Tacoma Urbanist

Apr. 1, 2008 at 12:09am

Kunstler Tickets For 4/23 On Sale and Going Fast


As many know, renowned author and urban critic James Kunstler is coming to Tacoma on April 23, 2008 at Theater on the Square at 7:00 p.m.

Kunstler may be the only TED presenter to ever come to Tacoma. Other presenters at TED have been Jane Goodall and Al Gore.  Given that he is being brought by a private group rather than a government agency or company, he will have free reign to give his candid assessment of Tacoma and hopefully some insight and advice.

Similar to Jane Jacobs, Kunstler is an independent thinker and a pragmatist and adopts neither a traditional liberal or conservative ideology.  If fact, he has plenty of criticism of both for much of the buildings erected in the United States after WWII.

Like Jacobs, Kunstler is an urban critic who looks to how things are and work in a city rather than how architects and planners wish they would in artist renditions. They both understood what gives cities life and what kills them.  (Jacobs referred to it as the "sacking of cities")

Few have understood how a meaningful civic space in a city is created more than Jacobs and Kunstler.  (BTW, it isn't through adding more disconnected meaningless crime prone "open spaces.")

(Note: Kunstler interviewed Jane Jacobs in Toronto, Canada on September 6, 2000.)

But I digress.

Today, I went to Tacoma's Broadway Center and bought a batch of tickets to James Kunstler's lecture on April 23rd in Theater on the Square.




Our friendly Broadway Center ticket seller.




10 authentic tickets to the Kunstler event.




These may be worth a good deal of money soon.




Theater on the Square.  The location of the Kunstler event. 

Fortunately,  this area of town has some redeeming architecture and design to it.  From my understanding, Kunstler has been to Tacoma before and knows the good, bad and problematic about the city.

Commentary:


With the building design of downtown and Tacoma's 17 mixed use centers currently under review, this is a time for Tacoma to hear from a fresh perspective.

Most troubling in Tacoma is not only that the city has constructed or allowed to be constructed so many blightful areas where few pedestrians dare to travel in the city and are lifeless, but that Tacoma has often been unable to differentiate successes from failures. 

Case in point: Tollefson Plaza has a dead zone nearly each and every day since it was finished and then bizarrely won a design award.

Blocks of Kunstler tickets have likely been bought up by local architects and the Exit 133 crew.  I have bought a few. There are only 302 seats for the entire City of Tacoma.  You may want to get your tickets now for the biggest urban event in a good many years.  The Broadway center ticket office is open from 11 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  They physically have the tickets in the office available now.

Trivia Contest For A Free Kunstler Ticket


Kevin Freitas has suggested that I have a Kunstler trivia contest at a certain time and date on Tacoma Urbanist with the prize being a ticket to the event.

That might be fun.  I will have to see how rare the tickets get by then.

More on Kunstler:

Kunstler: Is your city worth caring about?

Kunstler on Detrimental Open Space

Exit 133 on Kunstler

Kunstler's Famous speech at TED



comments [9]  |  posted under tacoma

Comments

by Erik on 4/1/2008 @ 12:17pm
Now the Tacoma Daily Index has an article on the Kunstler event:

James Howard Kunstler is the author of seven novels and countless articles and essays including The Geography of Nowhere and The Long Emergency. Geography earned much attention and praise, launching him into the spotlight as a commentator on America's hapless urban planning.

Mr. Kunstler has lectured extensively about urban design, energy issues and new economies for The TED Conference, Google, American Institute of Architects, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the International Council of Shopping Centers, The National Association of Science and Technology and other professional organizations as well as at numerous colleges and universities.

Mr. Kunstler describes his lectures as "stand-up comedy with some dark moments." His audience knows he is dependably acerbic, witty, well-read and exceedingly alert, drawing from a tremendous store of hard facts and idealism that ends on a good note: well-earned and reasoned hope.

Mr. Kunstler will tour Tacoma and be speaking specifically to the city within the larger framework of his life's work. After the lecture, he will sign books in the lobby.

Books will be available for sale from King's Books. For more information and tickets, contact the Broadway Center Box Office by phone at (253) 591-5894, visit in person at 9th & Broadway or any time online at broadwaycenter.org.


www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/li...

by NineInchNachos on 4/1/2008 @ 12:39pm
just bought 2 tickets... there was quite a line at the box office. I almost saw a couple fights break out.

by Erik on 4/1/2008 @ 1:03pm
just bought 2 tickets... there was quite a line at the box office. I almost saw a couple fights break out.

From the emails I am getting today, it looks as if the Tacoma architects are going to pick up a slew of them.

Kunstler has presented before the American Institute of Architects a number of times even though he has often been a critic of them.

Here's a speech he gave to the AIA in Orlando:

Suburbia has all the spread-outness of the country, but none of the rural amenities -- nature comes only in the form of the lawn, the juniper shrub in the bark-mulch bed, and the berm between the K-mart and the housing development. Suburbia is the country de-natured. Suburbia has all the congestion of the city and none of the social excitement, none of the cultural amenity. Suburbia has luxurious family rooms with wall-sized TVs and plenty of bathrooms per inhabitant. But the public space is impoverished -- nowhere for teenagers to hang out except the parking lot in front of the Dunkin Donuts.

It’s a raw deal for everybody. It makes people lonely and crazy, and then it makes them feel bad about that because it’s supposed to be the American Dream-- it’s supposed to make us happy, and if it doesn’t, well, there must be something wrong with us.

What was promised to be the American Dream has turned out to be the National Automobile Slum. The United Parking Lot of America, from sea to shining sea. The automobile suburb is an experiment that’s failed. We ought to simply declare this to be the new reality of the 21st century, and get on with the job of creating a human habitat that is worth caring about and worth living in.

You cannot overstate how important this task is, precisely because the quality that so many places in America share today is that they have become places that are not worth caring about. And sooner or later a country full of places that are not worth caring about will become a nation that is not worth defending.

...
www.kunstler.com/spch_FL_AIA.html


Ouch. I guess he unlikely to simply suggest Tacoma could improve itself by just having better flower hanging baskets downtown.

by jenyum on 4/1/2008 @ 4:19pm
Bought tickets. $42 with handling fee. Ouch. I don't normally spend that much money on something unless I can eat it, wear it, or put it in my gas tank.


by Erik on 4/1/2008 @ 4:21pm
Bought tickets. $42 with handling fee.

Cool. If Tacomamma goes to an event, one knows its going to be a success.

The tickets were $19 a piece with the "handling fee." $21 must have included tax.

I don't normally spend that much money on something unless I can eat it, wear it, or put it in my gas tank.

Looks like a good choice then. So you will have to cut down on your trips to Tukwila for a month. :)

by jenyum on 4/1/2008 @ 4:27pm
I bought them over the phone. I think the fees are higher. But it's spring break and I'm not dragging the kids down to broadway to get them.

No way, man, I love Tukwila.

by morgan on 4/1/2008 @ 7:55pm
The tickets were $19 a piece with the "handling fee." $21 must have included tax.

They should use BrownPaperTickets.com!

From the emails I am getting today, it looks as if the Tacoma architects are going to pick up a slew of them.

It's funny how there's only one or two architects in town that are willing to get their hands dirty fighting the good fight. Where was the slew when we needed them?!

by Erik on 4/1/2008 @ 8:24pm
It's funny how there's only one or two architects in town that are willing to get their hands dirty fighting the good fight. Where was the slew when we needed them?!

I hear the AIA is going to weigh in on the design review issue that Tacoma is considering.

by Erik on 4/2/2008 @ 8:10pm
Looks like councilmember Tim Farrell has bought some a/some tickets for the Kunstler.

Perhaps I should buy another block of them.