Beauty in Your City

“There is no excuse to build anything that does not add beauty to the City.” -Mayor Joe Riley.

Last night Mayor Riley addressed the attendees of the Congress of the New Urbanism and shared this simple yet powerful statement. Mayor Riley shared his experience as Mayor for over 40 years for the City of Charleston, South Carolina. Tonight, he pulled back the curtain and shared how as Mayor, he was also the chief architect for the City.

For urbanists and planners, Mayor Riley reminded us that “Mayors are the chief architects of their cities.” They are the ones that can demand more because they not only represent the now, they represent the future for their city. Strong mayors like Riley can work the political system to elevate the voice of the community above the squeaky wheels.

Like every great mayor, Mayor Riley boiled down his planning philosophy into a simple and pointed statement: “The first goal of City Building is not to make stupid mistakes.” Mayors have the responsibility to protect their city from stupid mistakes. Unlike any other profession, the results of planning and architecture may take years to see the final results.

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“There is no excuse to build anything that does not add beauty to the City.” – Mayor Riley

I really want to stress Mayor Riley’s statement that there is no excuse to build anything that does not add beauty to the City. This is not any easy statement and is loaded with subjective opinion. Mayor Riley is passionate about his city and woke up everyday seeking opportunities to make the city better. He carried the basic principles of traditional urbanism and promoted the emulation of the traditional architecture of his city.

As you walk down your own community streets or as you work on projects in you community, remained yourself that there is no excuse to build anything that does not add beauty to your city.

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