THIS IS WHAT MAIN STREET USED TO LOOK LIKE

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This is from my sketchbook episode in today's paper. I'm not saying that we should have made a little 19th-century museum out of downtown Norfolk, but we seem to have lost the ability to design our public spaces with a human scale. Walk down Main Street today, and except for a few token touches of quaintness, it's all glass and concrete boxes soaring into the sky. There's no warmth, no texture, no invitation. We Merkins are in such a hurry to plow the past under and build new stuff on top of it. Maybe it stems from the fact that we arrived as usurpers, and the past has a lot of warts. Maybe it's got more to do with the fact that our economy is like a shark: achieve equilibrium and we die.