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February 24 2014


Tags: new york city

November 26 2013


A podcast about Ada Louise Huxtable

A link on Facebook got me nostalgic for the days when the local papers took an interest in future of the city and stood in the way of its business and political leaders. I was thinking about the old Penn Station, and Ada Louise Huxtable who was an architecture critic for the NYT. She raised a crucial question as the city rushed to tear it down. How unusual for a news person to become part of the story! And, how appropriate. It's an idea that's still alive. Nick Bilton used his pulpit at the Times to ask the FAA whether there was a real reason we had to turn off portable devices during takeoff and landing, or if it was just a matter of inertia and/or superstition. That resulted in the removal of the ban, and our airplanes aren't crashing because of it, as far as anyone knows. (Knock wood.) We still do great things here in NY. For example bike lanes and CitiBikes. And we hold on to traditions and develop them. No one talks about putting freeways through the middle of Manhattan, as they did in the past. It's important that we not to see all change as good. The urban renewal advocates thought creating a sports arena on top of a train station that moves 650,000 people in and out of the city every day was the right thing to do. Why couldn't we have both a fantastic sports arena and a world class train station? Huxtable stood up for the station. She didn't prevail, but she helped start a movement that resulted in our city becoming a much more liveable place. Here's the podcast. http://scripting.com/2013/11/25/adaLouiseHuxtable

July 19 2013


Struggles In Common, Provisional university, DIY spaces and urban commons

Mick Byrne's talk 'from practices of the commons to politics of the commons presents the provisional university's research on DIY spaces and the urban commons in Dublin and was part of our Struggles in Common event which took place in Dublin on May 18th, 2013.

November 24 2010


It’s Alive?

A Radiolab episode on “Cities” uncovers what gives a city its walking speed: On the high end you’ve got the Dubliners who take on average (10.76 steps to cover 60 feet). Compare that with to Buchanan, Liberia whose walkers covered the same distance in about 21 seconds. In football terms, by the time the Dubliner has scored a touchdown, the guy from Buchanan is somewhere around midfield. (~9:00) That’s Bob Levine’s research, where he explains how he measures time as it relates to the feel or rhythm of a city. To figure this out, he measures the percentage of people wearing watches, bank tellers’ speed at making change, the speed of people talking (numbers of syllables per second). Does the city do this rhythm to its people or do people do it to a city, Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich ask. They go on to talk to two physicists from the Santa Fe Institute who reveal that every city has an underlying “beat” and knowing that they can predict — accurately — a whole range of statistics.
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