Ernie Schneck points out that civic design might be the root cause of the French riots: "It's now being suggested that Swiss architect, Le Corbusier, might be at least partially responsible for the suburban riots that have all but crippled France in recent weeks. As it turns out, Le Corbusier's designs inspired many of the suburbs where the riots began. His vision was that the solution to housing the urban poor was to build up instead of out. Soaring apartments, he reasoned, would bring sunlight and fresh air to city laborers who had previously been trapped in the kind of fetid and claustrophobic back streets that have plagued cities since the dawn of urbanization. What Le Corbusier's suburban solution failed to foresee were groups of young, armed, desperate young males who could easily hold hundreds of families ransom by seizing control of the elevators in what are essentially dehumanizing monoliths." Not anymore dehumanizing than Levittown and its children, my friend. Let's add bad design to the list, headlined by rappers, as the causes of the French riots. Please forget the marginalization by race and caste. France is it getting its comeuppance for keeps its snoot firmly in air in the forfeiture of their vaunted liberté, egalité, fraternité in the declaration of martial law. Laissez les bon temps roullez. A commenter on Ernie's blog said, "I doubt Le Corbusier had a vision so grand, although it may have been unveiled to the public in the way you’ve reported. I’d guess the true goal was to pack as many bodies as possible into a confined area." Which I found so uninformed it provoked me to riposte, "Study some architecture history. Corbusier did have a vision so grand, even grander. His goal was nothing short of the transformation of urban human society through architecture. It is the folly of uninformed critics that his goal was to pack as many bodies into a space as possible. Civic planners seized onto the cost-saving aspects of his streamlined design while ignoring essential humanist functions he declared necessary, such as a concierge services and spacious open areas and parks surrounding the structures. This bastardization of his vision is one of the greatest tragedies of contemporary urban planning. The culprits, then and now, are lily-livered, ineffectual and myopic civic leaders, whom we elected."