In defense of Devon

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Of all the things that have been said about the city's 7 most endangered buildings, I thought this was the most salient:

More generally, though, I can say this: architects and planners love to sanitize things. Devon Avenue is the kind of jumbled, messy, and furiously successful commercial district that could easily be totally screwed up by some planner looking down, God-like, from his lofty paper perch. Devon Avenue isn't broken by any stretch of the imagination, so it begs the question: who on Earth thinks it needs fixing?

As Robert Powers points out, it's a bit hard to say, from Preservation Chicago's notes on the area, what the risks to Devon Avenue are, but it's worth considering how the chaos of Devon Avenue makes it work. Lee Bey thinks of it as a respite from a balkanized, segregated city.

 

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