Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Latest French Fashion

One tiny positive to flow from almost two weeks of rioting in Paris and across France is that maybe, just maybe, would-be city planners from America will pause for a second before simply assuming that Euro-style living is the best thing ever. Or to put it bluntly, would some front-load garages come in handy when the New Urbanist, pedestrian-friendly on-street parking is just a bull's-eye for a firebomb?

The occasional three-day trip to the French countryside is probably responsible for more bad ideas about zoning and land-use than all advanced degrees put together. The ugly images of the past few days should not be more persuasive than common sense, but they might puncture Euro trendiness among America's planner set all the same.

That might at least balance out the truly senseless violence that was met by an almost Katrina-esque response from French officials. Presumably Jacques Chirac had a reason for waiting 11 days to comment on the riots, but needing time to come up with great oratory surely was not among them. The situation seems ripe for some real leadership to bubble up from below the ossified political structure and point France back toward sanity.

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