Chuck Wolfe reports on corners as the central place of urban life. More so than public squares, he says, the corner is an elemental feature of travel between places:
At crossroads, whether paved and straight or dirt and ill-defined, destinations meet wheeled and other forms of transport, while natural systems meet reconstructed space. As modes of transportation coalesce, people watch and wait. Often, drainage, power and other utilities focus at such central points, above and below ground. Corners are places of safety and intimidation, homogeneity and contrast.
[U]urban corners may represent the best, most visible and pragmatic opportunity to reorient our cities, and become nothing short of the baseline—the building blocks—for reinvention of city neighborhoods in the new millennium.
This summer, I’ve (voluntarily) absconded from New York City to live in the woods a few hours north. While I’ve made the transition, it’s been a bit quiet around here. Everything is quite the opposite. It’s un-urban, for instance, and in fact, there is not a corner to be found for a few dozen miles in any direction. As a long-time urban dweller, even this temporary transition has been tranquil yet trying. I was told the city was here for me to use, yet here there is no city.
If corners are opportunities to unify design and land use, then it’s some other actor or agency that must be the decision-maker. But who? What is the baseline of unurbanism?