robertogreco + detroit   131

Cooperative Economy in the Great Depression | Jonathan Rowe
"Entrepreneurs of cooperation
Before Social Security and the WPA, the Unemployed Exchange Association rebuilt a collapsed economy"



"The mood at kitchen tables in California in the early 1930s was as bleak as it was elsewhere in the United States. Factories were closed. More than a quarter of the breadwinners in the state were out of work. There were no federal or state relief programs, nothing but some local charity—in Los Angeles County, a family of four got about 50 cents a day, and only one in 10 got even that.

Not long before, America had been a farming nation. When times were tough, there was still the land. But the country was becoming increasingly urban. People were dependent on this thing called “the economy” and the financial casino to which it was yoked. When the casino crashed, there was no fallback, just destitution. Except for one thing: The real economy was still there — paralyzed but still there. Farmers still were producing, more than they could sell. Fruit rotted on trees, vegetables in the fields. In January 1933, dairymen poured more than 12,000 gallons of milk into the Los Angeles City sewers every day.

The factories were there too. Machinery was idle. Old trucks were in side lots, needing only a little repair. All that capacity on the one hand, legions of idle men and women on the other. It was the financial casino that had failed, not the workers and machines. On street corners and around bare kitchen tables, people started to put two and two together. More precisely, they thought about new ways of putting twoand two together.

Building a reciprocal economy

In the spring of 1932, in Compton, California, an unemployed World War I veteran walked out to the farms that still ringed Los Angeles. He offered his labor in return for a sack of vegetables, and that evening he returned with more than his family needed. The next day a neighbor went out with him to the fields. Within two months 500 families were members of the Unemployed Cooperative Relief Organization (UCRO).

That group became one of 45 units in an organization that served the needs of some 150,000 people.

It operated a large warehouse, a distribution center, a gas and service station, a refrigeration facility, a sewing shop, a shoe shop, even medical services, all on cooperative principles. Members were expected to work two days a week, and benefits were allocated according to need. A member with a wife and two kids got four times as much food as someone living alone. The organization was run democratically, and social support was as important as material support. Members helped one another resist evictions; sometimes they moved a family back in after a landlord had put them out. Unemployed utility workers turned on gas and electricity for families that had been cut off.

Conventional histories present the Depression as a story of the corporate market, foiled by its own internal flaws, versus the federal government, either savvy mechanic or misguided klutz, depending on your view.The government ascended, in the form of the New Deal; and so was born the polarity of our politics—and the range of our economic possibilities—ever since.

Yet there was another story too. It embodied the trusty American virtues of initiative, responsibility, and self-help, but in a way that was grounded in community and genuine economy. This other story played out all over the U.S., for a brief but suggestive moment in the early 1930s.

The UCRO was just one organization in one city. Groups like it ultimately involved more than 1.3 million people, in more than 30 states. It happened spontaneously, without experts or blueprints. Most of the participants were blue collar workers whose formal schooling had stopped at high school. Some groups evolved a kind of money to create more flexibility in exchange. An example was the Unemployed Exchange Association, or UXA, based in Oakland, California. (The UXA story was told in an excellent article in the weekly East Bay Express in1983, on which the following paragraphs are based.) UXA began in a Hooverville (an encampment of the poor during the Depression, so-called after the president) called “Pipe City,” near the East Bay waterfront. Hundreds of homeless people were living there in sections of large sewer pipe that were never laid because the city ran out of money. Among them was Carl Rhodehamel, a musician and engineer.

Rhodehamel and others started going door to door in Oakland, offering to do home repairs in exchange for unwanted items. They repaired these and circulated them among themselves. Soon they established a commissary and sent scouts around the city and intothe surrounding farms to see what they could scavenge or exchange labor for. Within six months they had 1,500 members, and a thriving sub-economy that included a foundry and machine shop, woodshop, garage,soap factory, print shop, wood lot, ranches, and lumber mills. They rebuilt 18 trucks from scrap. At UXA’s peak it distributed 40 tons of food a week.

It all worked on a time-credit system. Each hour worked earned a hundred points; there was no hierarchyof skills, and all work paid the same. Members could use credits to buy food and other items at the commissary, medical and dental services, haircuts, an dmore. A council of some 45 coordinators met regularly to solve problems and discuss opportunities.

One coordinator might report that a saw needed a new motor. Another knew of a motor but the owner wanted a piano in return. A third member knew of a piano that was available. And on and on. It was an amalgam of enterprise and cooperation—the flexibility and hustle of the market, but without the encoded greed of the corporation or the stifling bureaucracy of the state. The economics texts don’t really have a name for it. The members called it a “reciprocal economy.”

The dream fades

It would seem that a movement that provided livelihood for more than 300,000 people in California alone would merit discussion in the history books. Amidst the floundering of the early 1930s, this was something that actually worked. Yet in most accounts the self-help co-ops get barely a line.

The one exception is Upton Sinclair’s campaign for governor in 1934. Sinclair was a kind of Ralph Nader of his day. He based his campaign on a plan he called End Poverty in California, or EPIC, which was based in turn on the self-help cooperatives, UXA in particular. It would have taken the state’s idle farmland and factories and turned them into worker co-ops.

The idea of a genuine economy shorn of Wall Street contrivance touched a chord. Some 2,000 EPIC clubs sprang up. Sinclair won the Democratic primary, but California’s moneyed establishment mustered $10 million dollars to pummel him. EPIC died with his campaign, and the idea has been associated with quixotic politics ever since.

To say UXA and the other cooperative economies faced challenges is to put it mildly. They were going against the grain of an entire culture. Anti-communist “Red Squads” harassed them, while radicals complained they were too practical and not sufficiently committed to systemic change.

But the main thing that killed the co-ops was the Works Progress Administration and its cash jobs. Those WPA jobs were desperately needed. But someof them were make-work, while the co-op work was genuinely productive.

The co-ops pleaded with FDR’s Administration to include them in the WPA. Local governments were helping with gasoline and oil. But the New Dealers weren’t interested, and the co-ops melted away. For years they were period pieces, like soup lines and Okies.

Or so it seemed.

Today, the signs of financial and ecological collapse are mounting. We are strung out on foreign debt and foreign oil, and riding real estate inflation that won’t last forever. Add the impendingc ollapse of the natural life support system, and the ’30s could seem benign by comparison.

In this setting, the economics of self-help are increasingly relevant. The possibility of creating such an economy, though, might seem remote. In the 1930s, there still were farms on the outskirts of cities—family operations that could make barter deals on the spot. Factories were nearby too. Products were simple and made to last, and so could be scavenged and repaired.

All that has changed. The factories are in China, the farms are owned by corporations, and you can’t walk to them from Los Angeles anymore. Products are made to break; the local repair shop is a distant memory. Hyper-sophisticated technology has put local mechanics out of business, let alone backyard tinkerers.

An idea resurfaces

Yet there are trends on the other side as well. Energy technology is moving back to the local level, by way of solar, wind, biodiesel and the rest. The popularity of organics has given a boost to smaller farms. There’s also the quiet revival of urban agriculture. Community gardens are booming—some 6,000 of them in 38 U.S. cities. In Boston, the Food Project produces over 120,000 pounds of vegetables on just 21 acres.Then consider the unused land in U.S. cities: some 70,000 vacant parcels in Chicago, 31,000 in Philadelphia.

Large swaths of Detroit look like Dresden after the firebombing. A UXA could do a lot with that. I’m not getting gauzy here. Anyone who has been part of a co-op — I once served on the board of one — knows it is not a walk in the park. But it is not hard to see the stirrings of a new form of cooperative economics on the American scene today. You can’t explain Linux, the computer operating system developed community-style on the web, by the tenets of the economics texts. Nor can you so explain Craig’s List, the online bulletin board that people use at no or minimal cost.

The cooperative model seems to defy what economists call “economic law”—that people work only for personal gain and in response to schemes of personal incentive and reward. Yet the Depression co-ops did happen. When the next crash … [more]
cooperation  coopeatives  greatdepression  socialism  history  california  us  1930s  economics  solidarity  jonathanrowe  losangeles  compton  farming  agriculture  labor  work  ucro  oakland  carlrhodehamel  uxa  community  mutualaid  detroit  coops  local  fdr  wpa  communism  uptonsinclair  poverty 
march 2019 by robertogreco
Welcome to Your New Government – Next City
[via:

"This is the single biggest problem of the entire Rust Belt, I’ve come to believe. Our cities are run by non-profits, not elected officials" —Anne Trubek
https://twitter.com/atrubek/status/1049845677038145536

"The power of philanthropy in Detroit can't be underestimated. (Eg: https://www.elle.com/culture/a37255/forgotten-rape-kits-detroit/ …; https://detroithistorical.org/learn/encyclopedia-of-detroit/grand-bargain …) Money that was denied to the city over decades -- tax base, loans, mortgages, investment, state revenue sharing -- comes back as charity. A loaded dynamic.” —Ann Clark ]

"Cities in dire straits make it possible for large CDCs to gain huge influence. On April 4, less than 24 hours before a deadline that would give unprecedented control of the city to an emergency manager, the Detroit City Council voted for a consent agreement with the state of Michigan. Under the new deal, a financial advisory board with members appointed by the governor, mayor and council will review all budget matters and grant approval of union contracts. It’s designed to support a city struggling under crushing debt: Detroit owes more than $12 billion in long-term pension and benefit obligations, and as a shrinking city, it is gasping under a loss of property tax revenue even as it must provide services to over 139 square miles.

The consent agreement is nonetheless controversial: It squeaked by on a 5-4 vote and just last month, a lawsuit challenging the agreement filed by the city attorney — against the wishes of the mayor—was dismissed in court. Despite concerns about the city ceding control to the state — which, for many residents, echoes morally bankrupt urban renewal polices of the 20th century that decimated neighborhoods of primarily African-American and immigrant communities — the agreement sidesteps receivership, which would put all power to sell assets, eliminate departments and gut contracts into the hands of an appointee of the governor. (This would be under Michigan’s new emergency management law, which continues to make national headlines.) Relying on private groups like Midtown, Inc. makes it possible for the city of Detroit to avoid some of the most immediate and painful consequences of its financial problems.

In Cleveland, the city’s credit rating on $248 million of debt was downgraded one notch last year by Fitch Ratings: The concerns came down to the city’s lack of savings, combined with its shrinking population and lethargic economy. According to the Plain-Dealer, the city “has been borrowing about $30 million a year with general obligation bonds to pay for city projects and improvements.”

Representatives of both UCI and Midtown, Inc. told me that they are not interested in replacing City Hall, even as they take the lead on many of its services. Rather, they mean to work mutually. Mosey calls Detroit’s Department of Public Works a particularly important partner and ally to, for example, facilitate street repaving and administer streetscape and greenway funds. Ronayne is careful to call UCI’s work “adjunct, or additive to city services in a city that is stretched.”

“The city should look to us as a provider,” he added. “We could be agents for cities.”

As Ronayne sees it, the old world way of thinking is: Local-state-federal. That has slipped away. Now, he says, the thinking is neighborhood-regional-global.

“We can provide the very hands-on work, the eyes on the street, the corner view,” Ronayne said. “And cities need to outsource that to organizations like us, because they have bigger fires to fight.”

But if CDCs and other non-profits are going to take on more and more public services, then they have a proportional amount of responsibility to be democratically structured. That means that both transparency and meaningful community accountability are crucial.

“I believe strongly in ground-up community development,” said DeBruyn of Detroit’s Corktown. But in neighborhoods where large organizations are less intimately engaged with residents, DeBruyn has struggled to carve out avenues for effective grass-roots programs that operate outside their influence. He has tried a resident’s council, and a Better Building for Michigan initiative: “Really organic, ground-up programs.” But, he said, it “seems that institutions of influence, the foundations and powers that be, not only don’t support them, but do everything possible to actively thwart them.” If neither the CDC nor the city is making it a priority to partner with residents in the leveraging of public services and neighborhood visioning, where are the people who want to contribute to the making of their community to turn?

As an alternative, DeBruyn pointed to the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation, a thriving organization in a northwest neighborhood that is somewhat overlooked as one of Detroit’s “success stories.” It is home to more than 14,000 people, 92 percent of them African-American, most of them homeowners. At GRDC, local residents make up a well-run, well-organized management team. GRDC develops vacant homes, provides home repair for low-income residents, maintains vacant property, organizes a community safety patrol and hosts a neighborhood garden and farmer’s market. Volunteers are the fuel that makes these programs possible. And it does all this through constant engagement with its citizens: Besides employing residents in its management, it hosts well-attended open houses and community visioning sessions and shares the results online. Its board of directors is comprised entirely of neighborhood residents.

As with Midtown, Inc, UCI and CDCs across the nation, GRDC has expanded beyond the brick-and-mortar work so that it can be more responsive to a complex community. Even with a City Hall that is struggling to remain viable, GRDC has proven effective. It has facilitated more than $20 million in new investments since 1989 in an area that is barely two square miles, even though it is well outside Detroit’s main business corridor and lacks the anchor institutions that enhance Midtown and University Circle. It does this work without detaching from concrete community engagement and democratic process, with residents actively participating in the stabilization and revitalization of their neighborhood. Its example is a stark reminder that the “ends justify the means” is not a viable excuse for shifting services for the public good to systems where the public does not participate.

Thanks to Mosey’s work and that of peers like GRDC, thousands of new residents are making a home in Detroit. But as the city’s numbers continue to grow, and Detroiters make a habit of stoop-sitting and block parties, the question will be how Mosey intends to create space for these newly engaged residents — not only in Midtown’s historic homes, but also in its decision-making apparatus."
philanthropicindustrialcomplex  charitableindustrialcomplex  democracy  governance  government  detroit  cleveland  rustbelt  us  policy  politics  influence  control  power  inequality  cities  capitalism  2012  michigan 
october 2018 by robertogreco
Reasons To Be Cheerful
"I’m starting an online project here that is an continuation and extension of some writing and talks I’ve done recently.

The project will be cross-platform—some elements may appear on social media, some on a website and some might manifest as a recording or performance… much of the published material will be collected here.

What is Reasons To Be Cheerful?

I imagine, like a lot of you who look back over the past year, it seems like the world is going to Hell. I wake up in the morning, look at the paper, and go, "Oh no!" Often I’m depressed for half the day. It doesn’t matter how you voted on Brexit, the French elections or the U.S. election—many of us of all persuasions and party affiliations feel remarkably similar.

As a kind of remedy and possibly as a kind of therapy, I started collecting good news that reminded me, "Hey, there's actually some positive stuff going on!" Almost all of these initiatives are local, they come from cities or small regions who have taken it upon themselves to try something that might offer a better alternative than what exits. Hope is often local. Change begins in communities.

I will post thoughts, images and audio relating to this initiative on whichever platform seems suitable and I’ll welcome contributions from others, if they follow the guidelines I’ve set for myself.

These bits of good news tend to fall into a few categories:

Education
Health
Civic Engagement
Science/Tech
Urban/Transportation
Energy
Culture

Culture, music and the arts might include, optimistically, some of my own work and projects, but just as much I hope to promote the work of others that has a proven track record.

Why do I do this? Why take the time? Therapy, I guess, though once in awhile I meet someone who has the connections and skills but might not be aware of some of these initiatives and innovations, so I can pass the information on. I sense that not all of this is widely known.

Emulation of successful models- 4 guidelines

I laid out 4 guidelines as I collected these examples:

1. Most of the good stuff is local. It’s more bottom up, community and individually driven. There are exceptions.

2. Many examples come from all over the world, but despite the geographical and cultural distances in many cases others can adopt these ideas—these initiatives can be utilized by cultures other than where they originated.

3. Very important. All of these examples have been tried and proven to be successful. These are not merely good IDEAS; they’ve been put into practice and have produced results.

4. The examples are not one-off, isolated or human interest, feel-good stories. They’re not stories of one amazing teacher, doctor, musician or activist- they’re about initiatives that can be copied and scaled up.

If it works, copy it

For example, in an area I know something about, there was an innovative bike program in Bogota, and years later, I saw that program become a model for New York and for other places.

The Ciclovia program in Bogota"
davidbyrne  politics  urban  urbanism  bogotá  curitiba  addiction  portugal  colombia  brazil  brasil  jaimelerner  cities  society  policy  qualityoflife  economics  drugs  health  healthcare  crime  ciclovia  bikes  biking  bikesharing  activism  civics  citybike  nyc  medellín  afroreggae  vigariogeral  favelas  obesity  childabuse  education  casamantequilla  harlem  civicengagment  engagement  women'smarch  northcarolina  ingridlafleur  afrotopia  detroit  seattle  citizenuniversity  tishuanajones  sunra  afrofuturism  stlouis  vancouver  britishcolumbia  transportation  publictransit  transit  velib  paris  climatechange  bipartisanship  energy  science  technology  culture  music  art  arts  behavior  medellin 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Allied Media Conference | Allied Media Projects
"A collaborative laboratory of media-based organizing strategies

Join us for the 19th annual Allied Media Conference: June 15-18, 2017. Held every summer in Detroit, the conference brings together a vibrant and diverse community of people using media to incite change: filmmakers, radio producers, technologists, youth organizers, writers, entrepreneurs, musicians, dancers, and artists. We define "media" as anything you use to communicate with the world. You are a media-maker!

We define media-based organizing as any collaborative process that uses media, art, or technology to address the roots of problems and advances holistic solutions towards a more just and creative world.

The Allied Media Conference is a collaboratively designed event. Conference content is curated with care every year by 100+ volunteer coordinators of tracks, practice spaces, and network gatherings. The conference features over 300 hands-on workshops, panels, film screenings, Detroit tours, art and music events, strategy sessions, karaoke, bowling, collaborative art and more!"

[via Jack Cheng: http://mailchi.mp/fb17da1d60fb/207-get-ready-stay-ready?e=b44b7ebd51 ]
conferences  events  togo  detroit  sfsh  media  mediamaking  communication 
june 2017 by robertogreco
The Future of Cities – Medium
[video (embedded): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOOWk5yCMMs ]

"Organic Filmmaking and City Re-Imagining

What does “the future of cities” mean? To much of the developing world, it might be as simple as aspiring to having your own toilet, rather than sharing one with over 100 people. To a family in Detroit, it could mean having non-toxic drinking water. For planners and mayors, it’s about a lot of things — sustainability, economy, inclusivity, and resilience. Most of us can hope we can spend a little less time on our commutes to work and a little more time with our families. For a rich white dude up in a 50th floor penthouse, “the future of cities” might mean zipping around in a flying car while a robot jerks you off and a drone delivers your pizza. For many companies, the future of cities is simply about business and money, presented to us as buzzwords like “smart city” and “the city of tomorrow.”

I started shooting the “The Future of a Cities” as a collaboration with the The Nantucket Project, but it really took shape when hundreds of people around the world responded to a scrappy video I made asking for help.

Folks of all ages, from over 75 countries, volunteered their time, thoughts, work, and footage so that I could expand the scope of the piece and connect with more people in more cities. This strategy saved me time and money, but it also clarified the video’s purpose, which inspired me to put more energy into the project in order to get it right. I was reading Jan Gehl, Jane Jacobs, Edward Glaeser, etc. and getting excited about their ideas — after seeing what mattered to the people I met in person and watching contributions from those I didn’t, the video gained focus and perspective.

If I hired a production services outfit to help me film Mumbai, it would actually be a point of professional pride for the employees to deliver the Mumbai they think I want to see. If some young filmmakers offer to show me around their city and shoot with me for a day, we’re operating on another level, and a very different portrait of a city emerges. In the first scenario, my local collaborators get paid and I do my best to squeeze as much work out of the time period paid for as possible. In the second, the crew accepts more responsibility but gains ownership, hopefully leaving the experience feeling more empowered.

Architect and former mayor of Curitiba Jaime Lerner famously said “if you want creativity, take a zero off your budget. If you want sustainability, take off two zeros.” It’s been my experience that this sustainability often goes hand-in-hand with humanity, and part of what I love about working with less resources and money is that it forces you to treat people like human beings. Asking someone to work with less support or equipment, or to contribute more time for less money, requires a mutual understanding between two people. If each person can empathize for the other, it’s been my experience that we’ll feel it in the work — both in the process and on screen.

Organic filmmaking requires you to keep your crew small and your footprint light. You start filming with one idea in mind, but the idea changes each day as elements you could never have anticipated inform the bigger picture. You make adjustments and pursue new storylines. You edit a few scenes, see what’s working and what’s not, then write new scenes. Shoot those, cut them in, then go back and write more. Each part of the process talks to the other. The movie teaches itself to be a better movie. Because organic is complicated, it can be tricky to defend and difficult to scale up, but because it’s cheap and low-resource, it’s easier to experiment. Learning about the self-organizing, living cities that I did on this project informed how we made the video. And looking at poorly planned urban projects reminded me of the broken yet prevailing model for making independent film in the U.S., where so many films are bound to fail — often in a way a filmmaker doesn’t recover from — before they even begin.

Jane Jacobs said that “cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” I’ve worked on videos for companies, for the guy in the penthouse, for nobody in particular, in the developing world, with rich people and poor people, for me, for my friends, and for artists. I’m so thankful for everybody who allowed me to make this film the way we did, and I hope the parallels between filmmaking and city building — where the stakes are so much higher — aren’t lost on anyone trying to make their city a better place. We should all be involved. The most sustainable future is a future that includes us all.

“The Future of Cities” Reading List

(There’s a longer list I discovered recently from Planetizen HERE but these are the ones I got into on this project — I’m excited to read many more)

The Death and Life of American Cities by Jane Jacobs
The Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier by Edward Glaeser
Cities for People and Life Between Buildings by Jan Gehl
The Well-Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations, and Human Nature Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life by Jonathan Rose(just came out — incredible)
Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time by Jeff Speck
The City of Tomorrow: Sensors, Networks, Hackers, and the Future of Urban Life by Carlo Ratti and Matthew Claudel
Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design by Charles Montgomery
Dream Cities: Seven Urban Ideas That Shape the World by Wade Graham
Connectography: Mapping The Future of Global Civilization by Parag Khanna
Delirious New York by Rem Koolhaas
Low Life and The Other Paris by Luc Sante
A History of Future Cities by Daniel Brook
Streetfight: Handbook for the Urban Revolution by Janette Sadik-Khan and Seth Solomonow
Tactical Urbanism: Short-term Action for Long-Term Change by Mike Lydon & Anthony Garcia
Living In The Endless City, edited by Ricky Burdett and Deyan Sudjic

“The Future of Cities” Select Interviewees:
David Hertz & Sky Source
Vicky Chan & Avoid Obvious Architects
Carlo Ratti: Director, MIT Senseable City Lab Founding Partner, Carlo Ratti Associati
Edward Glaeser: Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics, Harvard University Author of The Triumph of the City
Helle Søholt: Founding Parner & CEO, Gehl Architects
Ricky Burdett: Director, LSE Cities/Urban Age
Lauren Lockwood, Chief Digital Officer, City of Boston
Pablo Viejo: Smart Cities Expert & CTO V&V Innovations, Singapore
Matias Echanove & Urbz, Mumbai
Janette Sadik-Khan: Author, Advisor, & Former NYC DOT Commissioner
Abess Makki: CEO, City Insight
Dr. Parag Khanna: Author of Connectography
Stan Gale: CEO of Gale International, Developer of Songdo IBD
Dr. Jockin Arputham: President, Slum Dwellers International
Morton Kabell: Mayor for Technical & Environmental Affairs, Copenhagen
cities  urban  urbanplanning  urbanism  bikes  biking  cars  singapore  nyc  losangeles  janejacobs  jangehl  edwardglaeser  mumbai  tokyo  regulation  jaimelerner  curitiba  nantucketproject  carloratti  vickchan  davidhertz  hellesøholt  rickyburdett  laurenlockwood  pabloviejo  matiasechanove  urbz  janettesadik-khan  abessmakki  paragkhanna  stangale  jockinarputham  slumdwellersinternational  slums  mortonkabell  urbanization  future  planning  oscarboyson  mikelydon  anthonygarcia  danielbrook  lucsante  remkoolhaas  dayansudjic  rickyburdettsethsolomonow  wadegraham  charlesmontgomery  matthewclaudeljeffspeck  jonathanrose  transportation  publictransit  transit  housing  construction  development  local  small  grassroots  technology  internet  web  online  communications  infrastructure  services  copenhagen  sidewalks  pedestrians  sharing  filmmaking  film  video  taipei  seoul  santiago  aukland  songdo  sydney  london  nairobi  venice  shenzhen  2016  sustainability  environment  population  detroit  making  manufacturing  buildings  economics  commutes  commuting 
december 2016 by robertogreco
Detroit's American Dream - Eater
"Scenes from the city’s blossoming Arab American food industry"
food  detroit  2016 
november 2016 by robertogreco
American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs | POV | PBS
[Quotes from the film (watched on Netflix), all are Grace Lee Boggs, with the exception of the one noted as being from filmmaker Grace Lee:

“The Montgomery Bus Boycott was about not only transforming the system, but an example of how we ourselves change in the process of changing the system.”

“The word power strikes white power as something dangerous, threatening, and we were only talking about blacks being in office.”

“We realized a rebellion is an outburst of anger, but it’s not a revolution. Revolution is evolution toward something much grander.”

“Ideas matter and when you take a position you should try and examine what it’s implications are. It is not enough to say, “This is what I think, this is what I feel.””

Grace Lee: “It all goes back to Hegel — for Grace, conversation is where you try to honestly confront the limits of your own ideas in order to come to a new understanding.”

“There are times when expanding our imaginations is what is required. The radical movement has overemphasized the role of activism and underestimated the role of reflection. ”

“One of the difficulties when you are coming out of oppression and out of a bitter past is that you get a concept of the Messiah and you expect too much from your leaders. And I think we have to get to that point that we are the leaders we have been looking for. One learns very soon that the changes we need are not going to come from the top by electing somebody else.”

“Why is non-violence such an important, not just a tactic, not just a strategy, but an important philosophy? Because it respects the capacity of human beings to grow. It gives them the opportunity to grow their souls. And we owe that to each other.”]

"Grace Lee Boggs, 98, is a Chinese American philosopher, writer, and activist in Detroit with a thick FBI file and a surprising vision of what an American revolution can be. Rooted for 75 years in the labor, civil rights and Black Power movements, she challenges a new generation to throw off old assumptions, think creatively and redefine revolution for our times. Winner, Audience Award, Best Documentary Feature, 2013 Los Angeles Film Festival. A co-presentation with the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM)."



"Grace Lee Boggs, 98, is a Chinese American philosopher, writer and activist in Detroit with a thick FBI file and a surprising vision of what an American revolution can be. Rooted in 75 years of the labor, civil rights and Black Power movements, she continually challenges a new generation to throw off old assumptions, think creatively and redefine revolution for our times.

Right at the start of American Revolutionary, director Grace Lee makes clear that she isn’t related to Grace Lee Boggs. She met the older woman through her earlier documentary, The Grace Lee Project, about the shared name of many Asian American women and the stereotypes associated with it. Philosopher, activist and author Grace Lee Boggs, then in her vigorous 80s and very much a part of Detroit’s social fabric, began applying a spirited analysis to the film project itself. She habitually turned the tables on the filmmaker with a grandmotherly smile that belied her firm resolve, probing the younger woman’s ideas and suggesting she consider things more deeply. Thus began a series of conversations over the next decade and beyond.

Director Grace Lee always knew she’d make a film about the woman with a radical Marxist past, intimidating intellectual achievements and enduring engagement in the issues — a sprightly activist who can gaze at a crumbling relic of a once-thriving auto plant and say, “I feel so sorry for people who are not living in Detroit.”

In some ways, the radicalization of Grace Lee Boggs typifies an experience many people shared during America’s turbulent 20th century. Yet she cut an extraordinary path through decades of struggle. As Angela Davis, an icon of the 1960s Black Power movement, puts it, “Grace has made more contributions to the black struggle than most black people have.” Actor Danny Glover and numerous Detroit comrades, plus archival footage featuring Bill Moyers, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee and Boggs’ late husband and fellow radical, James Boggs, all testify to Boggs’ highly unusual position.

How a smart, determined, idealistic Chinese American woman became a civil rights movement fixture from its earliest post-war days and, later, a spokesperson for Black Power (often the only non-black — and only woman — in a roomful of unapologetic activists planning for a revolution they believed inevitable) is a riveting and revealing tale.

American Revolutionary shows that Boggs got in on the action — and the action got going — long before the turbulent 1960s. As she reminds a group of students, “I got my Ph.D. in 1940. Just imagine that.” Born in 1915 in Providence, R.I. to Chinese immigrants who moved to New York and prospered in the restaurant trade — Chin Lee’s opened in Manhattan in 1924 — she grew up relatively privileged and excelled at the nearly all-white Bryn Mawr and Barnard Colleges.

Then two things happened. First, she read the works of German philosopher Hegel, the founder of “dialectical thinking” whose work influenced Marxism, which steered her into philosophy and a more critical stance toward society. Then, after finishing school with doctorate in hand, she found herself blocked by “We don’t hire Orientals” signs. So she took a train to Chicago, where she found a job at the University of Chicago’s philosophy library and an apartment on the South Side and began organizing her new neighborhood against rat-infested housing.

The rest is a people’s history of the American left. American Revolutionary deftly follows Boggs’ path from her first community campaign — as a tenants’ rights organizer — through the 1941 March on Washington movement, which demanded jobs for African Americans in defense plants; her mentorship under the West Indian Marxist writer and theorist C.L.R. James; her move to Detroit; her 1953 marriage to Alabama-born James Boggs (auto worker and author of The American Revolution: Pages From a Negro Worker’s Notebook); her split with orthodox Marxism in favor of Black revolution; her preference for the ideas of Malcolm X over those of Martin Luther King, Jr.; and her emergence as a spokesperson for Black Power.

Along the way, she studied, wrote influential books, engaged in protest and, together with her husband (who died in 1993), discovered increasing tolerance for what they saw as revolutionary violence in the face of violent repression. Then Detroit exploded in the 1967 riots, which, as American Revolutionary reveals, were watershed events for Boggs. Indeed, she instructed PBS’s Bill Moyers to call them “a rebellion.” After a short period of community solidarity, disorder and lawlessness took over the streets. Rebellion did not become revolution. Boggs and her husband began to reexamine their ideas in the light of experience. Though there are many who would argue with her, and she’d be ready for the argument, Boggs has maintained her dedication to humanist and even radical ideals, while tempering her understanding of revolution as an evolutionary process.

Grace Lee Boggs can feel hopeful about Detroit not despite the city’s unstable financial and social condition but because of it. She retains the radical’s abiding faith that a new way of living can dawn. “We are in a time of great hope and great danger,” she tells Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman. Yet, as American Revolutionary chronicles, this faith has also been tempered by mistakes, lost battles, unintended consequences, age itself and the sheer evolutionary force of social change. “It’s hard when you’re young to understand how reality is constantly changing because it hasn’t changed that much during your lifetime,” says Boggs. Still, channeling Hegel, she challenges people to “not get stuck in old ideas. Keep recognizing that reality is changing and that your ideas have to change.”

Boggs’ approach is radical in its simplicity and clarity: Revolution is not an act of aggression or merely a protest. Revolution, Boggs says, “is about something deeper within the human experience — the ability to transform oneself and transform the world.”

“From the moment I met Grace Lee Boggs in 2000, I knew I would have to make a longer film just about her,” says director Grace Lee. “Over the years, I would return to Detroit, hang out and watch her hold everyone from journalists to renowned activists to high school students in her thrall. I recognized myself in all of them — eager to connect with someone who seemed to embody history itself.

“This is not an issue film, nor is it about a celebrity or an urgent injustice that rallies you to take action,” she continues. “It’s about an elderly woman who spends most of her days sitting in her living room thinking and hatching ideas about the next American revolution. But if you catch wind of some of those ideas, they just might change the world.”"

[See also: http://americanrevolutionaryfilm.com/ ]
via:caseygollan  activism  civilrights  detroit  dissent  graceleeboggs  documentary  hegel  2014  gracelee  nonviolence  understanding  conversation  evolution  revolution  rebellion  anger  change  systems  systemschange 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Why the Economic Fates of America’s Cities Diverged - The Atlantic
"What accounts for these anomalous and unpredicted trends? The first explanation many people cite is the decline of the Rust Belt, and certainly that played a role."



"Another conventional explanation is that the decline of Heartland cities reflects the growing importance of high-end services and rarified consumption."



"Another explanation for the increase in regional inequality is that it reflects the growing demand for “innovation.” A prominent example of this line of thinking comes from the Berkeley economist Enrico Moretti, whose 2012 book, The New Geography of Jobs, explains the increase in regional inequality as the result of two new supposed mega-trends: markets offering far higher rewards to “innovation,” and innovative people increasingly needing and preferring each other’s company."



"What, then, is the missing piece? A major factor that has not received sufficient attention is the role of public policy. Throughout most of the country’s history, American government at all levels has pursued policies designed to preserve local control of businesses and to check the tendency of a few dominant cities to monopolize power over the rest of the country. These efforts moved to the federal level beginning in the late 19th century and reached a climax of enforcement in the 1960s and ’70s. Yet starting shortly thereafter, each of these policy levers were flipped, one after the other, in the opposite direction, usually in the guise of “deregulation.” Understanding this history, largely forgotten today, is essential to turning the problem of inequality around.

Starting with the country’s founding, government policy worked to ensure that specific towns, cities, and regions would not gain an unwarranted competitive advantage. The very structure of the U.S. Senate reflects a compromise among the Founders meant to balance the power of densely and sparsely populated states. Similarly, the Founders, understanding that private enterprise would not by itself provide broadly distributed postal service (because of the high cost of delivering mail to smaller towns and far-flung cities), wrote into the Constitution that a government monopoly would take on the challenge of providing the necessary cross-subsidization.

Throughout most of the 19th century and much of the 20th, generations of Americans similarly struggled with how to keep railroads from engaging in price discrimination against specific areas or otherwise favoring one town or region over another. Many states set up their own bureaucracies to regulate railroad fares—“to the end,” as the head of the Texas Railroad Commission put it, “that our producers, manufacturers, and merchants may be placed on an equal footing with their rivals in other states.” In 1887, the federal government took over the task of regulating railroad rates with the creation of the Interstate Commerce Commission. Railroads came to be regulated much as telegraph, telephone, and power companies would be—as natural monopolies that were allowed to remain in private hands and earn a profit, but only if they did not engage in pricing or service patterns that would add significantly to the competitive advantage of some regions over others.

Passage of the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890 was another watershed moment in the use of public policy to limit regional inequality. The antitrust movement that sprung up during the Populist and Progressive era was very much about checking regional concentrations of wealth and power. Across the Midwest, hard-pressed farmers formed the “Granger” movement and demanded protection from eastern monopolists controlling railroads, wholesale-grain distribution, and the country’s manufacturing base. The South in this era was also, in the words of the historian C. Vann Woodward, in a “revolt against the East” and its attempts to impose a “colonial economy.”"



"By the 1960s, antitrust enforcement grew to proportions never seen before, while at the same time the broad middle class grew and prospered, overall levels of inequality fell dramatically, and midsize metro areas across the South, the Midwest, and the West Coast achieved a standard of living that converged with that of America’s historically richest cites in the East. Of course, antitrust was not the only cause of the increase in regional equality, but it played a much larger role than most people realize today.

To get a flavor of how thoroughly the federal government managed competition throughout the economy in the 1960s, consider the case of Brown Shoe Co., Inc. v. United States, in which the Supreme Court blocked a merger that would have given a single distributor a mere 2 percent share of the national shoe market.

Writing for the majority, Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren explained that the Court was following a clear and long-established desire by Congress to keep many forms of business small and local: “We cannot fail to recognize Congress’ desire to promote competition through the protection of viable, small, locally owned business. Congress appreciated that occasional higher costs and prices might result from the maintenance of fragmented industries and markets. It resolved these competing considerations in favor of decentralization. We must give effect to that decision.”

In 1964, the historian and public intellectual Richard Hofstadter would observe that an “antitrust movement” no longer existed, but only because regulators were managing competition with such effectiveness that monopoly no longer appeared to be a realistic threat. “Today, anybody who knows anything about the conduct of American business,” Hofstadter observed, “knows that the managers of the large corporations do their business with one eye constantly cast over their shoulders at the antitrust division.”

In 1966, the Supreme Court blocked a merger of two supermarket chains in Los Angeles that, had they been allowed to combine, would have controlled just 7.5 percent of the local market. (Today, by contrast there are nearly 40 metro areas in the U.S where Walmart controls half or more of all grocery sales.) Writing for the majority, Justice Harry Blackmun noted the long opposition of Congress and the Court to business combinations that restrained competition “by driving out of business the small dealers and worthy men.”

During this era, other policy levers, large and small, were also pulled in the same direction—such as bank regulation, for example. Since the Great Recession, America has relearned the history of how New Deal legislation such as the Glass-Steagall Act served to contain the risks of financial contagion. Less well remembered is how New Deal-era and subsequent banking regulation long served to contain the growth of banks that were “too big to fail” by pushing power in the banking system out to the hinterland. Into the early 1990s, federal laws severely limited banks headquartered in one state from setting up branches in any other state. State and federal law fostered a dense web of small-scale community banks and locally operated thrifts and credit unions.

Meanwhile, bank mergers, along with mergers of all kinds, faced tough regulatory barriers that included close scrutiny of their effects on the social fabric and political economy of local communities. Lawmakers realized that levels of civic engagement and community trust tended to decline in towns that came under the control of outside ownership, and they resolved not to let that happen in their time.

In other realms, too, federal policy during the New Deal and for several decades afterward pushed strongly to spread regional equality. For example, New Deal programs such as the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Bonneville Power Administration, and the Rural Electrification Administration dramatically improved the infrastructure of the South and West. During and after World War II, federal spending on the military and the space program also tilted heavily in the Sunbelt’s favor.

The government’s role in regulating prices and levels of service in transportation was also a huge factor in promoting regional equality. In 1952, the Interstate Commerce Commission ordered a 10-percent reduction in railroad freight rates for southern shippers, a political decision that played a substantial role in enabling the South’s economic ascent after the war. The ICC and state governments also ordered railroads to run money-losing long-distance and commuter passenger trains to ensure that far-flung towns and villages remained connected to the national economy.

Into the 1970s, the ICC also closely regulated trucking routes and prices so they did not tilt in favor of any one region. Similarly, the Civil Aeronautics Board made sure that passengers flying to and from small and midsize cities paid roughly the same price per mile as those flying to and from the largest cities. It also required airlines to offer service to less populous areas even when such routes were unprofitable.

Meanwhile, massive public investments in the interstate-highway system and other arterial roads added enormously to regional equality. First, it vastly increased the connectivity of rural areas to major population centers. Second, it facilitated the growth of reasonably priced suburban housing around high-wage metro areas such as New York and Los Angeles, thus making it much more possible than it is now for working-class people to move to or remain in those areas.

Beginning in the late 1970s, however, nearly all the policy levers that had been used to push for greater regional income equality suddenly reversed direction. The first major changes came during Jimmy Carter’s administration. Fearful of inflation, and under the spell of policy entrepreneurs such as Alfred Kahn, Carter signed the Airline Deregulation Act in 1978. This abolished the Civil Aeronautics Board, which had worked to offer rough regional parity in airfares and levels of service since 1938… [more]
us  cities  policy  economics  history  inequality  via:robinsonmeyer  2016  philliplongman  regulation  deregulation  capitalism  trusts  antitrustlaw  mergers  competition  markets  banks  finance  ronaldreagan  corporatization  intellectualproperty  patents  law  legal  equality  politics  government  rentseeking  innovation  acquisitions  antitrustenforcement  income  detroit  nyc  siliconvalley  technology  banking  peterganong  danielshoag  1950s  1960s  1970s  1980s  1990s  greatdepression  horacegreely  chicago  denver  cleveland  seattle  atlanta  houston  saltlakecity  stlouis  enricomoretti  shermanantitrustact  1890  cvannwoodward  woodrowwilson  1912  claytonantitrustact  louisbrandeis  federalreserve  minneapolis  kansascity  robinson-patmanact  1920s  1930s  miller-tydingsact  fdr  celler-kefauveract  emanuelceller  huberhumphrey  earlwarren  richardhofstadter  harryblackmun  newdeal  interstatecommercecommission  jimmycarter  alfredkahn  airlinederegulationact  1978  memphis  cincinnati  losangeles  airlines  transportation  rail  railroads  1980  texas  florida  1976  amazon  walmart  r 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Place Lab
"A catalyst for mindful urban transformation and creative redevelopment for equitable and livable cities.

Place Lab is a team of professionals from the diverse fields of law, urban planning, architecture, design, social work, arts administration, and gender and cultural studies. The think tank is a partnership between Arts + Public Life, an initiative of UChicago Arts, and the Harris School of Public Policy. Led by renowned artist and University of Chicago faculty member Theaster Gates, this joint enterprise merges Chicago Harris’ Cultural Policy Center’s commitment to cultural policy and evidence-based analysis with Place Lab’s work at Arts + Public Life on arts- and culture-led neighborhood transformation.

Over the course of three years, the team works to document and demonstrate urban ethical redevelopment strategies initiated through arts and culture. Place Lab is based in Chicago, extending much of the team’s project management, design, programming, real estate, community building, and documentation acumen towards advancing arts and culture place-based projects on the mid-South Side of Chicago.

Place Lab observes the spaces that Gates reimagines, supports their programmatic activation, captures methods, and shares findings with the partnering demonstration cities of Gary, Akron, Detroit, and other Knight Communities. This work situates artists and creatives in conversations about the urban context. To effectuate policy change, Place Lab amplifies artistic innovators as civic leaders. In order for cities to develop in mindful and equitable ways, artists must be integrated into shaping neighborhoods and public spaces."
placelab  chicago  theastergates  urban  urbanism  architecture  urbanplanning  socialwork  art  arts  culture  cities  redevelopment  gary  detroit  akron  ohio  michigan  indiana 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Go Back to School With Mike Kelley's "Educational Complex" | Art for Sale | Artspace
"Though he has been based in Los Angeles since 1976, Mike Kelley’s birthplace of Detroit has always been a locus of his practice, as has his working method of creating psychologically charged architecture—as scale models and as life size environments—for chaotic, often scatological accumulations of personal memories and cultural detritus. Examples include works in which an imagined territory gives structure to a larger narrative, as with the landscape photographs in Three Valleys (1980) or the drawings in Monkey Island (1982-83); sculptural landscapes composed of found children’s blankets and pathetic pre-owned dolls or pet toys, such as Mooner or Arena 5 (both 1990); and the sock monkeys and related stuffed animals grouped and organized on generic industrial work tables in Craft Morphology Flow Chart (1991).

Kelley’s integration of personal, architectural, and cultural memory reached its apotheosis in 1995 with Educational Complex. In American culture of the 1980s and 1990s, the suburban school became a territory heavily charged with symbolism in the wake of several high-profile school shootings and child-abuse cases. Locations such as Columbine, Colorado, and Manhattan Beach, California—home of the McMartin preschool, another subject of Kelley’s—are indelibly etched in the American psyche as painful examples of aggression or “repressed memory syndrome” incubated in neighborhoods that had once held promise for upwardly mobile families fleeing the inner city. In Kelley’s work, this dark and paranoid side of American culture is exploited and filtered through the artist’s own memories of his childhood experiences in Detroit, one of the most economically blighted cities in the United States. Like other American artists, such as Paul McCarthy, who mines the territory of his own Mormon upbringing, or Matthew Barney, who has used the American West as the cinematic backdrop for his epic films, Kelley is interested in icons of the benign relics of his own psyche—in his case, the wishing well, the office, the museum, the classroom.

In 1995, addressing what he calls his “bias against architecture” Kelley created Educational Complex, a tabletop model that delineates the psychogeography of his childhood by reconstructing from memory the schools he attended and the house in which he grew up. “Buildings that I had occupied almost every day for years could barely be recalled. The teachers, courses and activities held within them are a vast undifferentiated swamp.” Generated through a process of drawing and modeling, the complex of structures was a combination of excavation and spatialization of memory. Classrooms, hallways and offices were recalled, drawn, and then matched to actual floorplans. The resulting form became a conflation of the two.

The gaps in memory—the lapses and repressed moments—are represented by actual blanks in the architecture of the model, spaces filled in. Doors recalled as opening on the left are represented as doing so on the right, while other mistakes are left uncorrected, representing what Anthony Vidler has called “a nostalgia for the homely.” As Kelley has said, “In utopian projects, moral and aesthetic dimensions are presented, often openly and dramatically, as mirrors of each other. Of course, my project is a perversion of such an attitude: I present an obviously dystopian architecture, reflecting our true, chaotic social conditions, rather than some idealized dream of wholeness.”"

[See also: http://aaaaarg.fail/thing/55a76208334fe06cd8fdc2cd]]

"One of the most influential artists of our time, Mike Kelley (1954--2012) produced a body of innovative work mining American popular culture as well as modernist and postmodernist art -- relentless examinations of subjectivity and of society that are both sinister and ecstatic. With a wide range of media, Kelley's work explores themes as varied as post-punk politics, religious systems, social class, and repressed memory. Using architectural models to represent schools he attended, his 1995 work, Educational Complex, presents forgotten spaces as frames for private trauma, real or imagined. The work's implications are at once miniature and massive. In this book, John Miller offers an illustrated examination of this milestone work that marked a significant change in Kelley's practice. A "complex" can mean an architectural configuration, a psychological syndrome, or a political apparatus, and Miller approaches Educational Complex through corresponding lines of inquiry, considering the making of the work, examining it in terms of education and trauma (sexual or otherwise), and investigating how it tests the ideological horizon of art as an institution. Miller shows that in Educational Complex, Kelley expands his political and aesthetic focus, including not only such artifacts as generic forms of architecture but (inspired by the infamous McMartin Preschool case) popular fantasies associated with ritual sex abuse and false memory syndrome. Through this archaeology of the contemporary, Miller argues, Kelley examines the mandate for education and the liberal democratic premises underpinning it."]
mikekelley  art  architecture  childhood  schools  memory  1995  psychogeography  detroit  2015  buildings 
september 2015 by robertogreco
Bill Moyers Journal . Watch & Listen | PBS
"GRACE LEE BOGGS: Well, I had no idea what I was gonna do after I got my degree in philosophy in 1940. But what I did know was at that time, if you were a Chinese-American, even department stores wouldn't hire you. They'd come right out and say, "We don't hire Orientals." And so the idea of my getting a job teaching in a university and so forth was really ridiculous. And I went to Chicago and I got a job in the philosophy library there for $10 a week, And so I found a little old Jewish woman right near the university who took pity on me and said I could stay in her basement rent-free. The only obstacle was that I had to face down a barricade of rats in order to get into her basement. And at that time, in the black communities, they were beginning to protest and struggle against rat-infested housing. So I joined one of the tenants' organizations and thereby came in touch with the black community for the first time in my life.

BILL MOYERS: One of her first heroes in that community was A. Philip Randolph, the charismatic labor leader who had won a long struggle to organize black railroad porters. In the 1930s. on the eve of World War II, Randolph was furious that blacks were being turned away from good paying jobs in the booming defense plants.

When he took his argument to F.D.R., the president was sympathetic but reluctant to act. Proclaiming that quote 'power is the active principle of only the organized masses,' Randolph called for a huge march on Washington to shame the president. It worked. F.D.R. backed down and signed an order banning discrimination in the defense industry. All over America blacks moved from the countryside into the cities to take up jobs — the first time in 400 years — says Grace Lee Boggs, that black men could bring home a regular paycheck.

GRACE LEE BOGGS: And when I saw what a movement could do, I said, "Boy, that's what I wanna do with my life."

GRACE LEE BOGGS: It was just amazing. I mean, how you have to take advantage of a crisis in the system and in the government and also press to meet the needs of the people who are struggling for dignity. I mean, that's very tricky.

BILL MOYERS: It does take moral force to make political decisions possible.

GRACE LEE BOGGS: Yeah. and I think that too much of our emphasis on struggle has simply been in terms of confrontation and not enough recognition of how much spiritual and moral force is involved in the people who are struggling.

BILL MOYERS: Well, that's true. But power never gives up anything voluntarily. People have to ask for it. They have to demand it. They have-to--

GRACE LEE BOGGS: Well, you know as Douglas said, "Power yields nothing without a struggle." But how one struggles I think is now a very challenging question.

BILL MOYERS: She would learn a lot more about struggle from the man she married in 1952 — Jimmy Boggs, a radical activist, organizer, and writer. They couldn't have been outwardly more different — he was a black man, an auto worker and she was a Chinese-American, college educated philosopher — but they were kindred spirits, and their marriage lasted four decades until his death.

GRACE LEE BOGGS: I think that I owe a great deal of my rootedness to Jimmy because he learned to write and become a writer because in his illiterate community nobody could read and write. He picked cotton, and then went to work in Detroit. He saw himself as having been part of one epoch, the agriculture epoch, and now the industrial epoch, and now the post-industrial epoch. I think that's a very important part of what we need in this country, is that sense that we have lived through so many stages, and that we are entering into a new stage where we could create something completely different. Jimmy had that feeling. "



"BILL MOYERS: And you think that this question of work was at the heart of what happened-- or it was part of what happened in Detroit that summer?

GRACE LEE BOGGS: I don't think it's that they were conscious of it, but I thought-- what I saw happen was that young people who recognized that working in the factory was what had allowed their parents to buy a house, to raise a family, to get married, to send their kids to school, that was eroding. They felt that-- no one cares anymore.

GRACE LEE BOGGS: And what we tried to do is explain that a rebellion is righteous, because it's the protest by a people against injustice, because of unrighteous situation, but it's not enough. You have to go beyond rebellion. And it was amazing, a turning point in my life, because until that time, I had not made a distinction between a rebellion and revolution. And it forced us to begin thinking, what does a revolution mean? How does it relate to evolution?"



"BILL MOYERS: The conundrum for me is this; The war in Vietnam continued another seven years after Martin Luther King's great speech at Riverside here in New York City on April 4th, 1967. His moral argument did not take hold with the powers-that-be.

GRACE LEE BOGGS: I don't expect moral arguments to take hold with the powers-that-be. They are in their positions of power. They are part of the system. They are part of the problem.

BILL MOYERS: Then do moral arguments have any force if they--

GRACE LEE BOGGS: Of course they do.

BILL MOYERS: If they can be so heedlessly ignored?

GRACE LEE BOGGS: I think because we depend too much on the government to do it. I think we're not looking sufficiently at what is happening at the grassroots in the country. We have not emphasized sufficiently the cultural revolution that we have to make among ourselves in order to force the government to do differently. Things do not start with governments--

BILL MOYERS: But wars do.

GRACE LEE BOGGS: There's big changes--

BILL MOYERS: Wars do. Wars do.

GRACE LEE BOGGS: Wars do. But positive changes leaps forward in the evolution of human kind, do not start with governments. I think that's what the Civil Rights Movement taught us.

BILL MOYERS: But Martin Luther King was ignored then on the war. In fact, the last few years of his life, as he was moving beyond the protest in the South, and the end of official segregation, he was largely ignored if not ridiculed for his position on economic equality. Upon doing something about poverty. And, in fact, many civil rights leaders, as you remember, Grace, condemned him for mixing foreign policy with civil rights. They said; That's not what we should be about.

GRACE LEE BOGGS: But see, what I hear in what you're saying is a separation of the anti-war speech of the peace trajectory, from the other things that Martin said. He was talking about a radical revolution of values. And that radical revolution of values has not been pursued in the last forty years. The consumerism, and materialism, has gotten worse. The militarism has continued, while people are going around, you know just using their credit cards. All that's been taking place. And so, would he have continued to challenge those? I think he would. But on the whole, our society has not been challenging those, except in small pockets.

BILL MOYERS: He said that the three triplets of society in America were; Racism, consumerism or materialism and militarism. And you're saying those haven't changed.

GRACE LEE BOGGS: I'm saying that not only have those not changed, but people have isolated the struggles against each of these from the other. They have not seen that they're part of one whole of a radical revolution of values that we all must undergo. "



"BILL MOYERS: Yes, but where is the sign of the movement today?

GRACE LEE BOGGS: I believe that we are at the point now, in the United States, where a movement is beginning to emerge. I think that the calamity, the quagmire of the Iraq war, the outsourcing of jobs, the drop-out of young people from the education system, the monstrous growth of the prison-industrial complex, the planetary emergency, which we are engulfed at the present moment, is demanding that instead of just complaining about these things, instead of just protesting about these things, we begin to look for, and hope for, another way of living. And I think that's where the movement -- I see a movement beginning to emerge, 'cause I see hope beginning to trump despair.

BILL MOYERS: Where do you see the signs of it?

GRACE LEE BOGGS: I see the signs in the various small groups that are emerging all over the place to try and regain our humanity in very practical ways. For example in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Will Allen, who is a former basketball player has purchased two and a half acres of land, with five greenhouses on it, and he is beginning to grow food, healthy food for his community. And communities are growing up around that idea. I mean, that's a huge change in the way that we think of the city. I mean, the things we have to restore are so elemental. Not just food, and not just healthy food, but a different way of relating to time and history and to the earth.

BILL MOYERS: And a garden does that for you?

GRACE LEE BOGGS: Yes. A garden does all sorts of things. It helps young people to relate to the Earth in a different way. It helps them to relate to their elders in a different way. It helps them to think of time in a different way.

BILL MOYERS: How so?

GRACE LEE BOGGS: Well, if we just press a button, and you think that's the key to reality, you're in a hell of a mess of a human being."



"BILL MOYERS: You know, a lot of young people out there would agree with your analysis. With your diagnosis. And then they will say; What can I do that's practical? How do I make the difference that Grace Lee Boggs is taking about. What would you be doing?

GRACE LEE BOGGS: I would say do something local. Do something real, however, small. And don't diss the political things, but understand their limitations.

BILL MOYERS: Don't 'diss' them?

GRACE LEE BOGGS: Disrespect them.

BILL MOYERS: Disrespect them?

GRACE LEE BOGGS: Understand their … [more]
via:jackcheng  2007  graceleeboggs  activism  gardens  gardening  civilrightsmovement  us  prisonindustrialcomplex  education  climatechange  protest  change  revolution  democracy  struggle  rebellion  racism  socialism  occupation  riots  righteousness  injustice  justice  martinlutherkingjr  jimmyboggs  aphiliprandolph  detroit  evolution  changemaking  consumerism  materialism  militarism  vietnamwar  morality  power  grassroots  war  economics  poverty  government  systemsthinking  values  christianity  philosophy  karlmarx  marxism  humanevolution  society  labor  local  politics  discussion  leadership  mlk 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Why the media don't get Detroit--and why it matters : Columbia Journalism Review
"Coverage of declining cities is too often simplistic and lacking historical context"



"truggling cities are often found in the Rust Belt, far removed from national media concentrated along the coasts. Coverage tends to be sporadic, and centers on their most glaring failures. The narratives that emerge are of ghost towns and zombie subdivisions. These stories are compelling and based on real hardships. But they typically do little to explain how the cities got that way, let alone what’s possible in terms of reversing their fortunes.

In some larger cities such as Buffalo and Cleveland, meanwhile, the idea of renewal has begun to drive more of the media storyline. Such rosy analyses typically lack historical or geographical context, focusing on one neighborhood or one segment of the population at a time. Micro-developers may have bought up a handful of vacant homes, and new businesses may be sprouting in downtown areas. But such developments are happening amid a large, diverse metro area; their impact is easily overstated. They are not typically the indicators of wholesale resurrection that they become in a news story."



‘Population loss, poverty, isolation—all these things are happening simultaneously,’ says Stephen Henderson. ‘It’s really difficult to just pop in and grasp that complexity.’



"“Population loss, poverty, isolation—all these things are happening simultaneously,” said Stephen Henderson, editorial-page editor of the Detroit Free Press, whose columns on Detroit were awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. Poverty is fundamentally different in shrinking cities like Detroit than it is in New York or Washington, he added. “It’s hard to understand how big the city is and how that wreaks havoc on economic opportunity, especially for poor people. It’s really difficult to just pop in and grasp that complexity.”

Recent coverage has showcased Detroit’s “booming bike industry” and a luxury watch company, among other vibrant, if relatively small, businesses. Motown was described as a “culinary oasis” and “the Bar City of the Year.” Such monolithic descriptions of Detroit are similar to reporters’ characterization of Brooklyn, where the artisanal doings in a handful of neighborhoods in a borough of 2.6 million people drive the media’s narrative. “When you go to Slows Bar BQ”—a popular spot in the Corktown neighborhood—“and then make Pollyanna statements about how Detroit is a food oasis, that’s almost as unhelpful as all those jokes for all those years,” said Michael Jackman, managing editor of the Detroit weekly Metro Times. “It’s like a pat on the head for being a plucky little city.”

The way stories spread online only accentuates this black-white treatment, as social media generally reward extremes. My own Guardian feature on Detroit, in which I profiled an urban planner grappling with whether to move elsewhere, was eventually titled, “The death of a great American city: Why does anybody live in Detroit?” I was proud of the piece’s depth; I was also proud that it garnered nearly 700 comments and 10,000 social shares. While that exposure wouldn’t have been possible without a sensational headline, I can’t say what readers took away—the headline or my reporting.

A similar example can be gleaned from the popular website Business Insider, where a straight-laced Associated Press story about United Airlines ending service to Atlantic City ran beneath a particularly loud headline: “Here’s Another Sign That Atlantic City Is Dying.” That line of thinking, which has dominated coverage of the New Jersey town this year, doesn’t sit well with Kris Worrell, executive editor of The Press of Atlantic City.

“As a breed, [journalists] have a healthy dose of skepticism,” she told me. “And certainly if government officials argued that a place or company or any institution were perfect and happy, we would question that. My issue is that we don’t apply that same level scrutiny to the opposite extreme, when something is painted in negative terms. We know, when we think about it, neither of those extremes is true.”

That goes for any place that faces decline, from Atlantic City to Detroit. The reason the latter hasn’t died is that countless people who love the city have fought like hell to save it. Their victories are real, but so are the massive challenges that remain. Understanding and respecting such contradictions is crucial for reporters who set out to explain what went wrong—as well as what’s going right."
detroit  cities  inequality  poverty  2015  daviduberti  annetrubek  complexity  stephenhenderson  atlanticcity  economics  rustbelt 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit
"The MOCAD Teen Council is a select group of young creatives from metro Detroit and the surrounding areas. These teens come together to plan, and with the help of museum professionals, produce programming for youth and adults here at the MOCAD."

[See also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjmdkxT1vSc ]

[via: https://medium.com/why-2015-wont-suck/2-you-will-summer-in-detroit-91e6f0e0cb96

"But more than brick and mortar, what makes Detroit’s creative atmosphere special are programs truly investing in the city, like MOCAD’s Teen Council. Select high school students win yearlong mentorships with contemporary art pros and, as a group, they design and produce museum programming of their choice. No doubt, these are America’s coolest docents."]
mocad  detroit  art  museums  museumeducation  curation  curating  teens  youth 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Detroit's young gentrifiers face a daunting task in buying $500 homes: evicting poor residents | Money | The Guardian
"Over 100,000 Detroiters are at risk of losing their homes as the city sells off its stock of tax foreclosures. Young gentrifiers are buying the properties -- but some are queasy about it"
detroit  gentrification  foreclosures  displacement  eviction  2014  housing 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Solarpunk: Notes toward a manifesto | Project Hieroglyph
"It’s hard out here for futurists under 30.

As we percolated through our respective nations’ education systems, we were exposed to WorldChanging and TED talks, to artfully-designed green consumerism and sustainable development NGOs. Yet we also grew up with doomsday predictions slated to hit before our expected retirement ages, with the slow but inexorable militarization of metropolitan police departments, with the failure of the existing political order to deal with the existential-but-not-yet-urgent threat of climate change. Many of us feel it’s unethical to bring children into a world like ours. We have grown up under a shadow, and if we sometimes resemble fungus it should be taken as a credit to our adaptability.

We’re solarpunks because the only other options are denial or despair.

The promises offered by most Singulatarians and Transhumanists are individualist and unsustainable: How many of them are scoped for a world where energy is not cheap and plentiful, to say nothing of rare earth elements?

Solarpunk is about finding ways to make life more wonderful for us right now, and more importantly for the generations that follow us – i.e., extending human life at the species level, rather than individually. Our future must involve repurposing and creating new things from what we already have (instead of 20th century “destroy it all and build something completely different” modernism). Our futurism is not nihilistic like cyberpunk and it avoids steampunk’s potentially quasi-reactionary tendencies: it is about ingenuity, generativity, independence, and community.

And yes, there’s a -punk there, and not just because it’s become a trendy suffix. There’s an oppositional quality to solarpunk, but it’s an opposition that begins with infrastructure as a form of resistance. We’re already seeing it in the struggles of public utilities to deal with the explosion in rooftop solar. “Dealing with infrastructure is a protection against being robbed of one’s self-determination,” said Chokwe Lumumba, the late mayor of Jackson, MS, and he was right. Certainly there are good reasons to have a grid, and we don’t want it to rot away, but one of the healthy things about local resilience is that it puts you in a much better bargaining position against the people who might want to shut you off (We’re looking at you, Detroit).

Solarpunk punkSolarpunk draws on the ideal of Jefferson’s yeoman farmer, Ghandi’s ideal of swadeshi and subsequent Salt March, and countless other traditions of innovative dissent. (FWIW, both Ghandi and Jefferson were inventors.)

The visual aesthetics of Solarpunk are open and evolving. As it stands, it’s a mash-up of the following:

• 1800s age-of-sail/frontier living (but with more bicycles)
• Creative reuse of existing infrastructure (sometimes post-apocalyptic, sometimes present-weird)
• Jugaad-style innovation from the developing world
• High-tech backends with simple, elegant outputs

Obviously, the further you get into the future, the more ambitious you can get. In the long-term, solarpunk takes the images we’ve been fed by bright-green blogs and draws them out further, longer, and deeper. Imagine permaculturists thinking in cathedral time. Consider terraced irrigation systems that also act as fluidic computers. Contemplate the life of a Department of Reclamation officer managing a sparsely populated American southwest given over to solar collection and pump storage. Imagine “smart cities” being junked in favor of smart citizenry.

Tumblr lit up within the last week from this post envisioning a form of solar punk with an art nouveau Edwardian-garden aesthetic, which is gorgeous and reminds me of Miyazaki. There’s something lovely in the way it reacts against the mainstream visions of overly smooth, clean, white modernist iPod futures. Solarpunk is a future with a human face and dirt behind its ears."

[via: https://twitter.com/jqtrde/status/519152576797745153 ]
solarpunk  future  futures  jugaad  green  frontier  bikes  biking  technology  imagination  nearfuture  detroit  worldchanging  ted  ngos  sustainability  singularitarianism  individuality  cyberpunk  steampunk  ingenuity  generativity  independence  community  punk  infrastucture  resistance  solar  chokwelumumba  resilience  thomasjefferson  yeomen  ghandi  swadeshi  invention  hacking  making  makers  hackers  reuse  repurposing  permaculture  adamflynn  denial  despair  optimism  cando  posthumanism  transhumanism  chokweantarlumumba 
october 2014 by robertogreco
The Charter School Profiteers | Jacobin
[part one here: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/07/no-excuses-in-new-orleans/ ]

"My interactions with this “ordinary hero” were limited. The most memorable instance occurred during a school staff meeting last May.

Kilgore had been gone from the school for a year and a half, but his influence was still pronounced. When he left for Skillman, the board never appointed a new superintendent, instead promoting the chief academic officer to interim superintendent. This move left the school’s leadership in limbo and meant many on staff continued to view Kilgore as an authority. Nobody batted an eyelash when he occasionally called staff meetings, like this one in May.

Adding to the confusion of Kilgore’s consistent behind-the-scene machinations were rumors that he was still being paid by the school. And so at the meeting, feeling frustrated by all I was witnessing, I decided to ask. We locked eyes, more or less, and without a moment’s pause Kilgore flatly denied being on payroll during his leave of absence. “No, I’m not,” he said matter-of-factly before flashing the room his electric smile. He continued with the next line on the agenda.

Needing to return to my classroom for a meeting with a parent, I got up a few minutes later. As I made my way towards the back of the gym, Kilgore stopped me. “Lady in red!” he called out. I had been on staff for three years, and he did not know my name.

“For transparency,” he began, stressing the second word. “I just want to say I am not on payroll, but my consulting company is.”

The words “consulting company” hung in the air, but no further explanation was given. What the company did, or even what it was called, remained a mystery. That August I sent in a Freedom of Information Act to the school’s board and lawyer."



"In 2007, while he was running PEC, Kilgore founded Transitions Consultants, LLC (and its counterpart, Transitions Employment Services, LLC) with fraternity brother Jegede Idowu and businessman Kareim Cade. At the time Kilgore was PEC’s superintendent, Idowu was PEC’s chief financial officer, and Cade worked for Colonial Life, a supplemental insurance provider used by PEC.

With the founding of Transitions, Kilgore extended and broadened his entrepreneurial reach in the booming charter sector. From school leader to consultant, Kilgore positioned himself as the head of a for-profit EMO providing services to competing schools.

Peddling a five-phase plan that decreased in price as schools transitioned to self-management, Transitions landed contracts for the 2008-9 school year with George Washington Carver Academy (GWCA) and its neighborhood competitor, Northpointe Academy. Both schools had track records of low academic performance, and GWCA had recently been dropped by its authorizer, Central Michigan University. When Transitions came along, both schools were chartered by the bankrupt and swamped Highland Park School District — which was most likely attracted to the 3 percent per-pupil fee it was entitled to as authorizer. Desperate for transformation, the GWCA was drawn to Transitions’ seemingly attractive business model and ostensibly successful founders. It seemed too good to be true.

And it was. By the end of year one, the academy was still in terrible academic shape. As the management company prepared for its second year with the school, rumors circulated about financial challenges and an inability to pay teachers in a timely fashion.

After a disappointing meeting in August 2009 where Kilgore announced pay would be late by two weeks, the frustrated teachers attempted to form a union. Threatened or simply unwilling to countenance opposition, Transitions Consultants, LLC gave their sixty-day notice of contract termination that September. In board meeting minutes from that month they cite “teacher tension” as one of the reasons. The school year had just begun.

What should have been a clean break was anything but. In November, Transitions sued GWCA for over $230,000 in unpaid invoices. The for-profit EMO felt entitled to the monies not because of a contractual obligation, but because the school had not objected to the invoices in a reasonable amount of time.

Reviewing board meeting minutes from that time period, questions about unnecessary, exorbitant, and disorganized billing arise time and again.

For example, in August, a Transitions employee, Carlos Johnson, (who has also been contracted by PEC over the years) ran a marketing campaign for the school by handing out postcards and t-shirts at a booth in downtown Detroit. Transitions invoiced GWCA $30,000 for the weekend marketing stint. When asked about remaining funds at an October 12 board meeting, Johnson said he would get back to the school. There is no documentation of him following up.

At a budget meeting on October 20, it is revealed that GPS Educational Services (a company Transitions contracted for special education services that has also been contracted by PEC) invoiced the school for $200,000, even though the school budget allocated only $111,000 for their services.

At the same meeting, Carmella Hardin, an independent accountant who GWCA hired after Transitions gave notice, recommends the discontinuation of the electronic signature feature because while reviewing the books she noticed, “Checks were being cut without approval and duplicate invoices were being entered and paid.”

With GWCA and Transitions battling over money, the school’s day-to-day responsibilities of educating kids took a backseat. Board meeting minutes from the time period show a slew of angry parents, guardians, and educators vocalizing concern."
education  corruption  forprofit  detroit  oney  privatization  edreform  consultants  graft  2014  alliegross  tfa  neoliberalism  teachforamerica  charterschools 
july 2014 by robertogreco
“No Excuses” in New Orleans | Jacobin
[via: http://tinyletter.com/audreywatters/letters/hack-education-weekly-newsletter-no-70]

[part 2 here: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/07/the-charter-school-profiteers/ ]

"Extensive observational research one of us conducted (Sondel) in two of these “No Excuses” schools (an elementary KIPP school and a locally based middle school modeled after KIPP) provides evidence that assessment data is no longer the proxy for educational quality but has in fact become the purpose of schooling itself.

At both schools, as is the case in many “No Excuses” charters in New Orleans, the principals were white males, under the age of thirty, and TFA alumni. TFA corps members and alumni also constituted five of the six collective administrators and over 60 percent of the instructional staff.

With few exceptions, the curriculum was characterized by a narrow interpretation of state standards at the expense of all other material. Students rarely learned local history or current events. Instead, science and social studies were relegated to ancillary classes in the elementary school and reduced to the accumulation of vocabulary and lists of facts at the middle school. Teachers stopped introducing new material a month prior to state assessments in order to begin review.

This curriculum was delivered almost exclusively through direct instruction — what TFA corps members refer to as the “five step lesson plan,” and educator and philosopher Paulo Freire calls “banking education,” wherein students are treated as passive and empty receptacles into which information can be deposited. In nearly every lesson Sondel observed, teachers stood in front of students to introduce new content or an isolated skill, after which students were asked to parrot, practice, and then perform their newly acquired knowledge on worksheets and multiple-choice assessments. There were no student debates, projects, or science experiments.

In a literacy lesson, for example, a teacher started by reviewing the definitions of figurative language. The teacher then projected on the Smartboard sentence after sentence, poem after poem, and, finally, a short story while students raised their hands and waited to be called on to identify idioms, similes, and personification.

After this series of questions and answers, the students sat silently at their desks, read four short passages, and identified figurative language on multiple-choice questions. The students were not asked to read the poem, analyze the story, or discuss the purpose of metaphors. After the lesson, upon being asked if students practice this skill in their independent reading or writing activities, the teacher responded, “You know the problem with that is then they have a difficult time identifying metaphors on the test.”

Perhaps because there was little inherently interesting or relevant to students about the curriculum or the classroom activities, teachers often attempted to control rather than engage students in lessons.

There were, for example, specific expectations about where students should put their hands, which direction they should turn their heads, how they should stand, and how they should sit — practices referred to at one school as SLANT (Sit up, Listen, Ask and Answer Questions, Nod, and Track the Speaker) and at the other as SPARK (Sit up straight, Pay attention, Ask and answer questions, React to show I’m following along, Keep tracking the speaker). Students were kept silent, or what teachers called “level zero,” through most of the day.

Silence seemed to be especially important in the hallways. At the sound of each bell at the middle school, students were expected to line up at “level zero” with their faces forward and hands behind their backs and, when given permission, step into the hallway and onto strips of black duct tape. There they waited for the command of an administrator: “Duke, you can move to your next class! Tulane, you can walk when you show me that you are ready!”

Students then marched until they reached the STOP sign on the floor, where their teacher checked them for hallway position before giving them permission to continue around the corner. Throughout this process, students moved counter-clockwise around the perimeter of the hallway (even if they were going to a classroom one door to the left).

This system of control was administered through intricate systems of reward and punishment. Elementary students received and lost stars for each “behavioral infraction.” In one classroom, a teacher circulated the room with a timer in her hand while students read silently. Every three minutes, after the buzzer, she put a single goldfish on the desk of each student who had remained silent. In another classroom, a teacher silently glared at a student and then typed into his iPhone, which was connected through Class Dojo — an online behavior management system — to his Smartboard. Numbers would increase and decrease on little avatars representing each student.

At the middle school, stars matured into fake money that students could use to buy access to brass band and spoken word performances. When they were not compliant, or did not have enough money to attend the weekly celebration, they were sent to the “behavior intervention room,” where they were expected to copy a piece of text word for word on lined paper. One particular afternoon, the text in question was Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Despite the reputation that people join TFA to pad their resumes, many get involved in an attempt to contribute to society. Some are even convinced they are a part of the Civil Rights Movement of their generation. Implementing the “No Excuses” approach is equated with social justice, under the assumption that it is the most effective way to improve students’ test scores — which will get them into college and out of poverty. One teacher explains: “Because these days with the economy the way it is, you need a college degree. So this is a movement of social justice and giving everyone that wants an opportunity access to education.”

Teachers unconvinced by this ideology tend to acquiesce to the “No Excuses” approach for fear of losing their jobs or negatively influencing their students’ futures. One social studies teacher who wishes he could develop his students into historically curious, community-oriented citizens told Sondel why he focuses on teaching standards and test prep instead of current events: “I would be afraid of seeing a whole lot of sixth graders end up back in sixth grade and I would, frankly, be equally afraid that I wouldn’t be the one teaching them next year.”

Yet this pedagogy is far from justice-based or reflective of the radical ambitions of the Civil Rights Movement. Instead, this type of schooling extinguishes young people’s passion for learning and potentially pushes out those who fail to or are unwilling to comply. At best, the “No Excuses” approach attempts to develop within students the compliant dispositions necessary to accept and work within the status quo."
neworleans  education  kipp  schools  2014  policy  edreform  control  socialjustice  democracy  politics  tfa  civilrights  economics  forprofit  via:audreywatters  commoncore  standards  measurement  testing  standardization  standardizedtesting  detroit  publicschool  crisis  exploitation  bethsondel  josephboselovic  teachforamerica  nola  charterschools 
july 2014 by robertogreco
General Motors Will Build You A Tidy, Little Shipping-Container House
"GM is helping to build Detroit's first homestead made of recycled materials, which will be occupied by a college student studying urban agriculture. Since the homestead will be part of an urban-farm study, the student will serve as caretaker as well as maintain the farmland surrounding the property.

The living space is 320 square feet — 40 feet long, eight feet tall and 10 feet wide. There are two bedrooms, a bathroom and kitchen.

The project is in collaboration with the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative, which takes vacant land and repurposes it for better use. I was considering some snark about how maybe they could repurpose a lot of the land around GM's old Fisher Body Plant and maayyybe the building itself into some cool lofts to help eradicate blight in Detroit, but not now...good on GM for this, though!

The materials used in the construction were donated from scrap collected from the Chevy Volt plant in Hamtramck, and other facilities in Michigan and New York. The lucky homesteader gets a bunch of new tech, including Chevrolet Volt battery cases reused as bird houses and planter boxes; sound-deadening vehicle insulation to insulate walls; lockers used as planter boxes and for tool storage; fastener containers for plant/vegetable starter containers; plywood for interior wall cladding and some furniture components; metal parts bins as planter boxes; and wood pallets and other scrap wood for furniture."
gm  generalmotors  shippingcontainers  2014  homes  housing  prefab  detroit 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Why I Bought A House In Detroit For $500
"After college, as my friends left Michigan for better opportunities, I was determined to help fix this broken, chaotic city by building my own home in the middle of it. I was 23 years old."
detroit  economics  politics  2014  drewphilip  community  cities  us 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Floating Lab Collective |
"The Floating Lab Collective is a group of artists working collaboratively on social research through public and media art projects in Washington DC, as well as nationally and internationally. They experiment with the aesthetics of direct action in crafting responses to specific places, communities, issues and circumstances. FLC artists move across visual art, performance, new media, and publications to engage and integrate such social topics as housing, the environment, migration, labor and urban mobility. One of FLC’s most important tools is a converted taco truck– a Floating Museum– that circulates projects among different neighborhoods, communities and regions.

Floating Lab Collective was started in 2007 in partnership with Provisions Library, an arts and social change research and development center at George Mason University. To date, over 50 groundbreaking community projects have been produced in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area, New York City, Mexico City, Detroit (MI), Louisville (KY), Medellin (Colombia) and Port of Spain (Trinidad). Through Provisions, FLC has been funded by The Creative Communities Initiative, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, The Virginia Museum, George Mason University and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities."
art  openstudioproject  lcproject  activism  place  community  floatinglabcollective  floatingmuseum  newmedia  glvo  performance  action  projectideas  washingtondc  baltimore  nyc  mexicocity  mexicodf  portofspain  medellin  louisville  detroit  socialchange  medellín  dc  colombia  df 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Outside the Citadel, Social Practice Art Is Intended to Nurture - NYTimes.com
"Known primarily as social practice, its practitioners freely blur the lines among object making, performance, political activism, community organizing, environmentalism and investigative journalism, creating a deeply participatory art that often flourishes outside the gallery and museum system. And in so doing, they push an old question — “Why is it art?” — as close to the breaking point as contemporary art ever has.

Leading museums have largely ignored it. But many smaller art institutions see it as a new frontier for a movement whose roots stretch back to the 1960s but has picked up fervor through Occupy Wall Street and the rise of social activism among young artists."

"Social-practice programs are popping up in academia and seem to thrive in the interdisciplinary world of the campus. (The first dedicated master of fine arts program in the field was founded in 2005 at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, and today there are more than half a dozen.) But for art institutions the problems are trickier: How can you present art that is rarely conceived with a museum or exhibition in mind, for example community projects, often run by collaboratives, that might go on for years, inviting participation more than traditional art appreciation?"

"The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, for example, is constructing a final work by the artist Mike Kelley, who committed suicide last year, that will function as a kind of perpetual social-practice experiment. Although Kelley was never identified with the movement, he specified before his death that the work, “Mobile Homestead” — a faithful re-creation of his childhood ranch-style home that will sit in a once-vacant lot behind the museum — should not be an art location in any traditional sense but a small social-services site, with possible additional roles as space for music and the museum’s education programs. Whether visitors will understand that the house is a work of art and a continuing performance is an open question. Smaller institutions like the Hammer Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the Queens Museum of Art, which is acknowledged as a pioneer of social-practice programming, have also begun bringing the movement into the spotlight. (Tania Bruguera, a New York artist who is known for helping immigrants and has been supported by the Queens Museum and Creative Time, sometimes explains social-practice art with an anti-Modernist call to arms: “It’s time to restore Marcel Duchamp’s urinal to the bathroom.”)"
art  glvo  mikekelly  2013  socialpractice  socialpracticeart  tradeschool  activism  museums  via:ablerism  performance  community  communityorganizing  environmentalism  communities  journalism  participatoryart  participatory  ows  occupywallstreet  mobilehomestead  gardening  urbangardening  detroit  taniabruguera  natothompson  creativetime  randykennedy  lauraraicovich  queensmuseumofart  museumofcontemporaryartdetroit  moca  walkeraercenter  carolinewoolard  justinlanglois  pablohelguera  ncmideas  ncm 
march 2013 by robertogreco
The Mt Elliott Makerspace
"MISSION

The Mt Elliott Makerspace is a community workshop where people make, tinker and learn together. We do this to strengthen ourselves and our communities.

GOALS

*To grow and strengthen a local community of “makers” – people with the creativity, skills and confidence to address any challenge and feel empowered to make better lives for themselves and their community

*To facilitate learning entrepreneurial experiences through the process of researching, designing, fabricating, and bringing to market useful products and services

*To assist local communities in their mission to improve safety, enhance infrastructure, and provide positive environments for local families and youth

*To participate in the local, regional and global networks of makers by actively exchanging knowledge, resources, and experiences

*To develop the Mt Elliott Makerspace into a financially self-sustaining and community-supported organization…"
hackerspaces  electronics  openstudioproject  lcproject  makerspaces  detroit  from delicious
november 2012 by robertogreco
Open university: Joi Ito plans a radical reinvention of MIT's Media Lab (Wired UK)
"Welcome to Ito's vision for opening up the 27-year-old Media Lab, one in which — for example — urban agriculture might be researched in Detroit; the arts in Chicago; coding in London; and in which any bright talent anywhere, academically qualified or not, can be part of the world's leading "antidisciplinary" research lab. "Opening up the lab is more about expanding our reach and creating our network," explains Ito…

"Openness is a survival trait." …

By opening up the Media Lab, Ito hopes to move closer towards his goal of "a world with seven billion teachers", where smart crowds, adopting a resilient approach and a rebellious spirit, solve some of the world's great problems. His is a world of networks and ecosystems, in which unconstrained creativity can tackle everything from infant mortality to climate change. …"
christopherbevans  networks  hughherr  nerioxman  edboydens  syntheticbiology  academictenure  academia  tenure  highered  highereducation  poverty  small  ayahbdeir  littlebits  dropouts  walterbender  frankmoss  nicholasnegroponte  communitydevelopment  macarthurfoundation  grey-lock  petergabriel  caafoundation  michellekyddlee  knightfoundation  albertoibargüen  sethgodin  reidhoffman  junecohen  constructivism  connectivism  focus  polymaths  self-directedlearning  networkedlearning  periphery  openstudioproject  deschooling  unschooling  adaptability  disobedience  education  learning  practice  compliance  rebellion  globalvoices  creativecommons  mozilla  innovation  sustainability  consumerism  resilience  london  chicago  detroit  medialab  mit  antidisciplinary  lcproject  openness  open  joiito  mitmedialab  from delicious
november 2012 by robertogreco
rootoftwo - hybrid artists and designers
"rootoftwo is a hybrid art and design studio. We collaborate to make experimental objects and experiences that challenge assumptions, undermine expectations and reveal conventional behavior. Our works engage both audience and context. We explore the complexity of living in the 21st Century while also attempting to provide some amusement.

rootoftwo was founded in 1998 by Cezanne Charles & John Marshall.

We have presented our work in Australia, Brazil, China, Denmark, Japan, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Spain, UK and US.

We were members of the curatorial committee for the exhibition ‘BioLogic: A Natural History of Digital Life’ in New Orleans, 2009.  We co-curated ‘Perimeters, Boundaries and Borders’ an art, design and technology exhibition in Lancaster, 2006. We are co-initiators of v1b3, an international curatorial project that presents video art in the built environment.

rootoftwo is one word, all lowercase, with no spaces.

Alternatively, you can spell it: 1.414213562373095048…"
art  design  detroit  johnmarshall  cezannecharles  roofoftwo 
october 2012 by robertogreco
TO BE DESIGNED
"A multidisciplinary group of thinkers, makers and near future speculators will spend three days in Detroit to “do” science fiction: tangle up in fact and fiction and engage in curious crosstalk about the things that could be. The goal, then, is to Design Fiction and turn talk into deliberate actions and artifacts; to swerve the present by telling the story of a near future we imagine can be possible.

What we aim to create — to spur conversations about the things that will matter in the near future — is a near future product catalog. For example, a SkyMall, or Sears Wish Book or McMaster-Carr catalog for the near future. Think of it as a near future science fiction sourcebook of products. It’s a collection of stuff , as if that collection of stuff existed as routinely as Sasquatch garden statuettes, inflatable neck pillows, combination USB thumb drive nail clipper laser pointers, battery-powered screwdrivers, allen wrench sets and flat tire repair kits…"
production  conversation  artifactsfromthefuture  artifacts  storytelling  detroit  catalogs  skymall  nearfuture  sciencefiction  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinarythinking  multidisciplinary  interdisciplinarity  aaronstraupcope  cezannecharles  chriswoebken  johnmarshall  jamesbridle  emmetbyrne  christiansvkolding  karldaubman  marcgreuther  tombray  mokapantages  nickfoster  raphaelgrignani  marcusbleecker  nicolasnova  julianbleecker  brucesterling  designfiction  nearfuturelaboratory 
october 2012 by robertogreco
Detroit's Gleaming Start-Up Tower - Alexis C. Madrigal - The Atlantic
For me, the narrative of Detroit has outstripped at least what I could see of Detroit. Good things are clearly happening, but the lack of connective tissue is a bigger problem than you might imagine. Between downtown and an area like Corktown, which has an excellent coffee shop, the oft-applauded Slow's BBQ, Arbor and Folly, and a couple other bars, there's just nothing. When we left Slow's on a Thursday night at 9pm to drive the couple miles to our hotel, we got about halfway when I looked in my rearview mirror and realized that there wasn't a single other car behind us, nor approaching. There were no bikes or pedestrians, either…

But I do not know that I have that sense of euphoria. The story requires a fairy tale ending. And the reality is so daunting. I can practically hear Linkner reading this and saying, "He's soft. He's not made for Detroit." And that's probably true."
rebirth  density  nathanlabenz  jaygierak  stik  joshlinkner  detroitventurepartners  dvp  dangilbert  darkeuphoria  brucesterling  cities  detroit  alexismadrigal  2012  from delicious
september 2012 by robertogreco
Honor and Folly
"A small-scale, design-focused Detroit inn, Honor & Folly is reminiscent of the way folks used to travel: a few beds above the village pub or restaurant with a hearty breakfast. You'll be immersed in the oldest neighborhood of Detroit - smack in the middle of one of the most thriving blocks in the city. You'll sit next to locals at the bar downstairs—or the coffee shop—and learn about the city from people who live here. Detroiters are a pretty friendly lot.

There's plenty to absorb inside, too. Decorated with Detroit and Midwest-made goods (much of which is also for sale), the space tells a story about the designers, artists and artisans who helped bring it to life."
history  interiors  materials  travel  lcproject  honorandfolley  openstudioproject  glvo  srg  detroit  lodging  hotels  cafes  via:robinsloan  b&b  from delicious
september 2012 by robertogreco
OmniCorpDetroit
"OmniCorpDetroit is an intense group of designers, artists, engineers, musicians, thinkers, do-ers and makers that get together to build new things as well as share and collaborate within the Detroit community.

In general, we’re making, breaking, reshaping and hacking all sorts of things!

Email info [at} omnicorpdetroit.com for more information. To be added to our mailing list, fill out the Spam Me! form located over there on the righthand column. Those on the mailing list will receive info on workshops, open hack nights and other glorious OCD events.

Want to see what happens at our events? check out our Flickr image pool!"

[via: https://vimeo.com/47203759 ]
omnicorpdetroit  design  artists  art  technology  hackerspaces  activism  detroit  diy  from delicious
august 2012 by robertogreco
Why Don't We Own This?
"The next Wayne County Foreclosure Auction runs from June 22nd through July 10th. Nearly 6,000 properties that were not sold during the fall 2011 auction will be auctioned at an opening bid of $500 for structures and $200 for vacant lots. Please see the official county site for information on how to participate (http://www.waynecountytreasurermi.com ).

Why Don't We Own This? is an independent website by LOVELAND Technologies to help you understand what is being auctioned and coordinate the most locally beneficial auction results."
loveland  foreclosures  land  landuse  mapping  maps  property  auctions  urbanplanning  detroit  from delicious
august 2012 by robertogreco
Magnificent Decay: Detroit by Drone | Autopia | Wired.com
"Urban ruin porn has gotten so ubiquitous it’s morphed into a dedicated genre, and no other city seems to garner the attention of amateur shooters cataloging a metropolis’ decline more than Detroit. But how do you take it to the next level? Cue the drones.

YouTube user Tretch5000 took to the skies to show the beauty and blight of one of the U.S.’ former industrial hubs, flying his modified quadrocopter with an HD camera over abandoned homes and factories, the majestic Michigan Central Station and the lush grounds of Belle Isle nestled within the Detroit river.

It’s an eclectic mix of modern and decayed Detroit, blending the new with the old, all while showing off Tretch5000′s FPV flying skills. We’re suitably smitten, and would like to hear more about his quadrocopter setup."
urbandecay  drones  detroit  from delicious
july 2012 by robertogreco
The Shopping Mall Turns 60 (and Prepares to Retire) - Arts & Lifestyle - The Atlantic Cities
"About a third of our malls are still thriving, and those are the biggest, newest ones. But America is no longer building many new highways, which means we’ve stopped creating prime new locations for mall development. Some of the earliest amenities of the enclosed mall—air-conditioning!—no longer impress us. And the demographics of suburbia have changed dramatically. Malls draw the largest share of their customers from teenagers, and the baby boomers who largely populate suburbia no longer have teenagers at home.

For all these reasons, the suburban mall of Gruen’s plan appears to be victim of more than just the recession. Dunham-Jones, who has tracked this trend in her book Retrofitting Suburbia, estimates that more than 40 malls nationwide have been targeted for significant redevelopment. And she can count 29 that have already been repurposed, or that have construction underway."

[via and more: http://www.laphamsquarterly.org/deja_vu/2012/07/mall-madness.php ]
grueneffect  dayton  detroit  ellendunham-jones  2012  consumptionpatterns  consumption  victorgruen  cities  architect  architecture  urbanism  urban  trends  shopping  suburbs  us  malls  shoppingmalls  via:maxfenton 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Rust Belt Chic Manifesto | rust belt chic
"America is broken. Not just the Rust Belt, but everywhere. Income disparity. Unemployment. In the past those who were shut out—in particular the immigrants and the yet-minted young—would do what Americans did best: Go West, and build something of your own. But now we have saturated the coasts. Many are looking around for a geographic workshop where a new American way can be built. Some are beginning to turn inward to find that “out there” is really in here: the Rust Belt.

There are a few reasons for this. First is the opportunity that comes with usable space. Artists are being priced out of established cities like New York and L.A. Cheap space to live and work is becoming attractive. First- and second-generation immigrants are getting the itch too, and they are finding that Rust Belt cities can be the “America” within America. Take the case of Allentown, PA. It is the fastest growing city in PA. After years of shrinking this is shocking. And the city has Hispanics to thank for it."
nostalgia  migration  affordability  siouxcity  rustbeltchic  allentown  cleveland  detroit  rebirth  cites  glvo  richeypiiparinen  2012  resiliency  resilience  us  rustbelt  from delicious
june 2012 by robertogreco
Why Foreigners are Still Attracted to Detroit | PRI's The World
"I asked Murielle if she thinks Detroit is America. The answer: Detroit is as American as it gets."

"“I got driven to this hostel, because I arrived in the middle of the night, by the former mayor of Detroit, Ken Cockrel,” she said. “I was just sitting close to him and found out he was living quite close to the hostel. It’s just [that] people are very helpful.”

I asked her why on her first trip to the United States she is visiting Detroit, and not, say, New York.

“New York, you can go when you’re old, when you are 50 and you can afford it and it will be still the same,” she said. “Detroit, I came now because of a lot of coincidences I heard [about] what was going on here.”"
us  europe  cities  resilience  decay  americandream  2012  tourism  detroit  from delicious
june 2012 by robertogreco
Rick Poynor: The Unspeakable Pleasure of Ruins: Observers Room: Design Observer
"there are many reasons to be fascinated by ruins. For me, this attraction is first of all about being in the place. (Photos of ruins function in the same way that all kinds of photos function: they fire the imagination and provoke a desire to see for yourself.) The idea that best explains my love of ruins is the quest for re-enchantment. The abandoned ruin is a special zone charged with an intensity and a potential for revelation that most ordinary, complete and comfortable places lack. The more corporate daily experience becomes, the more some sites of ruination can offer an interlude of release into a refuge that is not accessible to crowds (it may well be unsafe), not overseen by officialdom, and not commercialized. Some regard these fractured spaces as being loaded with radical and even utopian potential."
optimism  utopia  refuge  ofrordness  romainemeffre  yvesmarchand  unknownfieldsdivision  geoffdyer  rosemacaulay  walterbenjamin  georgsimmel  gustavedoré  christopherwoodward  ruinporn  urbanprairie  detroit  2012  rickpoynor  urbanism  cities  architecture  photography  ruins  from delicious
march 2012 by robertogreco
Why Don't We Own This?
"The start of a more efficient, transparent, and human solution to Detroit's land use issues"

"This is a website to help you understand, invest in and activate land in the reemerging city of Detroit, and help coordinate the most locally beneficial auction results."

"We want to help match vacant places to owners who will love them."

[See also: http://detnews.com/article/20111020/OPINION03/110200401/1408/local/Non-profit-to-be-foreclosure-auction-stand-ins-in-Wayne ]
detroit  landuse  property  2011  activism  foreclosures  from delicious
november 2011 by robertogreco
America Deserta Revisited: Detroit - Architecture - Domus [Part of a series on US cities: http://www.domusweb.it/en/search/author/?filtro=Tom%20Keeley ]
'We Hope For Better Things; It Shall Rise From the Ashes'…the city motto coined in 1805, but still so apt. I really hope it can…someone said to me that what's happening in Detroit isn't new, it isn't terrifying…isn't the apocalypse. They said that it's happened to cities all over the world throughout history, and will happen again. It's true to say places come back from the brink, but maybe it's to do with a big change in the way we think about cities, and the way we use them, rather than thinking about getting them back to the way they once were. Detroit is never going to be the city it was, and I don't think it should be; but it could run a different race, be a different proposition. This city in turmoil has seen big ideas come before, and as the oil continues to flow away, maybe it could be a model for a more intelligent urbanism? I can't think of a more fitting location for a city that truly understands its environment, scars and all, & responds to it with a new purpose."
detroit  cities  decline  2011  tomkeeley  change  transformation  urbanism  urban  renewal  from delicious
september 2011 by robertogreco
Detroit: The Death of Manhattanism - Op-Ed - Domus
"As far as the similarities from one urban circumstance to another, there is a case to be made for the emergence of a global typology and the slow transformation of American cities toward a global model. White flight, the demographic phenomenon that defined American cities in the 2nd half of the twentieth century, is finally unwinding itself. Witness the rise of the "hipster," which is really just a polite and racially sublimated way of talking about white culture as urban culture. Alongside this, we are witnessing the rise of the black and immigrant suburbs. American cities are moving in the direction of operating more like European and South American cities. The latter part of the twentieth century in this country was an anomaly compared to global urban and suburban development, and that historical moment is over."
detroit  brooklyn  berlin  cities  mitchmcewen  urban  hipsterism  globalcities  transformation  hipsters  gentrification  us  urbanism  2011  suburbs  innercities  diversity  segregation  nola  neworleans  from delicious
august 2011 by robertogreco
A Brief History of Architecture Fiction: Implausible Futures for Unpopular Places: Places: Design Observer
"First, we identify a suitable building: Something that appears neglected, and seems to have no immediate prospects for a future use. In short, we choose an unpopular place. Next we devise a hypothetical future for that structure. Specifically, we strive to make this future blatantly implausible: maybe provocative, maybe funny; above all engaging. Then an artist creates a rendering based on the imaginary concept. This is printed onto a 3' x 5' sign, modeled on those used by real developers. That sign, finally, goes onto the building."

"Our neighborhood is the sort that people describe as "transitional," and some of the property…is vacant. On one nearby commercial structure…I noticed a sign…You've seen similar signs…It was a rendering of a development, a future, involving a small, empty building. It suddenly struck me that, given how long this sign has been here, what it depicted was, at best, a hypothetical future — and arguably a fictitious one."
design  architecture  writing  fiction  designfiction  robwalker  classideas  architecturefiction  archigram  creativity  jgballard  brucesterling  hypotheticdevelopmentorganization  writingprompts  geoffmanaugh  bldgblog  carlzimmerman  brettsnyder  phantomcity  nyc  nola  neworleans  losangeles  cities  urban  urbapotential  foundfutures  honolulu  stuartcandy  packardjennings  stevelambert  genre  storytelling  benkatchor  detroit  dreams  seeing  noticing  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
Things May Not Get Better! : Stager-to-Go
"I clung romantically to fantasies that Americans embraced democratic principles, the common good & loved children. Learning otherwise is a somber realization, especially on Easter Sunday…

"If you wanted to destroy or privatize (a semantic difference w/out distinction) public education, you needed to find a way to erode public confidence in the each & every public school. But how to do that? [Explains how GW Bush et al. did]"

"Please! watch this video clip from Rachel Maddow show, share it w/ friends & then try to restrain your violent impulses or find strength to carry-on for another day…The message is really important & stunning.

This is the tale of how two generations of severely at-risk young people are having their chances for a productive life and slice of the American dream sacrificed on the alter of capitalist greed, authoritarian impulses & callous disregard for the vulnerable."
education  deschooling  criticaleducation  garystager  unschooling  democracy  georgewbush  policy  privatization  pubicschools  society  2011  michigan  detroit  catherineferguson  schools  activism  neoliberalism  corporations  greed  corporatism  lcproject  government  us  arneduncan  newtgingrich  schoolreform  reform  alsharpton  michellerhee  barackobama  oprah  nclb  rttt  money  rachelmaddow  politics  charterschools  from delicious
april 2011 by robertogreco
The Urbanophile » Blog Archive » Yes There Are Grocery Stores in Detroit by James Griffioen
"I hope this tirade accomplishes my primary goal of eliminating the gross generalization that there are no grocery stores in Detroit & that its citizens are forced to leave the city borders to buy fresh meats and produce. That myth is fueled by the unfair assumption that big-box chain stores are the best and only places to shop, which is particularly nefarious in my opinion because the model used by those stores is largely unsustainable for our cities’ futures. Chinese-manufactured goods shipped and trucked tens of thousands of miles and sold for razor-thin profit margins may seem convenient, but I truly believe we still haven’t learned their true cost. In my opinion, it is the exurban and small town shoppers who must choose between the uniform selections of a Wal-Mart, Kroger, or Meijer that truly have limited options. I prefer to celebrate the absence of these national retailers in this city rather than add it to the heap of things we already have to complain about here…"
detroit  food  media  culture  cities  bias  supermarkets  groceries  jamesgriffioen  sweetjuniper  from delicious
january 2011 by robertogreco
Element S(urvival): A Coat-and-Sleeping-Bag-in-One for the Homeless | Design for Good | Big Think
"Homelessness is perhaps the most disconcerting reminder of the staggering gap between the rich and the poor in some of the world's wealthiest nations. In Detroit alone, more than 18,000 people are homeless – a social circumstance most grueling over the cold winter months. To address the issue, 21-year-old Detroit design student Veronika Scott has developed a clever multifunctional garment – Element S(urvival), an inexpensive but highly insulated winter coat that quickly and easily transforms into a sleeping bag."
neo-nomads  design  sleepingbags  clothing  wearable  nomads  homeless  homelessness  detroit  glvo  wearables  from delicious
december 2010 by robertogreco
metacool: More thoughts on the primacy of doing: Shinya Kimura, Jeep, Corvette, and the cultural zeitgeist of life in 2010
"cultural zeitgeist of life in 2010 America is clearly saying "We need to start thinking with our hands again", & that we need at least to have confidence in our decision making as we seek to create things of intrinsic value…It's not difficult to get to a strong, compelling point of view. That's what design thinking can do for you. But in each of these videos I sense our society expressing a strong yearning for something beyond process, the courage to make decisions and to act. Talking and thinking is easy, shipping is tough…<br />
<br />
Tinkering, hacking, experimenting, they're all ways of experiencing the world which are more apt than not to lead to generative, highly creative outcomes. I firmly believe that kids & young adults who are allowed to hack, break, tear apart, & generally probe the world around them develop an innate sense of courage when it comes time to make a decision to actually do something. I see this all the time at Stanford…"
diegorodriguez  make  making  handson  hands  manufacturing  machines  tinkering  shinyakimura  detroit  gm  jeep  bigthree  spacerace  rockets  nostalgia  thinking  learning  experimenting  experience  facebook  google  apple  hacking  creativity  innovation  2010  jacobbronowski  design  engineering  machining  action  tcsnmy  glvo  lcproject  doing  motivation  do  corvette  from delicious
november 2010 by robertogreco
VideoNetwork | Detroit Free Press | freep.com
"The Mower Gang is a volunteer effort to maintain public land in Detroit. Their first project revived the abandoned Dorais Velodrome, a banked bicycle racing track." [via: http://www.trackosaurusrex.com/pblog/index.php?entry=entry100811-192009]
detroit  bikes  biking  velodrome  doraisvelodrome  activism  urbanreclamation  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
The Louvre of the Industrial Age - O'Reilly Radar
"Under Marc's eye, we also saw the transformation of the machines from purely functional objects to things of beauty. We saw the advances in engineering - the materials, the workmanship, the design, over a hundred years of innovation. Visiting The Henry Ford, as they call it, is a truly humbling experience. I would never in a hundred years have thought of making a visit to Detroit just to visit this museum, but knowing what I know now, I will tell you confidently that it is as worth your while as a visit to Paris just to see the Louvre, to Rome for the Vatican Museum, to Florence for the Uffizi Gallery, to St. Petersburg for the Hermitage, or to Berlin for the Pergamon Museum. This is truly one of the world's great museums, and the world that it chronicles is our own."
henryford  henryfordmuseum  museums  timoreilly  industrialage  history  pilgrimages  detroit  tosee  thomasedison  lutherburbank 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Detroit 2009 and 2010 - a set on Flickr
"The first dozen photographs are from May adventures in the Detroit region -- with a special thanks to Sweet Juniper for the guidance and time.
detroit  photography 
july 2010 by robertogreco
As Demolitions Begin, Community Activists See Detroit Urban Renewal Plan as Land-Grab
"Democracy Now! broadcasts from Detroit, where demolition crews have begun tearing town 3,000 buildings that the city has deemed dangerous as part of an estimated 10,000 buildings set to be demolished over the next four years. City officials claim the demolitions are taking place in abandoned neighborhoods and that they will be replaced with farmland. While the Mayor’s urban renewal plan has high-level backing, many have condemned it as a form of land-grabbing."
detroit  via:javierarbona  land-grab 
april 2010 by robertogreco
What Detroit could be in 10 years | freep.com | Detroit Free Press
"For all its troubles today, Detroit is also a place brimming with hope for tomorrow.
detroit  via:javierarbona  cities  future 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Detroit homes sell for $1 amid mortgage and car industry crisis | Business | The Guardian
"The Americans we know got ripped off by the American dream. But [the renovation] is the most like moving out of the country that we can actually do. We're the minority in terms of ethnicity and this is a rich environment … there's 30% open space in the city and that doesn't include the buildings that should be torn down. You're in a city riding your bike around and you hear birds and stuff. It's incredible."
cities  crisis  culture  economics  urbanism  housing  detroit  revival  urban 
march 2010 by robertogreco
The Detroit Project | The New Republic [via: http://archinect.com/news/article.php?id=95178_0_24_0_C]
"All this might make Detroit seem like the most hopeless case in the global history of the city. But it is hardly the worst and certainly not hopeless. Europe is filled with cities that have risen from similarly miserable conditions. ... Bilbao Ria spent 184 million euros on site cleanup; the provincial and regional governments kicked in 144 million euros--the full cost--for the Frank Gehry–designed Guggenheim museum. But the city also created a new metro system and a tram line for the revitalized waterfront. Airports, ports, and regional train systems were also modernized. And, critically, the city spent two decades and one billion euros (mostly from higher levels of government) on a new water-sanitation system to keep untreated household and industrial waste out of the river, which would make waterfront development possible."
urbanplanning  detroit  cities  us  architecture  manufacturing  innovation  urbanism  development  planning  preservation  regeneration  industrial  urban  bilbao  turin  michigan  revitalization 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Hantz Farms | World's Largest Urban Farm Planned for the City of Detroit
"It’s our dream to rejuvenate our city by returning to our agrarian roots, by creating the world’s largest urban farm right here in Detroit, a sustainable producer and seller of homegrown fruits and vegetables as well as clean energy. Owned, operated and staffed by Detroiters, Hantz Farms will provide: * Hundreds of “green” jobs for local residents, with on-the-job education. We’ll help Detroit progress to the mixed economy that’s so important for our future. * A generous supply of fresh, local, safe produce for our families and the region. ... * Detroit’s Future A cleaner, greener environment for our children. We’ll clear away the garbage, the blight, the debris, and in their place grow healthful crops and produce non-polluting wind energy. ... * Synergy for local businesses... * Consolidation of city resources."
farms  detroit  agriculture  urbanfarming  farming  culture  cities  urban  work  sustainability  food 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Detroit's emptiness: The art of abandonment: Some weird and wonderful things are rising from the ashes of the Motor City | The Economist
"For such men Detroit’s emptiness offers chances that are unavailable elsewhere; it makes the city into a sprawling laboratory, a living stage. Blight has been contained, remedied and reversed in other places. New York was nearly bankrupt in the 1970s. In Washington, DC, new apartments have sprouted like gleaming, angular mushrooms all across the former murder capital of the United States. But New York has (or at least had) banking and finance; Washington has the federal government. Detroit has space, and quiet. It has, as Wallace Stevens said about a snowy landscape, “nothing that is not there, and the nothing that is.”"
detroit  architecture  art  frontiers  urbanism  cities  economics 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Detroit: Urban Laboratory and the New American Frontier | Newgeography.com
"troubles of Detroit are well-publicized...economy in free fall, people streaming for the exits, worst racial polarization & city-suburb divide in America, its government is feckless & corrupt, & its civic boosters, even ones that are extremely knowledgeable, refuse to acknowledge the depth of the problems, instead ginning up stats & anecdotes to prove all is not so bad. But as with Youngstown, one thing this massive failure has made possible is ability to come up with radical ideas for the city, & potentially to even implement some of them. Places like Flint & Youngstown might be attracting new ideas & moving forward, but it is big cities that inspire the big, audacious dreams. & that is Detroit. Its size, scale, & powerful brand image are attracting not just the region’s but the world’s attention. It may just be that some of the most important urban innovations in 21st century America end up coming not from Portland or New York, but places like Youngstown &, yes, Detroit."
detroit  cities  economics  food  urban  urbanism  farming  future  optimism  urbanprairie  gamechanging  housing  michigan  urbanplanning  geography  agriculture  innovation  architecture  change  futurism  environment  sustainability  urbanagriculture  planning  research  parks  reconstruction  glvo 
december 2009 by robertogreco
War all the time « Snarkmarket
"TNC thrills at Conot’s lan­guage and sto­ry­telling, but he’s pretty good him­self: “Harry Ben­nett is Wee-Bay to Ford’s Barks­dale.” And: “When you read some­thing like this, it puts the Tea Par­ties in per­spec­tive. There’s never been one Amer­ica. There’s always been civil war.”"
thewire  history  detroit  class  struggle  conflict 
december 2009 by robertogreco
6 Involuntary Parks | Quiet Babylon
When he was still running the Viridian Movement, Bruce Sterling introduced the idea of involuntary parks. Spaces in the world that have become so polluted or otherwise unusable by humans, that they’ve been left to nature (or, at least, savagery).
korea  brucesterling  detroit  centralia  chernobyl  brittany  ecology  landscape  nature  urbanism  environment  bldgblog  parks  ruins  collapse  urbanprairie  urbanreclamation 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Busy Bee Hardware, Est. 1918 | sweet juniper!
"I bug Richie Crabb for about a week to talk to me about his hardware store for my "blog." I'd assumed it would be easy: I'd take a few pictures, scrawl out a few stories, and be out of his hair in twenty minutes tops. But every time I come in he's shooting the shit with somebody else and I don't want to interrupt. As I wait for him, lingering in the aisles and watching the employees helping customers I realize that Busy Bee Hardware...really is busy. I've always felt like I was the only customer there, but only because that's how they've always treated me...This is where we played as kids," he says, "And where our kids played. Things weren't like they are nowadays. Back then you brought your kids with you to work." The kids of all the family businesses in Eastern Market would hang out here, he says. "We could watch them kill chickens down at Capitol, or hang out here. The boys liked it here because they could build things.""
detroit  retail  momandpopstores  hardwarestores  service  families  work  children  parenting  daysgoneby  throwbacks 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Detroit and national retail chains | sweet juniper!
"I laugh when New Yorkers complain about the strip mauling of Times Square and their weird nostalgia for when it was seedy and dangerous. If you really miss seedy and dangerous, I know a house I can sell you for a dollar. Seriously. The fact that risk-averse national retail outlets who care only about the bottom line won't invest here is part of why I love living in Detroit. Being skipped by decades of prosperity means that this city doesn't look like everywhere else. It comes at quite a cost, but I'll be doggone if I wouldn't celebrate the absence of these national retailers rather than add it to the heap of things we already have to complain about here.
bigbox  walmart  starbucks  detroit  retail  chains 
november 2009 by robertogreco
The City Is A Battlesuit For Surviving The Future - Future metro - io9
"If you'll excuse the spoiler, the zenith of Hawksmoor's adventures with cities come when he finds the purpose behind the modifications - he was not altered by aliens but by future humans in order to defend the early 21st century against a time-travelling 73rd century Cleveland gone berserk. Hawksmoor defeats the giant, monstrous sentient city by wrapping himself in Tokyo to form a massive concrete battlesuit.

Cities are the best battlesuits we have.

It seem to me that as we better learn how to design, use and live in cities - we all have a future."
design  mattjones  technology  urbanplanning  architecture  urbanism  scifi  postarchitectural  psychology  cities  archigram  comics  urban  future  danhill  adamgreenfield  janejacobs  warrenellis  christopherwren  psychogeography  kevinslavin  detroit  nyc  dubai  mumbai  masdrcity  fiction  film  spacesuits  battlesuits 
september 2009 by robertogreco
pensamientos genericos - decay
"Este semestre estaré impartiendo un taller de teoría/diseño urbano con el escritor Bryan Finoki. El tema a tratar es uno que ya tiene tiempo rodando por las facultades de muchas universidades así como en textos académicos en Estados Unidos. Urbanism of Decay, urbanismo decadente, urbanismo en descomposición, urbanismo en deterioro. Bien se puede traducir de estas tres formas, porque al analizar a nuestro paciente vemos que ha ocurrido un deterioro físico, creado una cultura en decadencia y hoy existe como una ciudad en descomposición. Ese es mi diagnostico, que en parte ha sido corroborado por muchos estudiosos sobre el tema, sin embargo lo que me interesa es ver si este paciente sufre como cualquier otro organismo de una decadencia total."
sandiego  detroit  decay  bryanfinoki  architecture  design 
september 2009 by robertogreco
Detroit: A city without chain grocery stores - Jul. 22, 2009
"Detroit is one of America's largest cities, but there isn't a single grocery chain store within the city limits. Spurned by national retailers, Detroit's nearly 1 million residents instead rely on independent stores run by local entrepreneurs for their most basic needs.
detroit  groceries  food  retail  economics 
august 2009 by robertogreco
“Off the Deep End: A Look at the Decline of Dubai” Slideshow | Fast Company
"Deserts have a way of reclaiming whatever is built upon them. In the case of Dubai, the global financial implosion has sent that process into overdrive. After six years of frenzied expansion, during which the emirate's population grew at 7% annually and nearly $600 billion went into construction (the world's tallest building! the world's largest shopping mall! the biggest man-made island! an indoor ski resort!), reality has come rushing into view." [via: http://www.wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2009/08/dubai-as-detroit/]
dubai  detroit  decay  decline  cities  oil  energy  desert 
august 2009 by robertogreco
LOVELAND
"Based in Detroit, Michigan, LOVELAND is all about creative new concepts in micro payments for micro ownership and use of land. It is building frameworks for many people to invest and participate in the creation of something where nothing was before, and to interact with places both in person and online in various unique ways.
detroit  art  jerrypaffendorf  games 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Train Detroit - The Atlantic (July/August 2009)
"Instead of scattering nickels and dimes across dozens of states, a better idea would be to increase the train fund at least tenfold so America can have at least one legitimate high-speed rail line like Spain’s Madrid-to-Seville train, which runs at 186 mph (Amtrak averages only 79 nationwide). And let this man-on-the-moon project start in Detroit. ... Of course, railroads helping to rescue Detroit would be sweet irony. It was General Motors, after all—in cahoots with a number of other companies—that set out to cripple mass transit in America, including the electric streetcars that once trundled through Detroit and Flint."
trains  us  rail  government  manufacturing  detroit  autoindustry  transportation  amtrak  highspeed  via:cityofsound  highspeedrail 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Wheelhouse Detroit - Bicycle Rentals, Retail, Service & Tours
"Wheelhouse Detroit makes it easier for the whole world to experience the Motor City on two wheels. Detroit is fun to cycle, and Wheelhouse will get you going – whether you want to tool down our beautiful RiverWalk for a couple of hours or have a day-long Detroit adventure, we can help!"
bikes  detroit  tours  repair  repairing 
july 2009 by robertogreco
The Hub of Detroit
"The Hub of Detroit is a non-profit, full-service retail bike shop. Funds raised by The Hub support our free youth and adult education program, Back Alley Bikes."
bikes  detroit  recycling  sharing  repair  repairing 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Op-Ed Contributor - Bike Among the Ruins - NYTimes.com
"While bike enthusiasts in most urban areas continue to have to fight for their place on the streets, Detroit has the potential to become a new bicycle utopia. It’s a town just waiting to be taken. With well less than half its peak population, and free of anything resembling a hill, the city and its miles and miles of streets lie open and empty, beckoning. And lately, whether it’s because of the economy or the price of gas or just because it’s a nice thing to do, there are a lot more bikers out riding."
bikes  detroit  transportation  opportunity  urban  autoindustry  society  community  renewal 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Detroit UnReal Estate Agency
"Detroit Unreal Estate Agency will produce, collect and inventory information on the ‘unreal estate’ of Detroit: that is, on the remarkable, distinct, characteristic or subjectively significant sites of urban culture. The project is aimed at new types of urban practices (architecturally, artistically, institutionally, everyday life, etc) that came into existence, creating a new value system in Detroit."
detroit  via:regine  art  architecture  realestate  urban  cities  urbanism  activism  homes  housing 
june 2009 by robertogreco
MichaelMoore.com : Goodbye, GM ...by Michael Moore
"But you and I and the rest of America now own a car company! I know, I know -- who on earth wants to run a car company? Who among us wants $50 billion of our tax dollars thrown down the rat hole of still trying to save GM? Let's be clear about this: The only way to save GM is to kill GM. Saving our precious industrial infrastructure, though, is another matter and must be a top priority. If we allow the shutting down and tearing down of our auto plants, we will sorely wish we still had them when we realize that those factories could have built the alternative energy systems we now desperately need. And when we realize that the best way to transport ourselves is on light rail and bullet trains and cleaner buses, how will we do this if we've allowed our industrial capacity and its skilled workforce to disappear?"
gm  michaelmoore  detroit  economics  recession  bankruptcy  cleanenergy  retoolinggm  us  future  energy  oil  generalmotors  environment  transportation  trains  industry  transformation  gamechanging 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Artists vs. Blight - WSJ.com
"Artists have long been leaders of an urban vanguard that colonizes blighted areas. Now, the current housing crisis has created a new class of urban pioneer. Nationwide, home foreclosure proceedings increased 81% in 2008 from the previous year, rising to 2.3 million, according to California-based foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac. Homes in hard-hit cities such as Detroit and Cleveland are selling for as little as $1. Drawn by available spaces and cheap rents, artists are filling in some of the neighborhoods being emptied by foreclosures. City officials and community groups seeking ways to stop the rash of vacancies are offering them incentives to move in, from low rents and mortgages to creative control over renovation projects.
art  artists  recession  detroit  cleveland  housing  development  gentrification  redevelopment  buffalo  blight  realestate  urban  urbanism  economics  cities 
may 2009 by robertogreco
Invincible feat. Finale- "Locusts" (docu-music-video) // Current
"Detroit based Hip-Hop artists Invincible and Finale rhyme about the impacts of gentrification on the Motor City. This piece includes interviews with community activists discussing displacement and predatory planning versus sustainable development in the D." Also on YouTube in two parts http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ixL3-AdOsU AND http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZmuCGen0-Q
detroit  gentrification  activism  cities  development  urban  urbanism 
may 2009 by robertogreco
Detroit Industry: The Murals of Diego Rivera : NPR
"Assembly workers with tools raised in a frozen moment of manufacturing. Doctors and scientists stand near a child in a nativity scene that pays tribute to medicine. Secretaries and accountants, heads bowed, fingers on typewriters and adding machines. One panel even shows Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, seeming to watch a collection on unseen workers below him. The meaning of these images is complex, a view of industry that challenges ideas about its role in society and raises issues of class and politics."
detroit  diegorivera  art  murals 
april 2009 by robertogreco
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