Monday, September 11, 2006

The fate of “big plans” in New York City …

   It is disconcerting, five years after the attacks of 2001, that there is still little work done on the memorial at what was New York’s World Trade Center.  The story of bickering and delays is evidence of the inherent problems in making decisions through a variety of “stakeholders.”  It is also evidence of Americans’ propensity for aggrandizement and megalomania; there appears to be a feeling that unless we build a colossally complex memorial, we would not honor the victims sufficiently.  Although the city recently announced decisions to scale back some of the more expensive ideas for underground galleries amongst the acres of waterfalls and trees, there is still disagreement over some features, including the question of whether to display of names of the victims randomly or group them by affiliation.

    Meanwhile, the effort to change building codes for skyscrapers is proving to be equally difficult, as real estate interests are battling each potential amendment, such as requiring more and greater reinforcement of stairwells.  It seems that nearly every “big plan” spurred by Sept. 11, 2001, including the designs for office tower rebuilding, is leading to disappointment.

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