I briefly presented each of the top eight technology tools, and then provide one or more examples of each.
On this President's Day, are you stuck in traffic from your exurban house to the sale at the local Hummer dealer? It's Thomas Jefferson's fault.
The suburbs, in short, are the American mainstream. Our major writers, dating back to Updike and Cheever, have focused on decoding suburban life, and today Richard Ford, Chang Rae Lee, Rick Moody and others continue that work. Suburban megachurches are the engine of American Protestantism. Eminem is a suburban boy, and a suburban phenomenon, as are the "soccer momsâ€ and "soccer dadsâ€ fought over in the last few elections.
Yet for those who live there, the suburbs can be a bewildering place. Urbanites who have moved out for more space and better schools gaze out the kitchen window into their new garden paradise and ask, "Now what?â€ Children of the suburbs return to find their sleepy burbs utterly transformed by commercialization. Those on rural routes watch in dismay as farms and tiny towns are supplanted by mass developments and strip malls. All of these people have common problems and solutions, from commuting to child care to what to put on the side of a house. Burb is for all of them.
We talk about "the suburbsâ€ as a state of mind, but only now have real connections begun to be made among the suburbs of even a single city, never mind nationally. Burb is proposed as a place where mutual recognition and the single purpose that comes from it might be achieved.
Here's what happened: a few months ago I got a survey asking me how I felt about open space and parks in my neighborhood - West Berkeley, also known as Oceanview - and specifically how I felt about an alley that bisects my block and a couple blocks northward and southward.
Ricky Mathews, Publisher of the Biloxi Sun Herald and Vice-Chairman of the Governor's Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding, and Renewal after Hurricane Katrina, argues that Andres Duany and o
MIT's new Stata Center lurches impressively over Vassar Street, a mélange of surfaces and cylinders intersecting at odd angles. Designed by Frank Gehry, it's seen as the pinnacle of hip, postmodern architecture in Boston (which ain't saying much), and supposedly is surprisingly functional inside despite its odd form. I therefore feel decidedly square saying it but I must: I think it's rather ugly. More than anything, its ornamentation seems ostentatious to me, arbitrary, like a sculpture pretending to be a building. Part of me still believes in that mantra of modernist architecture, form follows function. Politically and spiritually, this at least seems like an honest goal, far more than mere irony and whimsy.
Yet as I've been reviewing the works of Mumford and Kunstler, I've been realizing how much of modern architecture and modern town planning has been a disaster. Often the scale of the projects has been all wrong, and the projects have not really been focused on human needs at all. There's typically no respect for public space, no creation of places for human interactions. And they are often just plain ugly, all gray concrete and blacktop, which on our New England winters gets pockmarked with salt stains.
And so I've been struggling between these two parts of myself. I want architecture and urban planning to reflect some of the honesty of modernism, and yet I want beauty and even a bit of whimsy and ornamentation. It strikes me that both post-modernism and modernism have same fault, at least as they are often practiced: An utter lack of interest in what the users of the space want, and what will seem beautiful in the context of its surroundings. Form does not follow the true, human function of the building but instead a perverted function set by someone other than the users. For modern architecture, it became cheapness of construction; for post-modern architecture, it has become hip irony; for urban planners, it became moving cars efficiently. The solution, in my humble opinion (as an ecologist who is admittedly not trained in architecture), is not to abandon "form follows functionâ€ but to make sure society gets the function it wants.
I'd taken to shaving a few minutes off the march by cutting down a narrow walkway between two skyscrapers. Tall brick on one side, tall concrete on the other. And at the end: pop. The backend of a simple plaza, bits of crummy retail and a Starbucks guarding the front.
via Curbed LA
Economist Joe Cortright and Carol Coletta, host of Smart City Radio and CEO of CEOs for Cities, outline findings in their recent report, "The Young and the Restless in a Knowledge Economy".
Great list of RFP sins! I'll keep those things in mind when I write my next one. I have a few proposal submittal pet peeves I'd like to share - small things, really, but also things that drive me bananas.
From their website:
"How's it Used?
-- I leave a note for all my friends at the mall to let them know where I'm hanging out. All my friends in the area see it.
-- A woman shows all her close friends the tree under which she had her first kiss.
-- An entire neighborhood gets together and documents all the unwanted litter they find in an effort to share ownership of a community problem.
While some RFPs are outstanding, and clearly describe the project, evaluation, and process, others are, well, downright embarrassing, or contain clauses and provisions that leave you scratching your head.
Problems with nomenclature may prevent "smart growth" -- or high-density housing -- from being used appropriately, including targeting the right audience.
The popularity of blogs and podcasting is partly driven by the simple concept of web content syndication and aggregation using RSS and ATOM feeds. Yet, a study by Yahoo suggests that RSS is still not widely adopted. The study reports:
"...27% of users actually consume RSS on personalized start pages without realizing that it's the underlying technology enabling what they read. Sites such as MyYahoo, MyMSN, and the Firefox browser with its active bookmarks provide easy access to regularly updated RSS feeds with little or no effort from users."
Mathew Kane, a doctoral student in the Indiana University School of
Informatics, has generated an interesting Google mashup.
But it's Google, right? And they're smarter than all of us.
Too bad they're not for sale, but I'm sure others will follow.