Originally Posted by Ch.G, Ch.G
Maybe my opinion is misguided, but I feel as though Mayor Daley bears most of the burden for this: I get the impression that he's trying to pack in as many ooh and ahh projects during his reign as possible when these are things that shouldn't be rushed.
I agree with this... it's part of the "City that works" mentality. Daley wants to be known as a guy who gets things done, and that's a tradition here. Cut to the chase, you know?
Unfortunately, with every project constantly under fire from community groups, budgetary groups, riled-up Aldermen, newspapers, warring suburbs, etc., it's hard enough to even get a basic design accomplished. I can see why the Mayor would see design as a frivolity and getting anything built beyond the most basic as a heroic accomplishment.
Not that this is any excuse... there simply needs to be a higher level of commitment at the government level to design. And preferably action on a community basis to counter the negative forces and hopefully make the DPD's job a bit easier. The is essentially the role that the Grant Park organization fills (too much a yes-organization for Daley, in my opinion). The design community also has a role to play: When the "designed" projects are constantly going over budget, that leaves a bad taste in the government mouth. Daley is still taking the heat for the screw-ups at Millennium Park. Some of the budgetary issues could be addressed by closer scrutiny in the design offices (but man is this a pain in the arse).
It would be nice if a city-wide community group (CAFBA? Chicagoans Advocating For Better Architecture?) could put together some literature to demonstrate that projects with great-to-fantastic design result in fewer community objections. There are many examples of this - Chicago Spire, Trump Tower, W=A, etc. And the reasoning for this is perfectly obvious - it just needs to be spelled-out and there needs to be a body constantly pushing this message. I suppose that's the goal of CBP, while I've never been to a meeting...