Today’s News - Tuesday, September 5, 2017

For swaths of Texas and Louisiana, the last lazy, hazy days of summer have been anything but. The blame game and finger pointing seemed to start before Harvey's rains had stopped. We sifted through dozens of articles and selected a few that offer thoughtful, sometimes contradictory, commentary on the post-Harvey state of affairs. (Today's News does end with few non-Harvey bright notes, including the Gehry/Krens Extreme Model Railroad and Contemporary Architecture Museum.)

●  The AIA has a Hurricane Harvey website with updates from AIA's Disaster Assistance Program as many members affected by Harvey have begun the initial stages of recovery.

●  The Texas architectural community takes stock of the hurricane's impact on cultural projects that are historic, new, or still under construction (the now-soggy Architecture Center Houston was just about ready for its close-up).

●  Disaster expert Kelman explains why "Houston's poor urban planning, not climate change, is to blame for the catastrophic flooding."

●  Coy and Flavelle join the "bad city planning" bandwagon: Houston is a "can-do city whose attitude is grow first, ask questions later. Attitude is partly to blame."

●  Bogost says "the combination of climate change and aggressive development made an event like Harvey almost inevitable" - but "there's reason for optimism."

●  Grabar, on the other hand, explains why we really can't "blame Houston's lax zoning for Harvey's destruction. Cities with stringent zoning would have been just as vulnerable. What makes Houston different is that the 100-year floods are happening every year."

●  Peters proffers that "the area needs a better approach to land use planning and green infrastructure - and an acknowledgement that the water is coming, no matter what efforts Houston undertakes."

●  Budds talks to architects and sustainability experts, who "speak out against Trump's executive order that could "make infrastructure weaker, not stronger" - his "blind 'need for speed' policy robs tomorrow for today" (and "architects are the first line of defense").

●  P+W's Penndorf explains why "events like Harvey are the true definition of climate change" that "will change the flood maps for large parts of the country and may (hopefully) change zoning and building codes."

●  Hume sees Harvey as a warning for Toronto: "city officials believe climate change measures can always be put off for another day. Toronto's unspoken policy remains the same as always - it won't happen here. If only."

In other, not waterlogged, news:

●  Bliss, on a brighter note, talks to Douglass, Tulsa's Chief Resilience Officer, who "defines the murky term in her own words," and her "multi-pronged resilience strategy for the Oklahoma metro, zeroing in equity gaps."

●  On a greener note, Washington, D.C. is named the world's first LEED Platinum city, and has the Climate Ready DC plan "to adapt to and prepare for the effects of climate change."

●  Four companies are selected to build Trump's border wall prototypes "based on their aesthetics, impenetrability, resistance to tampering, scaling and anti-breach properties" (oh joy).

●  Diaz Montemayor sees "a better vision for the US-Mexico border: Make the Rio Grande grand again - building a wall is a dubious goal."

●  Now we know what the next Gehry/Krens adventure is! The Extreme Model Railroad and Contemporary Architecture Museum (though Gehry "confessed to not being a train enthusiast").

●  Voien considers "what should be done with America's abandoned malls - they leave behind decaying real estate that must be repurposed, reimagined or, sometimes, simply put down."

●  Petrunia (who leads with "every city needs a crank") has a great Q&A with Saffron re: meeting Henry Wilcots, architecture criticism pre- and post-internet, Philadelphia, and more (Inga a crank? Never!).

●  The Carbuncle Cup 2017 shortlist of six "demonstrates that buildings don't have to be big to be bad" (winner announced tomorrow!).

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