connrrr I think people can tell when a building is contributing to the livability of a place.
They absolutely can, but at the same time this kind of perception can be weaponized against buildings, by broad campaigns that paint a building as outmoded or somehow inferior to what could come next. Which is eye-rollingly ridiculous, because often the very people suggesting a building is unsafe or outmoded have materially contributed to it reaching that state. But at the same time, we’ve been taught in media and popular culture that buildings of that particular age are ugly, useless, old-fashioned, and tacky, so of course they deserve to be replaced.
An example of this that always ticks me off is public housing in the States. I’m vastly simplifying, but the basic shape is something like this: in the 50’s or 60’s, legislation happens that leads to construction of public housing>> Extremely optimistic, or even utopian plans get drawn up (and keep in mind that a lot of US public housing was built with some amount of flawed reasoning– that’s a whole other subject)>> legislatures approve the plans but only 25% of the needed funding, usually starkly along party lines>> buildings get built, but corners are cut, both in cost and in design, so they’re even more flawed from day one>> the buildings age poorly, from both lack of budget for maintenance and from cut corners on materials and construction>> the same party that forced funding reduction begin howling that the buildings are ugly, unsafe (and often they are), and best of all, we could knock them down and replace them with new and non-public construction.
I agree on sustainability, but of course the capitalist drive to knock it down and replace it is huge, especially in a desirable location occupied by an older (but not too old!!) building. What I think is weirdest (but, you know, not actually weird, just capitalism capitalism-ing) is buildings being reduced to rubble that gets hauled to a landfill, with no attempt to recycle or reuse. Portland, OR, briefly required a certain amount of recycling to happen, before caving in to the developer lobby and reversing course.
Ugh, at some point I’m going to need to make a post about the now-being demolished Nagakin Capsule Tower, an absolute treasure that I have trouble even talking about without tearing up a little, but that is a perfect example of an irreplaceable thing that is now nearly lost.