I'm currently reading Luc Sante's Low Life—something I should have done when I lived in the Lower East Side before I escaped to the Brooklyn countryside. I'm quite taken by the book's critique of nostalgia, which Sante defines in his preface as a kind of false, delusional sentimentality for a version of history that might not have actually existed in the first place. There's something quite compelling about Sante's take on nostalgia, and even though his words are directed towards a specifically New York-centric brand of repackaging the past, I think the critique can easily apply to any number of architectural or urban adventures in nostalgia. Sante:
[Nostalgia] can be generally defined as a state of inarticulate contempt for the present and fear of the future, in concert with a yearning for order, constancy, safety, and community—qualities that were last enjoyed in childhood and are retroactively imagined as gracing the whole of the time before one's birth. [Low Life, xi]New Urbanism, anyone?