lindsay’s vision


Lindsay’s planning apparatus had tried to respond to Jacobs’s criticisms of second-wave metropolitanism, but the mayor’s technocratic idealism was ultimately quashed by communities that had, by nature of living with the consequences of Moses’s projects, become resistant to the very idea of urban planning. The promise of John Lindsay went unfulfilled, and his departure from City Hall sounded the death knell of large-scale planning. Nevertheless, that promise lives on, however buried under the patina of late-’70s urban decay, the vulgar commercial projects erected en masse in the ’80s and ’90s, and the more recent vogue for speculative luxury condos and gaudy renovations of older tenements and townhouses. In examining a few of the projects built under the Lindsay administration, it is possible to discern the traces of other, unrealized proposals, the palimpsest of a master plan, and the enduring impact of a partially realized metropolitan vision—elements of which might well be resurrected to address our own needs.

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