Originally Posted by zoetmb
Europe actually has very strong historical preservation laws as well as very strong zoning laws that GREATLY restrict what people can do with private property. And as a result, most city cores in Europe are still quite beautiful and lack the chain stores, garish primary-colored plastic signs, and cheap awful modern architecture. Have you been to Paris? With very few exceptions, you cannot tear down anything in Paris proper, especially buildings constructed during the Haussmann period (1852-1870) or before, which is almost every building.
Most of America now looks like New Jersey - filled with strip malls, big box stores and gas stations. You know that store that Apple just opened in Covent Gardens in London? Well...they had to preserve the original architecture. I realize in this case we're talking about a private home, but Europe also has very restrictive laws in this regard. You cannot tear down an historic house and put up some McMansion just because you feel like it.
The reason why it happens in the U.S. is because we've become so dumbed down, we know nothing about history and architecture. Because we know nothing about it, we don't care about it. We only care about money and we think having money gives someone the right to do whatever they want. I completely disagree with the notion that those with the most money get to decide how the entire country is going to look, because their decisions are based only on how much return they can get on their investment dollar or on their incredibly poor uneducated taste.
The article doesn't state how much the couple was willing to pay towards moving the house to another location, but if it was anything reasonable, Jobs should have worked with them. For someone who is supposedly so attuned to design, if there is any merit to the architecture of that house, Jobs should have done everything he can to support such a move. It's not like he can't afford it. I don't know why he bothered to buy the house in the first place if he wanted to tear it down. Is the location that great?
Just so there is no misunderstanding. I am in no way a fan of strip malling of America, or anywhere else. I have watched with much dismay while older neighborhoods were bulldozed to be replaced by some of the ugliest faux whatever you can imagine. I do like to find balance in my life, though. I can agree on some points with those that cling to property rights, but find the fact that people actually believe they own a piece of the earth, stream or tree to be mildly amusing. It reminds me of the old Samuel Clemens quote: "Buy land. They're not making it anymore!"
My point about BART was that much of what they faced in building it had to do with people who didn't want BART doing everything they could to stop it. The funny thing is, I would bet that many of those same folks and their extended families wouldn't know what to do without it now.
I also had the misfortune of having dealt with those that feel that it is OK to kill dozens of trees, that don't even sit on their property, by topping them off - just so their view of Lake Tahoe was "cleaner". When confronted, he just started writing checks until those that challenged him went away. No one took him to court - he was only fined. I will suggest that the trees he killed were far older than he was and would take just as long, or longer, to grow back.
But I have also seen how Mission Delores has become a wreck now, I assume due to lack of funding, when it once inspired people of all ages to the rich history of California. Conversely, I have often wondered, while traveling, what this town or that hamlet must have looked like before being completed destroyed during WWII, then rebuilt. And to whose standards or designs?
The travesty here, to me at least, is that the Jackling house has become a weird lightening rod for some very bizarre opinions, mine included. But there are plenty of people around who would love it to this day if they could tear down the Coliseum in Rome and build a new hotel, complete with a "Coliseum Adventure" ride, Day Spa and Casino.
It's what we as individuals, a people, a culture or a nation do about the issues that divide us that will determine who, and what, we are. The way things are now, it is often those that shout the loudest, or grab the spotlight, that get their way.