Monday, March 27, 2006

NASCAR Urbanism . . .

As friends of mine have testified in their design research, NASCAR events are great, hulking, boisterous, and temporal events of intense, bawdy, and dense urbanism. Within the pulsing confines of these masses of drinkin, bawlin', and racin' there are lessons to be learned. Tom Wolfe figured that out back in the 1960's with "The Last American Hero is Junior Johnson. Yes!"

These gatherings, that easily double or triple the duration, size of a typical Browns or Packers tailgating Sunday, are ripe for further study and intellectual exploitation. Like it or not, the energy and dynamism of American culture, commerce, and zeitgeist, are located in places like Bristol, Tennessee and Talladega, Alabama.

No Prada-wearing architects allowed.


Anonymous said...

Does "urbanism" simply equal "a lot of people in one place"? I guess we have a lot to learn from the shantytowns of Lagos, too. All you need is thousands of people, a lot of corrugated aluminum, and a few open sewers, and hey! You too can have your own "urbanist" development!

How do these NASCAR encampments deal with education? Employment? Medical care? Public safety? Transportation? Economic development? Oh, that's right: they don't, because they're not actual cities where people live and learn and work and die. And they have nothing to teach anyone about any of the most vital functions of a city. What this has to do with "urbanism" is beyond me, and your commentary sheds no light on how this might be so.

I've never seen this blog before, but with "analysis" like this NASCAR post, I don't feel like I've missed much.

Orgman said...

To quote Sanford Kwinter, urbanism is "the minimum sufficient conditions under which a territory becomes integrated into a remote economy."

In case you missed it, NASCAR is a rather significant economy. Remote or not.

Your definition of urban is a figment of 19th century Eurocentric thought. The ability for unrelated regimes to generate spatial organizations is the potential of a flattened global economy: a perhaps daunting potential, but only for its unfamiliarity.

The obsession with social concerns clouds any analytic judgment of the type. The reality of these hyperbolic phenomena is that they have a great deal to learn from if one is willing to look past the constructed red-state vs. blue-state identities that supposedly surround them.