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Why Can't American Stadiums Be Beautiful?

Americans should build fewer ballparks and arenas. But if we’re going to keep building no matter what, we should put some effort into them.
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Herzog & de Meuron

This stadium, this gorgeous artful building, is nowhere near Washington, D.C. It’s the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux, a whole ocean away, in Bordeaux, France. What went wrong, D.C.? Why can’t we have nice things?

After all, in the District, every mayor gets a stadium. Since D.C. is not a state, there is no career ladder up from the Wilson Building: no run for state senate, no bid for House representative, no push for the governor’s mansion. A District mayor can’t even make a lateral move to an elected position in Virginia or Maryland. So, in lieu of better opportunities, D.C. mayors get to put their name on a new stadium for their favorite sports team.