Talking Head on Perfect City

DavidByrneIn yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, there was a piece by Talking Heads’ frontman (and visual artist) David Byrne on his vision of a perfect city.  I think that he has an interesting perspective.

Most significantly, at least in my mind, he notes that a “liveable city” means different things for different people.  It’s all about your priorities: access to freeways or access to wi-fi.

His evaluation system uses the following categories: size, density, sensibility and attitude, security, chaos and danger, human scale, parking, boulevards, mixed-use, and public spaces.  I don’t agree with everything he says, I certainly value parking more than he does, but he definitely raises some interesting ideas.

One of his thoughts was extremely appealing to me, “In my perfect city there would always be something going on nearby.”  However, I’ll admit, from 1977 to 1987, one of my priorities was the Talking Heads.


  1. Bright Spencer said:

    One of the most memorable concerts I have ever seen was the talking heads at Ravinia, an outdoor venue. I am still trying to figure out how DB plays guitar while bending backward to the point of his
    spine being parallel to the floor. Strings? Perhaps.

    I have to agree that size and density are hugely important, but if you have one bad neighbor, no matter where you are, quality of life can go downhill quite quickly.

    September 12, 2009
  2. Jerry Bilek said:

    I like David Byrne’s vision of the perfect city.

    Seeing cities from on top of a bike is both pleasurable and instructive. On a bike one sees a lot more than from a freeway, and often it’s just as fast as car traffic in many towns.

    how true. especially in a suit with enormous shoulders.

    September 12, 2009
  3. David Koenig said:

    I met David Byrne and the rest of the band when I was in college. About two hours after a concert, we took a chance and went in to the back of the stadium in which they had played and he stopped, briefly, to talk. The rest of the band came over to our car and chatted for a while longer. Great show…nice people!

    September 12, 2009
  4. David Koenig said:

    Oh, and Jerry, it was the big suit concert! Burning down the house!

    September 12, 2009
  5. Patrick Enders said:

    I say: I wouldn’t live there if you paid me.

    September 13, 2009

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