In a magnificent essay for The Guardian, Jason Farago – accompanied by the photography of Vivienne Gucwa (of NY Through the Lens) – offers a richly insightful, sobering review of what’s been built in Lower Manhattan since 9/11. The story and its images are not to be missed, for reasons aesthetic and civic. Farago peers into the mess made at the World Trade Center and finds the “urban future” of New York City: “luxuries before necessities, consumption as culture.” He concludes that what has happened is “something more complicated than an autonomous urban design debacle.” It is a political story. “You need community, solidarity and civic virtue” of a kind that has proven elusive in New York’s age of Michael Bloomberg-ordained privatization and pacification. The mix of politics, design and economic issues at play in this case offers other cities with less grandeur than New York a cautionary tale.