Almost every child learns in school that a haiku is a short poem with three lines – lines that adhere to a 5-7-5 syllable count pattern.
But only some children learn that not all poems conforming to that 5-7-5 rule are good haikus. For example:
I saw a tower/Looming, stretching really tall/
Is it ever high!
Many readers will recognize those lines as a generally failed poem. But what specifically makes it a bad haiku, even though it follows the rule? The first-person narrative, the lack of seasonal referent, the lack of any kind of “aha!” moment – there are any number of ways in which that poetic effort fails to meet basic haiku design guidelines.
Similarly, a proposed new downtown Ann Arbor building that follows a basic height rule of “180 feet maximum” – specified in the zoning regulations – might still be generally recognizable as a poorly-designed building.