Trading Places - photographer Steve Bloom's latest book focuses on the business people, shops, and signs of Nairobi. Take a panoramic walk down Kitengela Road in what is arguably the largest panoramic stitched together from hundreds of photos. In another clip, Bloom talks about his experiences taking the photos. (Via About:Blank)
"Thanks largely to smartphones, this is probably the best time ever to live in a packed city... Steve Jobs was a lifelong suburbanite, but it turns out he perfected the city." [google cache for those getting a log-in page.]
Last week, I wrote about how urban trees—or the lack thereof—can reveal income inequality. After writing that article, I was curious, could I actually see income inequality from space? It turned out to be easier than I expected.
Gymnast: In Motion — The elegant movements and athletic prowess of five twirling trampolinists are captured in photographer Steve Harries’ new short film. Performing up to 7.5 meters in the air—shot from a tall camera tower beneath a rig suspending the set, mirrors and lights from the ceiling—bodies were broken up into fragmented forms and motions by a bank of six mirrors. Contrast that with No Church in the Wild, the Jay Z & Kanye West collaboration filmed by Romain Gavras. A message of hope to anyone who feels society needs to change direction, or a furious extended urban battle scene?
Out of Cash - The End of the Nation’s Largest Redevelopment Program (and a major source of California’s local funding sources). [more inside]
In 2008 the late Robert Fitch, author of "The Assassination of New York", was asked to foretell an Obama presidency before the Harlem Tenants Association:
If we examine more carefully the interests that Obama represents; if we look at his core financial supporters; as well as his inmost circle of advisors, we’ll see that they represent the primary activists in the demolition movement and the primary real estate beneficiaries of this transformation of public housing projects into condos and townhouses: the profitable creep of the Central Business District and elite residential neighborhoods southward; and the shifting of the pile of human misery about three miles further into the South Side and the south suburbs... Obama’s political base comes primarily from Chicago FIRE—the finance, insurance and real estate industry. And the wealthiest families—the Pritzkers, the Crowns and the Levins.
The food desert has been a regular topic here on MetaFilter, posts about which often highlight a particular narrative about the effects of meager food choices for poorer urban communities, negatively affecting health and choice among low income people. Though not always. Some new studies indicate the situation in the US might be more like the latter, not quite as dire as is usually asserted. [more inside]
In the frantic pace of modern life, it is often easy to forget what life was once like for those who built the world we now live in. More from Bishopsgate library here and the Institute itself is worth a poke around
"The Detroit metropolitan area is covered with freeways. Ever freeway you could possible imagine has been built. And they have solved the problem that they identified, which was congestion. The city of Detroit doesn’t really have a problem with congestion anymore. That’s the least of their problems". How demolishing freeways is reviving American cities. [via][bonus]
City of the Wildcats 1 2: A documentary about the urban kitties of Rome narrated by Sir David Attenborough.
A unique urban ecology prompts a new look at globalization. Japanese architect Naohiko Hino visited Guangzhou's 'Africatown' after being inspired by an article in Le Monde Diplomatique* and wrote his view on the unique model of globalization he saw in the heart of China's manufacturing powerhouse. [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]
With the closure of Borders across the nation, what is one to do when nature calls? Just as AirBNB and CouchSurfing have solved the problem of renting out your spare room, why not rent out your bathroom to strangers with CLOO!
The woven photographs of Seung Hoon Park New works from South Korean photographer Seung Hoon Park. Park uses a process to overlay or weave together film strips, however this appears to be a single print.
Stéphane Missier alias Charles le Brigand (and/or Carlito Brigante) is a Brooklyn-based urban photographer and filmmaker. "From the Bronx to Brooklyn, I capture the real New York, the one I like to call 'RottenbutBeautiful'." Flickr Sets. [more inside]
Evolution Right Under Our Noses. "A small but growing number of field biologists study urban evolution — the biological changes that cities bring to the wildlife that inhabits them." [Via]
Dog and Deco. My name is Pickles McConchie. I’m a 15 year old Art Deco and camera loving Terrier from Scotland. I like to travel the country with my bitch and pose in front of art deco factories and industrial buildings from the 1920s, 30s and 40s, as well as other twentieth century architectural gems.
Starting July 1, to make Sydney more liveable, the state government of New South Wales (NSW) will pay AU$7000 to Sydneysider families that relocate from metropolitan areas of Sydney to rural NSW. [more inside]
Moving Beyond the Automobile is a series of ten short videos by Streetfilms that highlights new directions in urban transportation. It shows how cities in the U.S. are encouraging a shift away from car dependency and making it easier and more pleasant to get around by other means. [more inside]
Despite the federal election focus on BC ridings, Vancouverites are having a hard time looking past the municipal. Things are quite dramatic in the urban planning scene. The city's regional growth plan was recently paralyzed by disagreement from Coquitlam. TransLink announced permanent cuts to bus service during Earth Week, describing it as "service optimization," highlighting its own chronic funding issues. The city successfully stopped a "megacasino" project after community backlash, but the $3 billion freeway Gateway Project continues despite ongoing protests. As the city struggles to find its way to the goal of Greenest City 2020, it's a good time to look at the paths not taken, via this excellent podcast on Vancouver's relationship with roadways. Part of a series called "Moving Through" from the Museum of Vancouver. [more inside]
Urban explorers surreptitiously gain access to the Post Office Railway underneath London, take lots of photos.
For their 43rd anniversary issue, New York Magazine chose "to explore, across time, one of the things that has most defined New York life for centuries and has become a unit of measurement for our successes and failures: The Apartment: A History of Vertical Living" / Sardine Life: What a century and a half of piled-up housing reveals about us. [more inside]
I like urban art fun with a sense of humor: OakOak is a french artist who likes to play with urban elements.
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]
"Completed in 1954, the 33 11-story buildings of the Pruitt-Igoe housing development was built as an attempt to address the housing crisis the poor faced in St Louis, Missouri. Only twenty years later, at 3pm on the 16th of March, 1972, the buildings were leveled, declared unfit for habitation because of unsafe and unsanitary conditions, coupled with rampant crime. The story of Pruitt-Igoe is a tragic urban fable, a complicated and loaded story of ambition, hubris and failure." (src)"The Pruitt-Igoe Myth" is a documentary directed by Chad Freidrichs that dives into the complex history of the famed housing project (YouTube or Vimeo trailer). RustWire has an interesting interview with the documentary's creator. More information from Architizer, Homo Ludens, and Magical Urbanism. Be sure to check out the collection of pictures from the area and from the documentary in the creators' Flickr stream. [via Archinect and Mefi Projects] [more inside]
The Urban Homestead®: Where sustainable urban living and intellectual property collide. Previously on mefi we learned about some urban homesteaders in Pasadena, CA calling themselves the Dervaes Institute. According to the OC Weekly Blog Stick a Fork in It: "In October of last year, the Dervaeses successfully registered the terms "Urban Homestead" and "Urban Homesteading" with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. But only in the past couple of weeks have they been sending cease-and-desist letters to organizations and blogs using the terms without their permission, successfully asking Facebook to shut down groups using those terms as their name." [more inside]
Wall scratching as an art form. Alexandre Farto (aka Vhils) is a Portuguese street artist living in London. This is his art project called “Walls – Scratching the surface”. He makes impressive portraits by scratching the surface of old walls in Moscow, Rome, London, New York and Portugal. [more inside]
The Jungle. Made in 1967 and awarded a Documentary Film Award at the Festival de Popoli, Italy, The Jungle is a short film made in Philly by Harold Haskins and the 12 & Oxford Film Corp. Re-discovered a few years back through Temple University’s Urban Archives.
In the 1960's, 70's and 80's, urban decay and high crime rates caused retail chain supermarkets to flee New York City. (google books link) Korean immigrants filled the gap with corner grocery stores. For nearly two decades they were ubiquitous -- symbols of the group's ongoing quest to achieve the American Dream. But 30 years later, Where Did The Korean Greengrocers Go? [more inside]
Cryptoforestry: Inner City Reforestation in Utrecht and the G/Local Amazon; Psychogeography is involved
Cryptoforestry is a heady blog that covers cryptoforests of all sorts, from feral forests that thrive next to heavily developed urban environments without human assistance, land in limbo and "states of vegetation for which lay-language has no name", incognito forests that hide in plain view, precognitive forests that are about to become forest or are forest Fata Morgana, and unappreciated forests that are considered wastelands. The scope of the blog covers local Utrecht sites to the "g/local" Amazon basin, and lands in-between. All this is filtered through the lens of psychogeography, emphasizing "the psychological effects of a forest rather than canopy cover or land use as of importance for classification." [more inside]
Ballerina Project — Nine years ago, young photographer Dane Shitagi walked up New York City’s Broadway towards the highly patronized and well known STEPS dance studios in search of a ballet dancer who could help him begin his project: to capture images of ballerinas in urban environments. Those images first started appearing on Blogspot, but have since migrated to Facebook. [via]
Worldchanging Bright Green Future City - Alex Steffen sits down with the mayors of Portland and Seattle to talk about
which is better the 'future city' and the confluence of urbanization, social justice and environmental change, not to mention political pushback amid high unemployment and cultural inertia.
The stately James Farley Post Office on 8th Ave in Manhattan is being converted into the long-awaited Moynihan Train Station. Almost the entire block-long building has been emptied to prepare for the conversion and Mefi's own nycscout (previously, previously, previously) was there to take pictures. [via mefi projects]
DC just rolled out largest bike share program in US this week, Washington DC's and the Arlington (VA) County's bikesharing programs joined forces to create Capital Bikeshare with regional service of over 1,100 bikes and 114 stations throughout the area, with plans to include several other nearby Virginia and Maryland counties in the near future. [more inside]
How segregated is your city? Eric Fischer maps the top 40 US cities by race, using 2000 census data. Each color-coded dot represents 25 people: Red is White, Blue is Black, Green is Asian, and Orange is Hispanic. The maps are oddly pretty, and revealing. Compare, for example, Detroit and San Antonio. via [more inside]
Lviv Interactive, a project of the Center for Urban History of East Central Europe, is mapping the history, architecture, and human landscape of the City of Lions - including locations no longer there. [more inside]
Anyone who wishes to understand American society must be aware that explanations focusing on the cultural traits of inner-city residents are likely to draw far more attention from policy makers and the general public than structural explanations will. It is an unavoidable fact that Americans tend to de-emphasize the structural origins and social significance of poverty and welfare ... If, in America, you can grow up to be anything you want to be, then any destiny—even poverty—can be viewed through the lens of personal achievement or failure. William Julius Wilson on the political and academic failure to recognize structural causes of inner-city poverty. Wilson interviewed in conjunction with the article. [more inside]
Want a forest but don't have the space? Get a tree and four mirrors and make your own Unlimited Urban Woods
"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.
Urban gardening and agriculture are becoming increasingly important as our world becomes more urbanized. Urban Gardening Help is for those environmentally conscious urban dwellers who want to use hydroponics and other tools to create a green corner devoted to nature in their own home. Urban Gardens looks for innovative and eco-friendly designs, trends, and ideas for the stylish urban home. See, for example, tiny herb gardens, where succulent cuttings come in small packages. Urban Garden Casual works with the constraints of limited-space, light, and micro-climates created from the shadows of neighboring buildings by using unconventional ideas like the garden pouch.
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]
Urban knitting, guerilla knitting, textile street art, yarn bombing. Whatever you choose to call it, this artform takes everyday objects of the city — such as trees, lampposts, street signs, bike racks — and wraps them up in colorful knit cozies. You'll find these wonderful oddities all over the world, from Manhattan to Sydney to Edinburgh to Philadelphia to Oakland to Chicago to Bisbane and back to Manhattan again. People have written books about it. It has inspired an Irish cellphone commercial. Metafilter's own ErikaB made a tree sweater that was featured on Metafilter and on the front cover of Seattle's The Stranger. Magda Sayeg's blog Knitta Please is a showcase for some of her delightful projects, including a Smart car, coffee shop sign, and crutches. (Also, previously.) [more inside]
A new project called CitID is attempting to collect logos and/or typefaces representing every city in the world. So far, they have over 150 submissions, including Berlin, Kiev, Portland, Bogota, Tokyo, and Cape Town. [more inside]