In Many Cities, Rent Is Rising Out of Reach of Middle Class. Here's What $800 in Rent Gets You in 11 Major Cities [more inside]
'Polar Vortex' Brings Bitter Cold, Heavy Snow To U.S. right on the back of WINTER STORM HERCULES that delayed or cancelled flights all over the country, stranding holiday travelers, and dumping lots of snow all over the midwest and northeast. Planes are sliding off runways! Dogs are wearing booties! [more inside]
A new Report on the State of Health + Urbanism (pdf) from MIT looks at the relationship between urban planning and public health, with some surprising findings. The cities covered are Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Minneapolis, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. [more inside]
In what could be the largest strike of its kind, hundreds of fast food workers in Detroit walked off their jobs on Friday, echoing the rallying cry heard (or not?) across the country that the currently underpaid workers deserve $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation. Friday's strike in Detroit comes on the heels of similar actions in other cities—Wednesday and Thursday in St. Louis, and in Chicago and New York City last month.
Vivian Maier was a photographer who made some incredible images of 20th century America. But almost no one knew about her until 2007. And now a new documentary is being made about this enigmatic character whose incredible eye documented street life and characters in New York, Chicago and beyond.
Bostonians Tyler Balliet and Morgan First love wine. Drinking it, talking about it, introducing other people to it. But wine, unfortunately, is often perceived to have an attitude, a culture of snottiness and pretension that puts people off before they even get close to a wine glass. Why swirl it? What's with that obnoxious sucking sound? What the hell is the deal with spitting it out? What about the confusing vocabulary and snooty descriptors? When did wine become "sassy" or "understated", instead of "delicious"? [more inside]
Asian Carp update: since 2003(previously), the inexorable advance of Asian Carp up the Mississippi delta has brought them to within 6 miles of Lake Michigan. These invasive "100-pound Zebra Mussels" suck rivers clean and starve native fish. Asian Carp are now 97% of the fish biomass in the Mississippi delta. The "electric fence" across the canal didn't stop them. The poisoning of the canal won't stop them. Closing the Chicago sewage canal locks is the only way to be sure. But the Army Corps of Engineers have the jurisdiction. Feel safe? [more inside]
Ride the City maps the best or safest urban bicycle route from point A to B. Presently featuring multi-lingual maps from New York, Chicago, Austin, Louisville, San Diego, and Seattle. Their blog posts updates about new cities added to the grid, or other topics relating to urban bicycling.
"Chinatown" communities across the United States (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco) are undergoing a shift in linguistic identity, as recent immigrants are more likely to natively speak Mandarin (the official spoken language of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan,) instead of Cantonese. [more inside]
Are you a young middle-class creative type (probably white) who has chosen to live in an urban neighborhood that your parents would have shunned? Have the families that formerly lived in your neighborhood (probably not white) been pushed out by soaring rents and real-estate prices to the city fringes or suburbs? The New Republic on demographic inversion.
This gem got me thinking: Songs about a place. Some are more evocative of the geography, some of a tangential longing merely rooted in a place and others -- while about a place -- are really rooted more in a time. Some places immortalized in song you want to visit, others you don't , and others don't really exist at all, though we may know somewhere like it. But near or far, border to border, coast-to-coast (from the west side* to the east side and somewhere in the middle as well, there's musical pins all over the map. [links go to videos] *no direct link, second entry
Creativity, Inc: Dave Eggers of McSweeney's is a proprietor. A shopkeeper. Perhaps even a franchise magnate! It was his keen perception of unmet needs in niche markets that led to the opening of a growing array of supply houses across the country. Among them: The Pirate Store, for the well-outfitted swashbuckler; The Boring Store, a subtle, unassuming purveyor of goods for secret agents; the Superhero Supply Store, in Brooklyn, carrying all the eyewear and accessories today's world-savers require; and Greenwood Space Travel Supply, where customers are reminded of the space-travel axiom "A lack of preparation is a prescription for mishaps." If these sound like curious business ventures for a celebrated author, there's a reason: the storefronts, though real, are just that - fronts. They're the streetside faces (and fundraising arms) of the nonprofit 826National, a family of learning centers for kids ages 6-18. The 826 'stores' provide free field trips, creatively themed writing workshops, publishing, and one-on-one instruction. Supported by an impressive field of cultural types (including Ira Glass, Sarah Vowell, Sherman Alexie, and others), the program is growing. Coming soon: Michigan 826 will open Monster Union Local 826, and 826LA will open the Echo Park Time Travel Mart.
2 years ago I FPP'd FlavorPill, a company that sends out permission-based emails for books (Boldtype), music (Earplug), and fashion (the JC Report). They've since added ArtKrush (it's art, stupid! - nsfw) and Activate (world events) to their aresenal. In addition to the topic-specific mailing lists, they offer city-specific lists for London, New York, SF, LA, and Chicago. Sample issues are archived on the site.
A growing crop of towers pushing 2,000 feet: though just shy itself, the much-redesigned Freedom Tower is finally under construction for completion in 2011; but there is also the stunning Fordham Spire, approved in Chicago, that will rise to 2,000 feet by 2010. Moscow is planning the tallest tower in Europe, while there are a number of sightseeing and radio towers under construction in Asia. In Dubai, two towers under construction (despite worker protests) are racing to be the world's tallest, both are keeping their final heights secret, but will likely be over half a mile in height -- the Burj Dubai and the Al Burj. As previously discussed, there are great illustrations comparing buildings both built and under construction. Bring on Frank Lloyd Wright's The Illinois!
A Tale of Two Cities: Chicago and New York This exhibition of more than 150 black-and-white photographs represents a cross-section of the thousands of significant buildings that are protected by local landmark designation in Chicago and New York City. The story of how this came to pass is both as similar and as different as the cities themselves.