Read ‘The Three Rules,’ and tell the author what you think

To those who love our city, here’s your assignment:

First: Understand The Three Rules.

David Sucher loves cities. He hopes to foster what he calls “urban villages,” cities that are vibrantly urban but yet also in some way cozy and neighborly. Kinda like what many of us want in Fort Wayne.

His Three Rules are his attempt to help urban planners consider site plans as the key to urban vs. suburban:

If the problem is to create a walkable, pedestrian-oriented neighborhood, much of the answer is architectural. Actually, it is not so much “architectural” in the usual sense of the word, for it ignores style. Site plan trumps architecture.

The Three Rules, in brief, are:

  1. Build to the sidewalk (i.e., property line).
  2. Make the building front “permeable” (i.e., no blank walls).
  3. Prohibit parking lots in front of the building.

Second: Download and read Chapter 3 of “City Comforts.”

In this 11-page chapter of his book, he expands on the rules and gives examples, photos and sub-rules.

Download the chapter here (PDF).

If you love cities, you’ll find this chapter all too short. You’ll probably want to buy the whole book sometime, but for now, stay on topic.

Third: Tell the author he’s full of it.

Really. Sucher has the crazy idea in his head to expand the chapter on The Three Rules into an entire book. But he wants your advice:

Praise it if you like but I am even more interested in hearing the reasons why I am full of it, why the “Three Rules” is naive, incomplete, simple-minded and overall just plain wrong and/or misleading. Let me have it. Bring it on, in the words of our bumbling leader. Tell me in as much detail as you are able why I should drop this project immediately and not embarrass myself any further by my clueless rantings.

So be sure to leave some comments at his blog (feel free to jot them here, too) when you’re done reading his chapter.

The prizes

If he really, really likes your critique, he’ll give you a book. If you convince him that he’s out of his mind and he drops the project completely, he’ll buy you dinner at a restaurant of your choice — in Seattle, naturally.

Now, if you win dinner with Sucher, I’ll want to see the photos. And you’ll have to take a ride on the Bainbridge Island ferry for me. But in the meantime, read, consider, discuss and distribute his short chapter. I believe Sucher has a lot to say to Fort Wayne at this juncture in our urban history.

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