[more inside]We want our tools to sing of not just productivity but of our love of curiosity, the joy of wonderment, and the freshness of the unknown. —Eric Paulos, “Manifesto of Open Disruption and Participation”In his essay “Walking in the City,” the French scholar Michel de Certeau talks about the “invisible identities of the visible.” He is talking specifically about the memories and personal narratives associated with a location. Until recently, this information was only accessible one-to-one—that is, by talking to people who had knowledge of a place. But what if that data became one-to-many, or even many-to-many, and easily accessible via some sort of street-level interface that could be accessed manually, or wirelessly using a smartphone?
Ta-Nehisi Coates writes in The Atlantic:The Effects of Housing Segregation on Black Wealth. As the wealth gap widens between whites and blacks in America, and after reading this list and this list, he concludes The Ghetto Is Public Policy. [more inside]
San Francisco must change. "...the current state of permitting regulations for building and the glacial pace of infrastructure projects in San Francisco benefit very few people and risk turning it into a caricature of its former self for tourists and residents rich enough to live in a fantasy, not a living city. If there was ever a time when San Francisco needed to embrace a dynamic, expansive policy for building housing, offices and transportation, it is now." (Previously: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.)
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]
Which place looks safer? Which place looks more unique? Which place looks more upper-class? MIT is crowdsourcing a "perception network" to analyze people's subconscious judgments about urban spaces. Preliminary results for Boston, New York City, Vienna, Salzburg, and Linz (Austria). [more inside]
Candy Chang is a public installation artist, designer, urban planner and 2011 TED Senior Fellow based in New Orleans. Her Civic Center creates projects that try to "make cities more comfortable", and encourage residents to envision alternate urban realities: "I Wish This Was...." (site) / The NYC Street Vendor Guide / "Before I Die... In NOLA" / The Restroom Map Notepad / The Sexy Trees of the Marigny 2011 Calendar / The Neighbor Doorknob-Hanger / A Nice Place for a Tree and Post-It Notes for Neighbors. (Via). [more inside]
"Eighty-seven percent of all trips are made by personal vehicle and 99 percent of those trips arrive at a free parking space." But that free parking comes at a high cost according to Donald Shoup's research. He advocates for charging the right price for on-street parking and for removing off-street parking requirements. Shoup's ideas are coming to the streets in San Francisco's new demand-responsive parking system. Loyal Shoupistas work to spread and implement his ideas.
As suburbs become home to more poor people, immigrants, minorities, senior citizens and households with no children and we face what may be the end of suburbia, planners are wondering what do we do with suburbs? [more inside]
The New York City Open Accessible Space Information System Cooperative (OASIS) is an online, interactive mapping and data analysis application that gives an incredibly detailed view of New York City's open spaces and how they are used. The map enables overlays of information like: transit; parks, playgrounds and open space; zoning and landmarks; current and historical land use; social services; demographics; and environmental characteristics.(via The Ministry of Type, who like OASIS mainly for its pretty map possibilities.) [more inside]
"The plans for Victory City have evolved over a period of 38 years, nurtured by the vision and dedication of Victory City's inventor, Orville Simpson II [no relation]. Mr. Simpson conceived of the general idea of Victory City in 1936, when he was only 13 years old. Afraid of being ridiculed, Mr. Simpson kept his ideas about designing and building the City of the Future to himself … a secret vision he held in his mind... It wasn't until 1960 — after he had embarked on a lucrative career in real estate investing and apartment building management — that Mr. Simpson decided to make his ideas about Victory City known to the general public."
Noiseways. Listen to New York City and Portland Oregon. "The negative effects of noise—stress and the disruption of work, sleep, learning and other activities—are well established by scientific research. And of course it comes as no surprise that there is a lot of noise in New York City. The Noiseways Project intends to complement this knowledge by letting visitors to this Internet site experience the effects of noise through the use of pictures and sound recordings. Instead of presenting data, Noiseways engages the senses."
Why we are all Venetians now Witold Rybczynski talks about the changing functions of cities, urban planning and reuse, and the tourism industry where "the urban experience has become a new product of cities."
'You will stay in Saskatoon, you will stay in Moose Jaw': Plan would force newcomers to agree to live outside biggest cities for three to five years
'You will stay in Saskatoon, you will stay in Moose Jaw': Plan would force newcomers to agree to live outside biggest cities for three to five years A new idea would have immigrants forced to live in rural Canadian communities for the first 3-5 years to offset the fact that young Canadians are fleeing them for the opportunities in the big cities. I sympathize with the loss that rural Canada is facing, I just don't see this working out the way proponents expect.
Do you have a favourite city park? Nominate it for the Great Parks/Great Cities Awards, to be presented this July in New York. And read about Dufferin Grove Park in Toronto; neighbors came together to help the city manage the park when they found out that the Parks Department had allotted no money for its upkeep.