Friday, February 29, 2008

Don Carter Has The Right Idea

“Our goal,” Urban Design Associates tells its customers, “is to create beautiful places with lasting value for the communities they serve.” (Pop City Media, Abby Mendelson)

Don Carter of Urban Design Associates has been representing the Pittsburgh Penguins organization in its dealings with City Planning and the various city authorities. (See 12/12/06)

Since the Pittsburgh Comet has been so concerned about the fate of the Hill District, we had better investigate this article with great interest.

Don Carter, a gentle, gifted man, has helped guide UDA for more than 30 years, from its early days in Oakland to its present space, a 31st Floor aerie atop Downtown’s Gulf Tower. Raised in East Liberty, graduated from Peabody High School and Carnegie Mellon.

Dr. Kimberly Ellis AKA Dr. Goddess has actually been on record with the Comet suggesting that Don Carter is a good guy.


After more schmaltz...

What about this place, this city called Pittsburgh? We’re making it green, wiring it for everything. How can we make it better? How can we build the 21st-century city? Carter makes eight points:

Walking. “Don’t throw away the lessons of the past,” he says, re-stating the UDA credo. “Mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly cities, like Pittsburgh, are part of the great American tradition. The American grid meant walking to work, school, and shopping. People had to live that way, and it’s still the best model. Vibrancy can only happen with people in gathering places. People gravitate to cosmopolitan life, to a sense of place.”


Mixed use. Pedestrian-friendly. The American grid! Do we need to draw a map?


His eighth and final point:

“My fear is that we are not going to be bold enough at a time which requires extraordinary vision and commitment to change,” Carter wrote at the end of 1997. “There must be a central metaphor, an exciting concept, which will capture the minds of all the citizen of the region, as well as the attention of the world.”

Big finish.....

“I believe the key to Pittsburgh’s economic future is in recognizing the treasure trove we have in our built and natural environment,” he says. “The quality of life in the neighborhoods will attract the knowledge workers and entrepreneurs we need to drive the economy. People crave authenticity – and authenticity is in the very bones and genes of this town and its people.”

Right on, Mr. Carter. Let's get down to the table and make it happen at the very heart of the matter.

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