Imagine in today's
high-recession economically challenged world, waking up in the morning, getting down the elevator, opening the door, and suddenly, the most fabulous Batmovile Audi TT is sitting there with your name on the plate, and keys on the ignition. It is also a super secret version that runs completely on some sort of renewable energy; so you don't have to pay gas or taxes for it, ever.... Ok, hold that thought for a minute.
Imagine, opening your door, to a car that might be new or not. It looks just like any other car, worse, it looks cheap. It is in a hideous color, it even smells funny. You drive it a bit, realize, the gas payments for it are more per week than your rent. When people look at you they have this what-was-he-thinking face. And it turns out, it is not only expensive for gas, you have to pay special taxes for it being under-par to international standards, even though it was made in your country. Now hold THAT thought for a minute.
Let me add this to both equations, the car was a government gift to you, for being you. Just like you can tell the difference in getting one car over another, how bad you feel when you get the second one. Keep in mind, you got it for being you!
Public architecture in a city IS that car. There is no less-is-more in public actions [of course, a good strategy can make you win more, with less, but if the starting point is mediocre-at-best, the rest cannot get better]. Remember, you gotta start with yourself. Barcelona, Bogotá, or even certain actions in Copenhagen, are good examples. If your public action, being only the 10%-15% of a public operation, are excellent, the result of the entire operation may be excellent. But you cannot start by mediocre... The tipping point is in the public action, not only on the great strategy. And it is not only about economical quality... public actions are not only actions, they are public policy. So if you make actions that hide the city [Biblioteca JV, Monumento Bicentenario], what policy are you engaging in?
Public actions can make the people feel better or worse, but more important, they CAN make people feel SPECIAL.