process. As the architect commented on Dnews.com, what is pleasing to your eye may not be pleasing to mine. Take the Big Blue Heart at WSU for example. Art to some, garbage to others.

Look, I've been all over the U.S. and a fair amount of the world. Pullman is not a tourist destination like Sedona or Jackson Hole. 99% of U.S. cities and towns are not either. I'm not saying we couldn't stand some improvements (knocking down old buildings, more trees, removal of rusty scrap metal, etc. - all it takes is money) But like people, Pullman today represents the summary of its experience:

Agricultural Center: Functional and utilitarian wood, brick, cinderblock and metal buildings, often added on to in various decades as the town grew and as farming booms and busts occurred.

Higher Education Center: College towns, like military towns, have a large number of transient and impoverished young people. This means lots of apartments, cheap duplexes, fast food joints, check cashing outlets, dollar stores, watering holes, etc.

High Tech Manufacturing Center: The average of a worker at SEL is around 35. That means lots of young families. And that means a high demand for the despised "cookie cutter homes" that have sprouted up over the last decade in Pullman. And there still aren't enough (60% of SEL's workforce lives outside Pullman and when the road to Lewiston gets shut down, so does manufacturing at SEL to a certain extent.) That also means, as we are starting to see, big box stores and shopping malls.

Perfect? No. But what town is? I love Pullman anyway, warts and all.

April E. Coggins said...

Gregg, the past planning of Pullman has been mostly negative knee-jerk reactions to someone actually wanting to create something. The few that chose to endure the process were severely hampered by favoritist and politically correct over regulation. Pullman's planning, or lack there of, is a direct reflection of the NIMBYist attitude that has permeated Pullman for far too long.