Delighted with School of Architecture and Planning
To The Faculty Newsletter:
Having just read the profile and heard from the Dean the moving parts of the SA+P, I am delighted [MIT Profiles: Adèle Naudé Santos," MIT Faculty Newsletter, Vol. XIX, No. 2]. When I was a student and before I graduated in 1961, I found the School a great place just to be in. My advisor Kevin Lynch and my Professor and mentor Charles Abrams gave me a much enlarged sense of urban form and urban political dynamics. The attitudes of the faculty from ideas of pure design – detached from specific problem solving – coming from my sculptor Professor to the more pragmatic instructions on how to do city planning, reflected levels of honesty and sincerity that were deeply comforting. When during one summer I did an internship in the Department of City Planning of San Francisco, where I assumed there would be the best thinking happening, I was horrified by the attitudes there and the lack of interest in thinking about what city planning was really for.
I feel as though SA+P has gone way beyond where it was in my days at MIT and it was great then. Since leaving MIT in 1961, I have gradually been shifting my functional areas from architecture into development, thence into real estate general brokerage. My dominating interest is in urban transportation planning, now underway in earnest after several abortive attempts by the City to galvanize around it. Honolulu is a laboratory of failure to understand the idea of planning and to understand how to be a planning city. Having come here by accident and against my initial will, I have come to love it here and now five grandchildren later I am in a sense stuck – but in a better sense stuck than the word suggests. Honolulu is a marvelous mix. We have over 100,000 individual condominiums most of which seem priced beyond most of the young people growing into family sets that cannot afford them. That is not the best part of the mix. It is a general problem of most of our cities. I am excited by the ideas of SA+P and its – in a way – disparate groups coming together as a coordinating force.
With good wishes,