Here on the south side

Three shorts from the wrong side of the “city of magnificent intentions”:

1. Richard Layman correctly calls a proposed National Harbor casino an “enclave development,” but perhaps that’s the point.

Singapore recently legalized casino gambling, in a bid to keep business travelers amused — and so sought to minimize its impact on local residents by placing the casinos only within integrated resorts, far from local transit, and even requiring a passport check at the casino door (locals can enter for a $75 fee). That way, the city gets the tax revenue without having to deal with the external costs of residents’ gambling addictions.

The closest analogue to that situation in this area, or indeed in most any American city, would be… National Harbor. (The Maryland-waters casino boat at the pier in Chesapeake Beach, Virginia was a similarly inspired way of internalizing the benefits and externalizing the costs, but I doubt Virginia would be quite so happy with it.) I also don’t think that gambling will be all that sustainable a revenue stream, but I’d be hard pressed to find a more appropriately hidden-in-plain-sight site.

2. None other than Leon Krier, the eminence grise of classicism, weighed in on my (extended) neighborhood thusly [in Metropolis, curiously]:

“The post-war redevelopment of the Southwest D.C. neighborhood, beyond the human tragedy of wholesale clearing an entire urban community, replaced L’Enfant’s urban armature and network of streets and squares with a soulless nowhere. The gruesome operation was a crucible for imposing on Washington, D.C. the modernist vision so detested by Eisenhower, abhorred by the users and occasional visitors and avoided and ignored by those who have no obligatory business there… In my opinion [Gehry’s] expressionist design formulae would yet effect a welcome respite from the debilitating boredom of the area.”

He fondly mentions Francisco Ruiz’s counter-proposal, whose best feature by far is a statue astride the Maryland Avenue axis, entitled “The Republic Exhorts the Congress to Conscience.” I’ve thought about doing the same myself some days, but what’s the best costume?

3. I actually sorta relate to Mittens’ recent befuddling utterance that “trees are the right height” in Michigan. I grew up amidst trees, albeit too often trees marked for destruction, and after too many years at the edge of the prairie began to miss to trees. That’s one big reason why I moved back east.

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