“Modern Codes and Zoning Could Save This Town”

15 thoughts on ““Modern Codes and Zoning Could Save This Town””

  1. You had me on this on for a bit…I live in Fairhaven, which we love but also love making road trips to Ptown or all the other awesome cities and towns around here that are just desirable to walk around in.

  2. Now now. I get and agree with some of your sarcasm, but look at those buildings — cheaply constructed 19th century frames — except for the fact it is near Boston and on a beach, it could be any depressing place in upstate NY (except the shake siding would be something more durable and less quaint. money/location makes many New England towns desirable, not the architecture; heck, Waterloo, NY, has better Architecture, and the two towns on either side have even better — yet they are nowhere near an ocean.

    I prefer Cape May.

    1. I love Cape May too. But honestly, even though the buildings are grander and more detailed the town has been “New Jerseyed” to an unfortunate degree. Aside from the intrusion of many tacky mid twentieth century motels and associated parking lots, check out Beach Ave. around the Convention Hall. The concrete barrier wall between the Victorian mansions/motels and the beach is a NJDOT attempt to make the street safer by keeping pedestrians out of the road. All it really does is force folks to hop over the concrete while making miles of the town/ocean interface ugly. Containing the cars never occurred to anyone at the DOT.

      I also love many of the small towns in upstate New York. My point isn’t so much about architecture (yes, the P’Town buildings are cheap wood frame buildings – nothing special) but the way the buildings relate to each other and form a vibrant public realm. Good urbanism isn’t only about the buildings. It’s actually about the quality of the spaces between them.

      1. Hey, I agree with your last point and with you generally. I just like to dig a little deeper generally whether I hit solid rock or a cave filled with treasure.

        We have a lot in common, I suspect; I love my street car suburb and I tend to want to move to every Chautauqua-type town I visit. (Blog post idea?)

        My point is generally what I learned in art college: it’s not what you do, it’s how you do it. The technological determinism that developed my streetcar suburb was more the automobile than the omnibus; we have narrow driveways and cute garages built the same day as the residences. I have seen modern trends a la Texas/Atlanta done well as well as done poorly, and that goes for pre-twentieth century towns too (I have no idea why. Cape cod hasn’t burned down; I’ve visited towns across the country from Virginia City to Hopewell, VA that did, and it generally resulted in improvements (at the very least more masonry. Being from those latitudes, I tend to prefer even some of the better fake masonry than all that wood siding, which is great if you are a house painter, or an HVAC salesman.

        It is also true that in an expensive town, little houses certainly do not tend to bring troublemakers (indeed, it allows young people to live and work there); but sometimes people do need to protect their investments — I’ve seen property values tumble sometimes, and it always seems to happen to middle class homeowners.

        Speaking of blog ideas, have you ever researched Richmond, VA? One of the things I immediately loved about the Fan (supposedly the USA’s largest contiguous Victorian neighborhood) was that many of Richmond’s neighborhood’s blocks are bisected or quadresected by alleyways that relieve much of the stresses of density. Richmond also has a great diversity of cool neighborhood’s, as well as some standouts among suburban developments/planned communities that really work, like Brandermill, which was voted best in the country in 1977, I think. I also heard that one of the planned communities in the West End of Richmond holds historic significance, and no one looks at the place as a Levittown, but rather a locale to envy.

  3. Please tell us you just forgot the “/s” at the end of the post. It’s been 50 years since l was in P’town. Except for the overcrowding , tacky new construction and excess of parking lots it still looks great. The song went “Quaint LITTLE villages, here and there”. Looks like that’s at risk.

    1. Welcome to the other “Bay Area.” I’m a CA native, living in Cambridge (SF East). Glad to have you on this coast.

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