robertogreco + paris + cities   23

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
ROAR Magazine: Bookchin: living legacy of an American revolutionary
"A selection of articles, interviews and reviews from ROAR’s archives to honor and celebrate Bookchin’s long life, important work and great achievements.

The American revolutionary theorist Murray Bookchin passed away on July 30, 2006. Interest in his work and life has been revived in recent years, thanks in part to the Kurdish freedom movement in Turkey and Syria, which has begun to put his ideas about “a rational, ecological libertarian communist society, based on humane and cooperative social relations” into practice.

Long before the more recent upsurge of interest in his work, Bookchin’s writings, which go back all the way to the 1950s, influenced many on the left. Spending his life in revolutionary circles, Bookchin joined a communist youth organization at the age of nine and became a Trotskyist in his late thirties, before switching to anarchism and finally calling himself a ‘communalist’ after developing the theory of social ecology and libertarian municipalism.

To celebrate Bookchin’s long life and to honor his important work, we share a selection of the articles, interviews and reviews that ROAR has published over the years, highlighting the extraordinary intellectual achievements of this great radical thinker.

BOOKCHIN’S REVOLUTIONARY PROGRAM — JANET BIEHL
For Bookchin, the city was the new revolutionary arena, as it had been in the past; the twentieth-century left, blinded by its engagement with the proletariat and the factory, had overlooked this fact. Historically, revolutionary activity in Paris, St. Petersburg, and Barcelona had been based at least as much in the urban neighborhood as in the workplace. During the Spanish Revolution of 1936-37, the anarchist Friends of Durruti had insisted that “the municipality is the authentic revolutionary government.”

Today, Bookchin argued, urban neighborhoods hold memories of ancient civic freedoms and of struggles waged by the oppressed; by reviving those memories and building on those freedoms, he argued, we could resuscitate the local political realm, the civic sphere, as the arena for self-conscious political self-management.

Continue reading… [https://roarmag.org/magazine/biehl-bookchins-revolutionary-program/ ]

BOOKCHIN: LIVING LEGACY OF AN AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY — DEBBIE BOOKCHIN
One of Murray’s central contributions to Left thought was his insistence, back in the early 1960s, that all ecological problems are social problems. Social ecology starts from this premise: that we will never properly address climate change, the poisoning of the earth with pesticides and the myriad of other ecological problems that are increasingly undermining the ecological stability of the planet, until we address underlying issues of domination and hierarchy. This includes domination based on gender, ethnicity, race, and sexual orientation, as well as class distinctions.

Eradicating those forms of oppression immediately raises the question of how to organize society in a fashion that maximizes freedom. So the ideas about popular assemblies presented in this book grow naturally out of the philosophy of social ecology. They address the question of how to advance revolutionary change that will achieve true freedom for individuals while still allowing for the social organization necessary to live harmoniously with each other and the natural world.

Continue reading… [https://roarmag.org/essays/bookchin-interview-social-ecology/ ]

MURRAY BOOKCHIN AND THE KURDISH RESISTANCE — JORIS LEVERINK
Over the past decade, democratic confederalism has slowly but surely become an integral part of Kurdish society. Three elements of Bookchin’s thought have particularly influenced the development of a “democratic modernity” across Kurdistan: the concept of “dual power,” the confederal structure as proposed by Bookchin under the header of libertarian municipalism, and the theory of social ecology which traces the roots of many contemporary struggles back to the origins of civilization and places the natural environment at the heart of the solution to these problems.

Continue reading… [https://roarmag.org/essays/bookchin-kurdish-struggle-ocalan-rojava/ ]

LEARNING FROM THE LIFE OF MURRAY BOOKCHIN — EIRIK EIGLAD
Janet Biehl treats complex ideas with remarkable ease, and the footnotes reveal careful research into the many movements, figures, and events that were significant to his political life.

Biehl extensively researched personal and public archives, and conducted long interviews with old colleagues. Her account is balanced, yet engaging. And it is never “objective.” Indeed, toward the end of the book, Biehl necessarily enters the book, and becomes part of the story. Yet, her account is in no way “self-aggrandizing”—indeed, much of it is not even flattering—but I think overall she provides a fair account of the personal doubts, frailties, and tensions that often accompany an intense political life.

Continue reading… [https://roarmag.org/essays/ecology-or-catastrophe-biehl-bookchin-review/ ]"
2016  murraybookchin  janetbiehl  anarchism  politics  philosophy  urbanism  cities  debbiebookchin  ecology  climatechange  freedom  socialecology  society  jorisleverin  kurds  confederalism  democracy  municipalism  libertarianism  history  environment  sustainability  capitalism  economics  eirikeiglad  gender  ethnicity  race  class  pollution  agriculture  earth  hierarchy  friendsofdurruti  spanishrevolution  stpetersburg  paris  barcelona  revolution  communalism  libertarianmunicipalism 
july 2016 by robertogreco
The world wants more 'porous' cities – so why don't we build them? | Cities | The Guardian
"People of all classes, races and religions come and go in intense and complex Nehru Place. But while Delhi’s electronics market is every urbanist’s dream, it is not the sort of space most cities are building"



"Recently I tried to buy an iPhone in Nehru Place, an open-air electronics market in Delhi where goods that “happen to fall off a truck” are sold for 30%, 40% or 70% discounts – whatever cash you have handy. My iPhone turned out to a damaged dud, but I didn’t really care; the experience of going to Nehru Place was eye-opening. It’s a completely porous spot in the city, people of all castes, classes, races and religions coming and going, doing deals or gossiping about the small tech start-ups in the low offices which line the square; you can also worship at a small shrine if you’re so minded, or find a sari, or just lounge about drinking tea.

Nehru Place is every urbanist’s dream: intense, mixed, complex. If it’s the sort of place we want to make, it’s not the sort of space most cities are building. Instead, the dominant forms of urban growth are mono-functional, like shopping centres where you are welcome to shop but there’s no place to pray. These sorts of places tend to be isolated in space, as in the offices “campuses” built on the edge of cities, or towers in a city’s centre which, as in London’s current crop of architectural monsters, are sealed off at the base from their surroundings. It’s not just evil developers who want things this way: according to Setha Low, the most popular form of residential housing, world-wide, is the gated community.

Is it worth trying to turn the dream of the porous city into a pervasive reality? I wondered in Nehru Place about the social side of this question, since Indian cities have been swept from time to time by waves of ethnic and religious violence. Could porous places tamp down that threat, by mixing people together in everyday activities? Evidence from western cities answers both yes and no.

In Dresden, last year’s Pegida demonstrations against the Muslim presence in Germany turned out to be by people who don’t live anywhere near Muslims in the city; indeed, who know no Muslims. There again, in a study of several US cities, the American social scientist Robert Putnam’s researchers found that the farther away white Americans live from African Americans, the more tolerant they become.

Against this latter logic of separation stands Paris. The Islamic banlieus of Paris are separated from the centre by the ceinture, the ever-clogged ring-road around the inner city; so, too, in Brussel’s Molenbeek district, from which many terrorists come, is a disconnected island space. As the sociologist Willlaim Julius Wilson has shown, such physical islands breed an inward-looking mentality in which fantasy about others takes the place of fact bred of actual contact – as true, Wilson argues, of the black ghetto as it is of Christian Pegida.

I am uncomfortable about debates over separation and inclusion which move almost seamlessly to citing violent, extreme behaviour as evidence for or against. Which is why Nehru Place is a better example to think about this issue than Molenbeek. Everyday people are going about their business with others unlike themselves, people they don’t know or perhaps don’t like. There is what might be called the democracy of crime here, as Hindus and Muslims both sell illegal electronics; a wave of violence would clear off customers for both. Getting along in this way isn’t particular to India, or to open-air markets. Numerous studies show that in offices or factories that adults of different religions and races work perfectly well together, and the reason is not far to seek.

Work is not about affirming your identity; it’s about getting things done. The complexity of city life tends, in fact, to breed many identities for its citizens as workers, but also as spectators at sports events, as parents concerned about schooling or patients suffering from NHS cuts. Urban identities are porous in the sense that we are going in and out of lots of different experiences, in different places, with people we don’t know, in the course of a day. When pundits opine on the difficulty of difference, they flatten identity into a single image, just one experience. The modern economy can flatten identity when it sells people on the idea that gated, homogeneous communities are safe, (not true in fact), builds shopping centres only for shopping, or constructs office campuses and towers whose workers are sealed off from the city.

If the public comes to demand it, urbanists can easily design a porous city on the model of Nehru Place; indeed, many of the architects and planners at the Urban Age events now unfolding in London have made proposals to “porosify” the city. Like Nehru Place, these larger visions entail opening up and blurring the edges of spaces so that people are drawn in rather than repulsed; they emphasise true mixed use of public and private functions, schools and clinics amid Tesco or Pret; they explore the making of loose-fit spaces which can shift in shape as people’s lives change.

I don’t believe in design determinism, but I do believe that the physical environment should nurture the complexity of identity. That’s an abstract way to say that we know how to make the porous city; the time has come to make it."
cities  richardsennett  2015  urban  urbanism  porosity  nehruplace  delhi  india  complexity  sethalow  dresden  roberputnam  sociology  paris  brussels  molenbeek  williamjuliuswilson  christianpegida  race  religion  design  urbandesign  london  publicspace  flexibility  change  adaptability  crosspollination  diversity  markets  community 
november 2015 by robertogreco
Expensive cities are killing creativity - Opinion - Al Jazeera English
"Today, creative industries are structured to minimise the diversity of their participants - economically, racially and ideologically. Credentialism, not creativity, is the passport to entry.

Over the past decade, as digital media made it possible for anyone, anywhere, to share their ideas and works, barriers to professional entry tightened and geographical proximity became valued. Fields where advanced degrees were once a rarity - art, creative writing - now view them as a requirement. Unpaid internships and unpaid labour are rampant, blocking off industry access for those who cannot work without pay in the world's most expensive cities.

Yet to discuss it, as artist Molly Crabapple notes in her brilliant essay "Filthy Lucre", is verboten. Recalling her years as a struggling artist, she remembers being told by a fellow artist - a successful man living off his inherited money - that a "real artist" must live in poverty.

"What the artist was pretending he didn't know is that money is the passport to success," she writes. "We may be free beings, but we are constrained by an economic system rigged against us. What ladders we have, are being yanked away. Some of us will succeed. The possibility of success is used to call the majority of people failures."

Failure, in an economy of extreme inequalities, is a source of fear. To fail in an expensive city is not to fall but to plummet. In expensive cities, the career ladder comes with a drop-off to hell, where the fiscal punishment for risk gone wrong is more than the average person can endure. As a result, innovation is stifled, conformity encouraged. The creative class becomes the leisure class - or they work to serve their needs, or they abandon their fields entirely."



"Creativity is sometimes described as thinking outside the box. Today the box is a gilded cage. In a climate of careerist conformity, cheap cities with bad reputations - where, as art critic James McAnalley notes, "no one knows whether it is possible for one to pursue a career" - may have their own advantage. "In the absence of hype, ideas gather, connections build, jagged at first, inarticulate," McAnalley writes of St Louis. "Then, all of a sudden, worlds emerge."

Perhaps it is time to reject the "gated citadels" - the cities powered by the exploitation of ambition, the cities where so much rides on so little opportunity. Reject their prescribed and purchased paths, as Smith implored, for cheaper and more fertile terrain. Reject the places where you cannot speak out, and create, and think, and fail. Open your eyes to where you are, and see where you can go."
arts  art  creativity  cities  housing  london  nyc  paris  failure  success  inequality  2013  sarahkendzior  credentialism  economics  risk  risktaking  meritocracy  inheritance  conformity  careers  ambition  opportunity  us  costofliving 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Iain Sinclair » IMPROVING THE IMAGE OF DESTRUCTION
"Cities can be mapped by missing cobblestones: Paris in ’68, London at the burning of Newgate Prison, Budapest, Belfast. Streets are dug up in reverse archaeology. The stones redistribute themselves, flying through the air, like Magritte’s loaves, in the direction of Plexiglas shields and visored helmets."

[via: http://nomadicity.tumblr.com/post/10247187412/cities-can-be-mapped-by-missing-cobblestones ]
iainsinclair  history  atemporality  cities  london  paris  belfast  1968  from delicious
september 2011 by robertogreco
Robot Flâneur: Exploring Google Street View
"Robot Flâneur is an explorer for Google Street View. Select a city to start exploring.

Follow the instructions or just go full screen for an urban screensaver of your choice."
photography  cities  urban  maps  mapping  jamesbridle  robotflaneur  london  sanfrancisco  manhattan  nyc  sãopaulo  paris  johannesburg  tokyo  mexicodf  df  berlin  exploration  screensavers  mexicocity  from delicious
june 2011 by robertogreco
Comparing 16th Century Maps to Current Satellite Imagery - Leah Goldman - Technology - The Atlantic
"Remember life before GPS? Instead of to-the-minute maps and turn-by-turn directions to the tune of an Australian woman's voice, we relied on compasses and hand drawn maps.

Georg Braun and Franz Hogenberg compiled Civitates Orbis Terrarum, a book of bird's eye view maps from the 16th century.

Take a look at how the Google Maps of the 1500s compares to today's version, in some of the world's biggest cities."
history  maps  geography  cities  london  cairo  istanbul  mapping  1500s  dublin  moscow  prague  paris  milan  rome  lisbon  frankfurt  florence  2011  googlemaps  satelliteview  aerialphotography  from delicious
april 2011 by robertogreco
Paris vs New York, a tally of two cities
"A friendly visual match between those two cities, as seen by a Parisian-based-and-lover on New York : details, cliches and contradictions. This way, please."
graphicdesign  comparison  nyc  paris  posters  visualization  humor  illustration  cities  blogs  from delicious
october 2010 by robertogreco
Mapped historical photos, film, and audio | SepiaTown
"SepiaTown lets you view and share thousands of mapped historical images from around the globe. Search the map to view images or...

We welcome historical images from collections of all sizes, from libraries and historical societies to individuals with a boxful of cool old photos."
via:javierarbona  archive  photography  geography  mapping  maps  history  images  cities  moscow  boston  london  sanfrancisco  paris  amsterdam  losangeles  buenosaires  valparaíso  sandiego  local  portland  oregon  googlemaps  from delicious
october 2010 by robertogreco
Tom McDonough - The last of the bohemians | New Humanist
"Situationist writings on the city seem more relevant, and necessary, than ever, as our urban landscape is given over to gentrification, privatisation and the imposition of security measures guaranteeing ever more surveillance and policing of the population. You can hear the echoes of the SI in some of today’s most radical voices among the anarchist Left, but perhaps more importantly, you can see the evident truth of many of their conclusions by simply taking a close look at the city around you: the ghettoised suburbs and “no-go” zones of our metropolises were first mapped in their writings over four decades ago. Their combination of hardheaded analysis and poetic fantasy seems just what our disillusioned moment requires – an infusion of intransigence and utopia. Until city air really does make us free, the Situationist critique will remain a crucial instrument for remaking our urban space in a more human, and humane, image."
paris  poetry  philosophy  politics  situationist  surrealism  history  tommcdonough  cities  via:javierarbona  landscape  urban  urbanism 
march 2010 by robertogreco
Todo cabe en una cajita… | Ciudad Posible
"Esta imagen...muestra las áreas construidas de Atlanta y Barcelona (1990). Ambas urbes están representadas a la misma escala, y tienen aproximadamente la misma población. Sin embargo el contraste en su manera de utilizar el suelo es increíble: resulta que podrían caber 26 Barcelonas en el área que hoy ocupa Atlanta.

Esta otra imagen muestra la superficie ocupada por la ciudad de Phoenix, Arizona (2002). Como pueden ver, dentro de ella podrían caber Roma, San Francisco, Paris, toda la isla de Manhattan… y aún así sobraría espacio.

El estilo de vida posible en cada una de estas ciudades es radicalmente distinto. En Phoenix manejas, en Paris caminas. En Atlanta puedes vivir en barrios socialmente homogéneos, mientras que en Barcelona es imposible dejar de percibir la diversidad existente. La población de los dos tipos de ciudades aquí mostradas tienen relativamente el mismo nivel de ingresos, pero vivir en una ciudad desparramada no se parece nada a vivir en una ciudad compacta."
paris  barcelona  atlanta  phoenix  sprawl  cities  urban  suburban  density  diversity  urbanism  nyc  manhattan  rome  sanfrancisco  sunbelt 
february 2010 by robertogreco
3quarksdaily - Choose Your Story
"grew up on dusty, rural road ... occasional ride to nearest city, Las Vegas, was a 2-hour special event...smog, sprawling stores, slums & soaring signs of Strip were best of urban life that I knew...visiting the big library at the UNLV feels like arriving at the Library of Alexandria & being anointed with knowledge, olive oil & cool water from a half-functioning drinking fountain. I didn't understand what I was missing until one morning when, as a 16 year old boy, I landed in Paris. My perspective on LV changed dramatically, as did my perspective on most things in my life... walking or driving through a city — and especially, doing so in multiple cities — is like walking or riding through one's own mind...like reading literature...Giles Gunn has suggested that literature enables two functions: to speak what is unspeakable and to experience feelings which have been forgotten. When one reads about faraway lands in a book, one simultaneously visits strange feelings w/in oneself."
cities  libraries  knowledge  travel  urban  urbanism  learning  thinking  reading  experience  parenting  paris  lasvegas  cv  glvo  exploration  stories 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Paris frets over its backwater standing - 20 Jul 2008 - NZ Herald: Entertainment News, Reviews and Gossip from New Zealand and around the World
"worshippers these days are consumers, not creators...mainly foreign tourists...The city chemistry that produced rawness, dynamism, change and challenge seems absent...Artists looking for the buzz go to London or Berlin, or further afield to New York"
art  creativity  culture  history  cities  paris  france  via:kottke 
july 2008 by robertogreco
hitotoki : A Narrative Map of Tokyo, New York, London, Paris, Shanghai, Sofia...
"Hitotoki is an online literary project collecting stories of singular experiences tied to locations in cities worldwide."

[Update 17 July 2013: Link now redirects to Hi [http://hi.co ], so here's the Wayback link: http://web.archive.org/web/20130117051029/http://hitotoki.org/ ]
tokyo  shortstories  geography  cities  mapping  location  literature  travel  nyc  paris  sofia  shanghai  london  japan  writing  stories  maps  ethnography  storytelling  place  community  magazines  narrative  hyperlocal  street  urban  hitotoki 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Cities and Ambition
"Even when a city is still a live center of ambition, you won't know for sure whether its message will resonate with you till you hear it...You'll probably have to find the city where you feel at home to know what sort of ambition you have."
paulgraham  cities  living  life  lifestyle  happiness  sanfrancisco  siliconvalley  nyc  paris  entrepreneurship  employment  work  careers  demographics  economics  proximity  urban  geography  society  bayarea  boston  california  education  knowledge  universities  psychogeography  location  art  restaurants  technology  science  math  research  money  business  challenge  wealth  class  social  insiders  intelligence  culture  commentary  losangeles  washingtondc  berkeley  comparison  dc 
may 2008 by robertogreco
Streetsblog » How Paris is Beating Traffic Without Congestion Pricing
"Congestion pricing turned out to be unfeasible, because influential political forces in suburbs ...Undaunted, the mayor found other means to achieve his transportation agenda....private auto use has dropped 20 percent in a few short years."
buses  cars  paris  cities  transportation  circulation  traffic  urbanism  france  nyc  policy  planning  politics 
april 2008 by robertogreco
enRoute February 2008
"From Paris to Bogotá, urban spaces are undergoing a radical transformation with one thing in mind: your well-being...more time we spend on foot, on bikes or even on public transit, more we slow down, more we fuel this kind of social alchemy."
via:cityofsound  bikes  canada  cities  transportation  urban  urbanism  bogotá  colombia  paris  france  planning  well-being  creativity  design  psychology  lifestyle  mexico  mexicodf  qualityoflife  traffic  df  mexicocity 
march 2008 by robertogreco
hitotoki : A Narrative Map of Tokyo
"We’re looking for short narratives describing pivotal moments of elation, confusion, absurdity, love or grief — or anything in between — inseparably tied to a specific place in Tokyo or New York."

[Update 17 July 2013: Link now redirects to Hi [sahi.co], so here's the Wayback link: http://web.archive.org/web/20130117051029/http://hitotoki.org/tokyo/ ]
tokyo  japan  shortstories  stories  geography  cities  mapping  maps  location  literature  travel  nyc  paris  sofia  shanghai  london  ethnography  storytelling  place  community  magazines  writing  narrative  hitotoki 
october 2007 by robertogreco
Paris Parks @ National Geographic Magazine
"Why are citizens of the City of Light so intent on finding space for parks and gardens, for street trees and nature strips? For that matter, why would any city go to the bother and expense of growing green space in the stone and steel of an urban environ
architecture  life  cities  paris  europe  parks  outdoors  society 
september 2006 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Paris 2054
"But, either way, the film seems further proof that students of architectural design should stop pinning all their hopes solely on architecture, and consider guerilla careers as film, or even game, start-ups, using their graphic ideas and energy to take o
film  animation  architecture  design  cities  future  paris  europe 
april 2006 by robertogreco
Archinect : News : Paris in Nine Minutes
"C'était un rendez-vous is a legendary cinéma vérité short film made in 1976 by Claude Lelouch. Using a Ferrari 275 GTB early one August morning, Lelouch attached a camera to the bumper of the car and sped through the streets of Paris. He gave the dri
film  transportation  cars  cities  paris 
january 2006 by robertogreco

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