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How Amazon Prime will change the way our cities look - The Boston Globe
But when you can have basic necessities delivered to your door, it means that retail has less power to enrich neighborhoods and nurture the kind of social world that Jacobs spoke of. “Placemaking” has become a popular buzzword in planning and real estate circles, just as making a shopping trip to a specific place becomes increasingly optional as a way of acquiring life’s necessities.

So, are we building cities based on an obsolete vision of urban commerce? What does a post-Amazon future look like for urban centers whose neighborhoods are defined by their stores? Will e-commerce stunt them — or revive them?

THE CITY LANDSCAPE today reflects how people have shopped through the years. In the early history of cities like Boston, small stores clustered in downtowns and squares with banks, public buildings, and restaurants, often with apartments above. Shops provided informal social spaces that anchored communities.

Department stores first emerged in the 19th century; before they consolidated into chains, Macy’s, Marshall Field’s, and Jordan Marsh were icons of their downtowns. These enclosed marketplaces enabled women to shop and socialize unaccompanied by men, but also enforced class and racial boundaries. “They were created with middle-class white women in mind; they were the equivalent of a men’s club for white women,” says Traci Parker, an assistant professor in Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

When those women decamped to the suburbs throughout the 20th century, so did a lot of retail. As suburban housing exploded after World War II, retail reorganized to serve car-oriented lifestyles. First came strip malls, with small businesses anchored by grocery stores and parking. Later, self-enclosed malls turned shopping into a destination and a world unto itself. And beginning in the ’60s, big-box stores like Walmart undercut independent businesses with giant storehouses of goods surrounded by plentiful parking, often just off a highway exit.

In the mid-20th century, department stores left behind in downtowns became battlegrounds for racial integration. Parker says that the struggle to participate in middle-class retail — both as consumers and as salespeople — was an overlooked goal of the black freedom movement. Retail jobs became a path to economic security for women, ethnic and racial minorities, and immigrants.

By the mid-20th century, though, urban planning had come to emphasize separate spaces for working, shopping, and living — functions whose isolation from one another was soon codified with zoning, and could be bridged only by automobile. ...

But the Internet has applied selective pressure that’s forcing retail to evolve. “The Internet has been a very big positive for downtowns,” argues Robert Gibbs, an urban planner and retail expert in Michigan. Downtowns already have foot traffic. “It’s been a killer, though, for shopping malls.” Physical stores now have to compete with and complement online shopping; the buzzword in retail right now is “experience.”...

One thing Bellamy’s vision got right: the need for lots of warehouses. Instant delivery doesn’t happen by magic; it requires keeping goods in a distribution center as close to you as possible. The market for urban industrial real estate is growing as Amazon and other companies race to open small distribution centers filled with all the toothpaste, earphones, and running shoes that customers might be craving. In the future, Stein predicts, your local pharmacy might be mostly warehouse, with a small retail section in the front to bring in foot traffic. Residential buildings will increasingly need to be designed with ample storage for packages, and refrigerated areas for groceries. Single-family houses could also see changes; porches and garages could be repurposed to become secure depositories for deliveries....

Retail has long been an easy way for planners to revitalize main streets and make neighborhoods attractive. Shopping is such an integral part of urban landscapes that it’s hard to imagine a bustling street without it. As people have fewer reasons to leave the house, it creates new challenges for creating vibrant neighborhoods.

But it could also open up new possibilities. In the future, in addition to gyms and restaurants, shuttered stores could be reimagined as galleries, co-working spaces, and arcades.
retail  urban_planning  cities  logistics  delivery 
9 hours ago by shannon_mattern
Interesting propositions I discovered in 2018 – Glyn Britton – Medium
A year ago I published a list of the interesting propositions I discovered in 2017, and a few people seemed to like it, so I thought I’d do it again for 2018.
I’ll repeat the same caveat: It’s in no way exhaustive or complete (or in any kind of sensible order); it’s just those new ideas that I’ve subjectively found most interesting, or have found most useful as inspiration or analogy in our work at Albion.
new-companies  trends  future  finance  automotive  cities  blockchain  food  retail 
yesterday by dancall
Nashville’s Star Rises as Midsize Cities Break Into Winners and Losers - The New York Times
Nashville and others are thriving thanks to a mix of luck, astute political choices and well-timed investments, while cities like Birmingham, Ala., fall behind.
this-week-445  Around-the-web  Matt  jobs  economic-development  cities 
yesterday by areadevelopment
Why Is Apple Opening a Campus in the Austin Suburbs? - CityLab
By adding thousands more jobs outside the Texas capital, Apple has followed a tech expansion playbook that may just exacerbate economic inequality.
this-week-445  Around-the-web  Matt  apple  tech  high-tech  technology  Austin  texas  southwest  site-selection  economic-development  jobs  suburbs  cities 
yesterday by areadevelopment
Worldwide map files for any design program | CADMAPPER
These are huge and simplified two-dimensional DXF files of metropolitan area road networks, which include 3 levels of roads as polylines, as well as bodies of water.
maps  dwg  cities 
yesterday by danroc
Where Can Berlin Build the Affordable Housing It Wants? - CityLab
Berlin plans to build 200k new homes, and make a large portion of them affordable, but the question of where to put them (specifically, whether to redevelop brownfield sites within the city, or expand into green areas on the outskirts) continues to be controversial.
cities  germany  housing  power_in_city 
2 days ago by johnmfrench
Where You Should Move to Make the Most Money: America’s Superstar Cities - WSJ
By Christopher Mims
Dec. 15, 2018 12:00 a.m. ET
Technology is creating an economy in which superstar employees work for superstar firms that gather them into superstar cities, leading to a stark geographic concentration of wealth unlike any seen in the past century.

The latest example of this is Apple announcing this past week a billion-dollar investment in a new campus that could ultimately accommodate up to 15,000 employees in a city already red hot with talent (Austin, Texas).....When economists talk about “superstar” anything, they’re referencing a phenomenon first described in the early 1980s. It began as the product of mass media and was put into overdrive by the internet. In an age when the reach of everything we make is greater than ever, members of an elite class of bankers, chief executives, programmers, Instagram influencers and just about anyone with in-demand technical skills have seen their incomes grow far faster than those of the middle class.

In this winner-take-all economy, the superstar firms—think Apple, Google and Amazon, but also their increasingly high-tech equivalents in finance, health care and every other industry—appear to account for most of the divergence in productivity and profits between companies in the U.S.

As firms cluster around talent, and talent is in turn drawn to those firms, the result is a self-reinforcing trend toward ever-richer, ever-costlier metro areas that are economically dominant over the rest of the country.
Christopher_Mims  cities  clusters  geographic_concentration  geographic_inequality  start_ups  superstars  winner-take-all  disproportionality  digitalization 
3 days ago by jerryking
Mayors: Reject the Next HQ2-Style Incentive Bidding War - CityLab
In the wake of the incentives bidding war over Amazon’s HQ2 comes a new round of calls to action.
amazon  cities 
3 days ago by jeffhammond
Nick Kaufmann on Twitter: "Civic tech needs to study history and explore the "usable past". Everyone in #civictech / @codeforamerica network should read Professor Light's upcoming book States of Childhood, ill attempt to summarize her talk below, although
[this is the event: ]

[thread contains many images]

"Civic tech needs to study history and explore the "usable past". Everyone in #civictech / @codeforamerica network should read Professor Light's upcoming book States of Childhood, ill attempt to summarize her talk below, although it's only what i could grasp in an hour or so.
At @mitsap tonight tweeting about Jennifer Light's lecture "playing at city building" #urbanism #education #civictech

Light opened the talk with the observation that more disciplines are looking to study history to "look forward by looking backward" #civicfutures #usablepast

In #civictech we know this isnt the first government reform movement with a "techie spin" in the world or us. At the last turn of the century, anxieties about cities birthed the "good government movement" the "googoos" were reformers kinda like #civichackers of today

Like @codeforamerica and also #smartcities boosters, the goo-goos believed scientific models and tech tools were a source of progress. They were worried about "boss rule" and wanted to "rationalize government" compare to cfa's mottos today

After discussing the good govt movement, Lights set the historical context of shifting expectations around young people's behavior. Child labor laws did not stop children from working however, it was just framed as "play" now

In this context early models of vocational education and educational simulations emerged, including William R. George's "model republic" movement. @Erie @pahlkadot model republics were all over the usa, not as franchised like #cfabrigade but more grassroots diffusion of the idea

There were miniature republics run by children in boston(Cottage Row), Cleveland (Progress City) Philadelphia (Playground City), etc, where children worked as real pretend public servants

media coverage of the time hailed these civic simulations as educational opportunity/chance for a "second life" for youth. Some of the tenement kids that George put into his program ended up in ivy league schools, and as lawyers, Pub. Servants and admins of their own model cities

The educational theories at the time of the model republics were very similar to today's trends of "gamification" "experiential learning" etc. Light referenced Stanley Hall (imitation/impersonation) and 'identity play'

Long before Bateson and Goffman were muddling the boundary between seriousness/play, model republics were also using that ambiguity to educate and also cut costs of programs literally built and maintained by children. Imagine 1000 kids and 3 admins

John Dewey's philosophy of learning by doing was also heavily referenced in the talk, as George took great inspiration from him and Dewey was a supporter of the model republics.

Light stressed just how much model republic citizens did in their pretend-real jobs, building housing, policing, data collection, safety inspections, and they did it so well that they often circumvented the adult systems. Why send some1 to adult court when junior court works?

This dynamic reminded me so much of #civichackers today with our pretend jobs and weekly hack night play that quickly turns into real jobs for our cities

Another point Light made was that the model republics were very much about assimilation of immigrants into a certain set of white american middleclass values. But before rise of consumerism those values heavily emphasized DIY/activecitizenship/production.

One reason for the decline of the model republics might have been the rise of consumerism and passive consumption valued over production. But we still have things like model U.N. and vocational programs, vestiges of this time.

Again today we have a perceived need to train people for the "new economy", so what can #civictech #civicinnovation #smartcities learn from looking back to historical examples? For one thing, we learn that youth contribution to civic innovation is important and undervalued

When model republics were introduced into schools the educational outcomes were not the only advantage, they saved schools gobs of money through "user generated" labor. Again think about civictech volunteerism today...

At Emerson School, Light said, kids were even repairing the electrical system. And in some cities kids would stand in for the mayor at real events.

Heres a page describing the establishment of a self-governing body of newsboys in Milwaukee

Light closed the talk by remarking on the "vast story of children's unacknowledged labor in the creation of urban America". slide shows how their labor was hidden behind play. Although they couldnt work in factories,can you call it "play" if it involved *building* the playground?

Although Light's upcoming book focuses on America, she said there were civic simulations like this in many countries including the Phillipines, China, England, France...

Model republics were not however a well connected, branded international civic movement like modern #civictech. Light said that while they were promoted at national educational conferences on education or public housing, George lamented not having control of the brand/vision

The result of George's lack of guidelines and a organizational network of model republic practiciorners was many different, idiosyncratic models run by different ppl in different places. @pahlkadot George really needed a "National Advisory Council" it seems!

For example an Indiana model republic the kids put on their own circuses! George thought some model republics werent following his original values/vision but couldnt do much about it...another theme in #civictech now Fortunately @Open_Maine is allowed to be weirdos too @elburnett

Light emphasized that although the model republics were a tool to assimilate children into a set of values (presumably including colonial, racist, patriarchal, capitalist ones) they were also a site of agency where kids experimented and innovated.

For example, girls in coeducational model republics held public offices and launched voting rights campaigns before the women' suffrage movement gained the rights in the "real" world. Given the power of the republics to do real work this wasnt just a symbolic achievement.

George for his part believed that the kids should figure out model republics for themselves, even if it meant dystopian civics. One model republic kept prisoners in a literal iron cage before eventually abolishing the prison.

Light's talk held huge lessons for the #civictech movement, and the model republic movement is just one of many pieces of history that can be a "usable past" for us. every civic tech brigade should have a "historian" role!

At @Open_Maine weve always been looking back to look forward although I didnt have the "usable past" vocabulary until I saw professor Light's talk today. @ajawitz @elburnett and I have consciously explored history in promoting civic tech in Maine.Other brigades are doing this too

For example, early @Open_Maine (code for maine) posters consciously referenced civilian conservation corps aesthetic #usablepast

We also made a 100y link w/ charitable mechanics movement @MaineMechanics makerspace never happened but @semateos became president and aligned org. with modern #makermovement. we host civichackathons there. #mainekidscode class is in same room that held free drawingclass 100y ago

So you can see why Light's talk has my brain totally buzzing. After all, @Open_Maine has been dreaming of #civicisland, an experiential #civictech summer camp! Were currently applying to @MozOpenLeaders to develop open source experiential civictech curricula we could use for it.

Next steps here: I want to write an article about the "usable past" concept for #civictech. So if your brigade is engaged with history I wanna talk to you. @JBStephens1 was it you talking about the rotary club model on slack? @CodeForPhilly didnt you make a history timeline?"
nickkaufmann  urbanism  urban  cities  jenniferlight  children  lcproject  openstudioproject  sfsh  tcsnmy  civics  civictech  technology  history  codeforamerica  smartcities  boston  cleveland  philadelphia  williamgeorge  modelrepublics  simulations  simulation  gregorybateson  play  seriousplay  seriousness  education  johndewey  milaukee  labor  work  colinward  thechildinthecity  housing  governance  policy  activism  participatory  participation  experimentation  experience  experientiallearning  volunteerism  makerspaces  openmaine  maine  learning  howwelearn  ervinggoffman 
4 days ago by robertogreco
Can't wait to sink my teeth into this paper on flow in smart . thanks for sharing and great…
cities  data  from twitter_favs
4 days ago by fabrider

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