Dynamist Blog

Continuity and Change

How do you balance a continuing sense of place--something people value highly--with experimentation, adaptation, and personal expression--also important values? As I discuss in chapter five of The Substance of Style (excerpted here), that's one of the hardest challenges for anyone concerned with the built environment, whether homeowners, city planners, community associations, architects, or developers.

In my latest contribution to D Magazine, I examine how an extraordinarily successful Dallas mall, NorthPark Center, has managed to find the sweet spot for more than 40 years. Its neighborhood has gone from rural to suburban to urban. Retailers have come and gone, as have styles. Yet NorthPark has stayed NorthPark, without major redesigns. The key, as I suggest in TSOS, is figuring out what features constitute the timeless background and which need to be flexible.

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