“These Buildings Were Demolished for Soulless Surface Parking Spaces”. In reading this article, all I could visualize is the painful cycle of industrialization that has flourished and will continue for years to come.
One thing I noticed immediately upon reading is the lack of attention on what came before buildings or parking lots. Not only have buildings been razed to create space for parking, but before that nature had to be removed to make room for a building. This is the first step of the cycle, and one that should not be ignored. The removal of historical buildings and architecture is already a shame, but adding that on top is a whole other layer.
Land forever changes too. Something our author is acutely aware of is that in all likelihood these locations will go through further lifecycles. Buildings grown in the place of old parking lots to make space for more people, and other nearly locations destroyed to make parking spaces for said people.
The author has chosen to use a lot of cultural context when talking about these locations. In most if not all buildings on the list, he describes brief history and importance to each place. This context goes a long way for readers, many of whom are likely Milwaukee natives or residents. “The Brass Rail next door was home to a mob run jazz club where named musicians occasionally played, which nearly included John Coltrane.” This quote stuck out to me personally. My father was a lifelong jazz fan and musician and as a result quite a bit has rubbed off on me. While I have very little architectural connections to these buildings, I feel that preserving historic buildings is often needed. Hearing these details makes me care about the place much more than I otherwise would, especially considering I am a Milwaukee native and jazz enjoyer. I’m not sure the enthusiasm would be the same for someone who is reading this in another state or city.
Regardless, I think writer James McDowell has a simple and dynamic style to his article that helps get the point across quickly and effectively. Even if I did not have the context as mentioned above, I am sure this would be an interesting and educational read.