robertogreco + seattle   110

San Francisco; or, How to Destroy a City | Public Books
"As New York City and Greater Washington, DC, prepared for the arrival of Amazon’s new secondary headquarters, Torontonians opened a section of their waterfront to Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs, which plans to prototype a new neighborhood “from the internet up.” Fervent resistance arose in all three locations, particularly as citizens and even some elected officials discovered that many of the terms of these public-private partnerships were hashed out in closed-door deals, secreted by nondisclosure agreements. Critics raised questions about the generous tax incentives and other subsidies granted to these multibillion-dollar corporations, their plans for data privacy and digital governance, what kind of jobs they’d create and housing they’d provide, and how their arrival could impact local infrastructures, economies, and cultures. While such questioning led Amazon to cancel their plans for Long Island City in mid-February, other initiatives press forward. What does it mean when Silicon Valley—a geographic region that’s become shorthand for an integrated ideology and management style usually equated with libertarian techno-utopianism—serves as landlord, utility provider, urban developer, (unelected) city official, and employer, all rolled into one?1

We can look to Alphabet’s and Amazon’s home cities for clues. Both the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle have been dramatically remade by their local tech powerhouses: Amazon and Microsoft in Seattle; and Google, Facebook, and Apple (along with countless other firms) around the Bay. As Jennifer Light, Louise Mozingo, Margaret O’Mara, and Fred Turner have demonstrated, technology companies have been reprogramming urban and suburban landscapes for decades.2 And “company towns” have long sprung up around mills, mines, and factories.3 But over the past few years, as development has boomed and income inequality has dramatically increased in the Bay Area, we’ve witnessed the arrival of several new books reflecting on the region’s transformation.

These titles, while focusing on the Bay, offer lessons to New York, DC, Toronto, and the countless other cities around the globe hoping to spur growth and economic development by hosting and ingesting tech—by fostering the growth of technology companies, boosting STEM education, and integrating new sensors and screens into their streetscapes and city halls. For years, other municipalities, fashioning themselves as “the Silicon Valley of [elsewhere],” have sought to reverse-engineer the Bay’s blueprint for success. As we’ll see, that blueprint, drafted to optimize the habits and habitats of a privileged few, commonly elides the material needs of marginalized populations and fragile ecosystems. It prioritizes efficiency and growth over the maintenance of community and the messiness of public life. Yet perhaps we can still redraw those plans, modeling cities that aren’t only made by powerbrokers, and that thrive when they prioritize the stewardship of civic resources over the relentless pursuit of innovation and growth."



"We must also recognize the ferment and diversity inherent in Bay Area urban historiography, even in the chronicles of its large-scale development projects. Isenberg reminds us that even within the institutions and companies responsible for redevelopment, which are often vilified for exacerbating urban ills, we find pockets of heterogeneity and progressivism. Isenberg seeks to supplement the dominant East Coast narratives, which tend to frame urban renewal as a battle between development and preservation.

In surveying a variety of Bay Area projects, from Ghirardelli Square to The Sea Ranch to the Transamerica Pyramid, Isenberg shifts our attention from star architects and planners to less prominent, but no less important, contributors in allied design fields: architectural illustration, model-making, publicity, journalism, property management, retail planning, the arts, and activism. “People who are elsewhere peripheral and invisible in the history of urban design are,” in her book, “networked through the center”; they play critical roles in shaping not only the urban landscape, but also the discourses and processes through which that landscape takes shape.

For instance, debates over public art in Ghirardelli Square—particularly Ruth Asawa’s mermaid sculpture, which featured breastfeeding lesbian mermaids—“provoked debates about gender, sexuality, and the role of urban open space in San Francisco.” Property manager Caree Rose, who worked alongside her husband, Stuart, coordinated with designers to master-plan the Square, acknowledging that retail, restaurants, and parking are also vital ingredients of successful public space. Publicist Marion Conrad and graphic designer Bobbie Stauffacher were key members of many San Francisco design teams, including that for The Sea Ranch community, in Sonoma County. Illustrators and model-makers, many of them women, created objects that mediated design concepts for clients and typically sat at the center of public debates.

These creative collaborators “had the capacity to swing urban design decisions, structure competition for land, and generally set in motion the fate of neighborhoods.” We see the rhetorical power of diverse visualization strategies reflected across these four books, too: Solnit’s offers dozens of photographs, by Susan Schwartzenberg—of renovations, construction sites, protests, dot-com workplaces, SRO hotels, artists’ studios—while Walker’s dense text is supplemented with charts, graphs, and clinical maps. McClelland’s book, with its relatively large typeface and extra-wide leading, makes space for his interviewees’ words to resonate, while Isenberg generously illustrates her pages with archival photos, plans, and design renderings, many reproduced in evocative technicolor.

By decentering the star designer and master planner, Isenberg reframes urban (re)development as a collaborative enterprise involving participants with diverse identities, skills, and values. And in elevating the work of “allied” practitioners, Isenberg also aims to shift the focus from design to land: public awareness of land ownership and commitment to responsible public land stewardship. She introduces us to several mid-century alternative publications—weekly newspapers, Black periodicals, activists’ manuals, and books that never made it to the best-seller list … or never even made it to press—that advocated for a focus on land ownership and politics. Yet the discursive power of Jacobs and Caro, which framed the debate in terms of urban development vs. preservation, pushed these other texts off the shelf—and, along with them, the “moral questions of land stewardship” they highlighted.

These alternative tales and supporting casts serve as reminders that the modern city need not succumb to Haussmannization or Moses-ification or, now, Googlization. Mid-century urban development wasn’t necessarily the monolithic, patriarchal, hegemonic force we imagined it to be—a realization that should steel us to expect more and better of our contemporary city-building projects. Today, New York, Washington, DC, and Toronto—and other cities around the world—are being reshaped not only by architects, planners, and municipal administrators, but also by technologists, programmers, data scientists, “user experience” experts and logistics engineers. These are urbanism’s new “allied” professions, and their work deals not only with land and buildings, but also, increasingly, with data and algorithms.

Some critics have argued that the real reason behind Amazon’s nationwide HQ2 search was to gather data from hundreds of cities—both quantitative and qualitative data that “could guide it in its expansion of the physical footprint, in the kinds of services it rolls out next, and in future negotiations and lobbying with states and municipalities.”5 This “trove of information” could ultimately be much more valuable than all those tax incentives and grants. If this is the future of urban development, our city officials and citizens must attend to the ownership and stewardship not only of their public land, but also of their public data. The mismanagement of either could—to paraphrase our four books’ titles—elongate the dark shadows cast by growing inequality, abet the siege of exploitation and displacement, “hollow out” our already homogenizing neighborhoods, and expedite the departure of an already “gone” city.

As Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti muses in his “Pictures of the Gone World 11,” which inspired Walker’s title: “The world is a beautiful place / to be born into / if you don’t mind some people dying / all the time / or maybe only starving / some of the time / which isn’t half so bad / if it isn’t you.” This is precisely the sort of solipsism and stratification that tech-libertarianism and capitalist development promotes—and that responsible planning, design, and public stewardship must prevent."
cities  shannonmattern  2019  sanfrancisco  siliconvalley  nyc  washingtondc  seattle  amazon  google  apple  facebook  technology  inequality  governance  libertarianism  urban  urbanism  microsoft  jenniferlight  louisemozingo  margareto'mara  fredturner  efficiency  growth  marginalization  publicgood  civics  innovation  rebeccasolnit  gentrification  privatization  homogenization  susanschwartzenberg  carymcclelland  economics  policy  politics  richardwalker  bayarea  lisonisenberg  janejacobs  robertmoses  diversity  society  inclusivity  inclusion  exclusion  counterculture  cybercultue  culture  progressive  progressivism  wealth  corporatism  labor  alexkaufman  imperialism  colonization  californianideology  california  neoliberalism  privacy  technosolutionism  urbanization  socialjustice  environment  history  historiography  redevelopment  urbanplanning  design  activism  landscape  ruthasawa  gender  sexuality  openspace  publicspace  searanch  toronto  larenceferlinghetti  susanschartzenberg  bobbiestauffacher  careerose  stuartrose  ghirardellisqure  marionconrad  illustration  a 
march 2019 by robertogreco
Why the West Coast Is Suddenly Beating the East Coast on Transportation - The New York Times
"When Seattle’s King County Metro won the award in September, it was praised as “a system that is expanding and innovating to meet rising demand” — not to mention a program that offers lower fares for poor riders that has served as a model for New York and other cities. Transit ridership in Seattle is growing, and car use is down.

One key difference is the West Coast has the ballot measure, while New York State does not allow voters to directly approve measures like transit funding. In 2016, both Los Angeles County and the Seattle region approved measures to boost transportation funding. The Los Angeles proposal, known as Measure M, won nearly 70 percent of the vote, greenlighting $120 billion in spending by raising the sales tax.

“The ballot initiative allows them to proceed without the political angst you’d have in Albany,” said Jon Orcutt, a director at TransitCenter, a research group in New York. “It takes some pressure off politicians. The voters go out and do it, and that creates political cover.”

Los Angeles plans to build 100 new miles of rail — essentially doubling the Metro system, whose first rail line opened in 1990. There are now six lines and 93 stations. Huge machines recently began digging new tunnels for a Purple Line extension to the county’s Westside — part of a plan to attract younger people who are more likely to favor transit and worry about the environmental impact of cars.

“We had a political miracle,” Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles, said in an interview. “A permanent 1-cent sales tax.”

Mr. Garcetti, a Democrat, hopes the new rail lines will boost transit ridership. The number of train and bus trips in Los Angeles has dropped in recent years, though he blamed that on low gas prices and national trends in declining transit ridership.

Mr. Garcetti makes a point of using the subway. He took the Red Line recently, from City Hall to MacArthur Park, to visit Langer’s for the city’s “best pastrami sandwich.” He is also deciding how best to regulate the electric scooters that have flooded Los Angeles."
losangeles  nyc  policy  politics  maintenance  repair  seattle  infrastructure  publictransit  transportation  subways  lightrail  cars  2019 
january 2019 by robertogreco
Black Twitter: American Twitter gets its new terms from Black Twitter — Quartz
"African American English may be America’s greatest source of linguistic creativity.

A new study, led by Jack Grieve, a professor of corpus linguistics at the University of Birmingham in the UK, analyzed nearly 1 billion tweets to find out how new terms emerge on the platform. By looking at words that go from total obscurity to mainstream usage on Twitter in a short period of time, the research can begin to answer questions like: Is one part of the country more linguistically creative than the others? And do new words spread from a geographical origin outward, or does the internet allow them to emerge everywhere, simultaneously?

To some extent, the answer to both questions is “yes,” as I have written previously. But the study points out the particular importance of one community on Twitter in particular, concluding, “African American English is the main source of lexical innovation on American Twitter.”

To get to that result, the authors extracted billions of words from tweets by users in the United States. They then identified the words that were very uncommon around October 2013, but had become widely used by November 2014. After getting rid of proper nouns and variations of the same term, they settled on 54 “emerging words,” including famo, tfw, yaas, and rekt.

Identifying those terms allowed the researchers to analyze out how new words spread. That pointed to five “common regional patterns” of lexical creation: the West Coast, centered around California; the Deep South, around Atlanta; the Northwest and New York; the Mid-Atlantic and DC; and the Gulf Coast, centered on New Orleans.

Of those five, the Deep South is exceptional in the way it brings about new terms. Usually, a term starts in a densely populated urban area, then spreads to urban areas in other parts of the country. In the case of the West Coast, for example, terms tend to start in Los Angeles and San Francisco, then make their way to Seattle, Portland, San Diego, Las Vegas, and Phoenix.

That doesn’t happen as much in the Deep South. There, the spread of creative new words appears to be driven more by culture than population density. Atlanta, the authors point out, is small relative to urban powerhouses like LA and New York. And terms that originate in the South do not spread by jumping to other cities; instead, they spread via areas with large black populations.

The map below shows the different regions the study uncovered; each county in the US is colored based on the pattern of spread it is most closely associated with. As you can see, the West Coast map shows several red hotspots well beyond California, popping up as far away as Seattle, Florida, and the Northeast. Several other maps look like that, too—the Northeast pattern has green splotches in Louisiana, the South, and Southern California; the Mid-Atlantic map shows deep purple in Chicago, Texas, and elsewhere. The Deep South, on the other hand, spreads straight out from the area around Atlanta, with only a very faint blue on top of San Francisco.

[maps]

That alone wouldn’t be enough to say that African American English is the “main source” of new terms on American Twitter. But the paper adds that three of the five patterns above seem to be “primarily associated with African American English.” That is to say, these patterns reflect the distribution of the black population in the US. Often, the study finds, the percentage of a county that is black appears to be more important than just the number of people living there in fueling linguistic creativity. In Georgia and North Carolina, for example, linguistically innovative areas “are not necessarily more populous but do generally contain higher percentages of African Americans.” This, they conclude, shows “the inordinate influence of African American English on Twitter.”

Many of the Black Twitter terms identified in the study will be familiar to any frequent Twitter user. Among the ones most associated with the Deep South region are famo (family and friends), fleek (on point), and baeless (single). But the fastest-emerging terms come from other places and cultures, too. Waifu, for example, a Japanese borrowing of the English word “wife,” is associated with the West Coast and anime."
blacktwitter  language  english  communication  invention  culture  2018  2013  nikhilsonnad  jackgrieve  linguistics  deepsouth  sandiego  portland  oregon  seattle  lasvegas  phoenix  westcoast  losangeles  sanfrancisco  california  atlanta  nyc  washingtondc  nola  neworleans  chicago 
september 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
Raven Brings Light to this House of Stories — UW Libraries
"A Native American, Pacific Northwest Coast story tells how once it was so dark here that the People sent Raven and Mink to bring back light. Artworks by Mare Blocker, Carl Chew, Ron Hilbert Coy, and J.T. Stewart located throughout the Kenneth S. Allen Library are parts of a contemporary retelling of this story. In this retelling, light symbolizes the Library's collected knowledge.

Raven Brings Light to this House of Stories is a project of the Washington State Arts Commission, Art in Public Places Program in partnership with the University of Washington. The title of the work can be found written along the southeast wall in the Ground Floor Lobby, Allen North. It is in Lushootseed and English. Lushootseed speaking people are the Native Americans ancestral to where Seattle is today.



The installation includes:

• Ravens and Crows
By the artist team. In the Lobby and throughout the Library.

• Table of Knowledge
A cedar table by Ron Hilbert Coy celebrating the passage of knowledge from one generation to the next. In the Lobby.

• Presentations from the International Symposium of Light
A book by the artists, printed and bound by Mare Blocker. In the Lobby on the Table of Knowledge.

• Broadsides
Poems by J.T. Stewart, printed by Mare Blocker. In the Lobby, and 2nd Floor Bridge between Allen North and South Wings.

• Study Desks
Two Cawpets by Carl Chew. Balcony 1st Floor Allen North, and 3rd Floor Allen South.

• Things the Crows Left
Special Collections.

Mare Blocker is an artist book maker and publisher from Jerome, Arizona.
Rug designer and manufacturer Carl Chew, artist, carver, and story teller Ron Hilbert Coy, and literary artist and instructor J.T. Stewart reside in Seattle."
universityofwashington  seattle  washingtonstate  ravens  rt  corvids  mareblocker  art  installations  carlchew  ronhilbertcoy  jtstewart  knowledge  libraries 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Yes, You Can Build Your Way to Affordable Housing | Sightline Institute
"Houston, Tokyo, Chicago, Montreal, Vienna, Singapore, Germany—all these places have built their way to affordable housing. They’re not alone. Housing economist Issi Romem has detailed the numerous American metro areas that have done the same: Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix, Raleigh, and more. Many more. They have done so mostly by sprawling like Houston.

In fact, Romem’s principal finding is that US cities divide into three groups: expansive cities (sprawling cities where housing is relatively affordable such as those just listed), expensive cities (which sprawl much less but are more expensive because they resist densification, typified by San Francisco), and legacy cities (like Detroit, which are not growing).

Romem’s research makes clear that the challenge for Cascadian cities is to densify their way to affordability—a rare feat on this continent. Chicago and Montreal are the best examples mentioned above.

In Cascadia’s cities, though, an ascendant left-leaning political approach tends to discount such private-market urbanism for social democratic approaches like that in Vienna.

Unfortunately, the Vienna model, like the Singapore one, may not be replicable in Cascadia. Massive public spending and massive public control work in both Vienna and Singapore, but they depend on long histories of public-sector involvement in housing plus entrenched institutions and national laws that are beyond the pale of North American politics. No North American jurisdiction has ever come close to building enough public or nonprofit housing to keep up with aggregate housing demand. This statement is not to disparage subsidized housing for those at the bottom of the economic ladder or with special needs. Cascadia’s social housing programs provide better residences for hundreds of thousands of people who would otherwise be in substandard homes or on the streets.

But acknowledging the implausibility of the Vienna model for Cascadia may help us have realistic expectations about how large (well, small) a contribution public and nonprofit housing can make in solving the region’s housing shortage writ large. Accepting that reality may help us guard against wishful thinking.

Because adopting a blinkered view of housing models is dangerous. Adopting the view that Vienna, for example, is the one true path to the affordable city—a view that fits well with a strand of urban Cascadia’s current left-leaning politics, which holds that profit-seeking in homebuilding is suspect and that capitalist developers, rather than being necessary means to the end of abundant housing, are to be resisted in favor of virtuous not-for-profit or public ventures—runs the risk of taking us to a different city entirely.

In the political, legal, and institutional context of North America, trying to tame the mega-billion-dollar home building industry—and the mega-trillion dollar real-estate asset value held by homeowners and companies—in order to steer the entire housing economy toward a Viennese public-and-nonprofit model may end up taking us not to Vienna at all but to a different city. It might end up delivering us to San Francisco. So . . ."
housing  houston  tokyo  chicago  montreal  vienna  singapore  germany  economics  policy  cascadia  sanfrancisco  seattle  phoenix  atlanta  chrarlotte  dallas  lasvegas  orlando  raleigh  sprawl  northamerica  us  canada 
september 2017 by robertogreco
The city that solved homelessness
"European cities, in general, do much better than North America in providing housing. The Austrian capital, though, has had unusual success with housing issues that dog metro areas in the Pacific Northwest.

Vienna offers a vision of a city that doesn’t shove long-time residents to neighboring communities, accommodates a range of incomes, and actually has enough affordable housing that the homeless problem is solved.

The Austrian capital’s model has attracted attention in Asia, other parts of the U.S. and Vancouver, British Columbia, where political leaders have declared a homelessness crisis. Recently, a Museum of Vancouver exhibit, “The Vienna Model: Housing for the 21st Century City,” has provoked considerable attention.

In terms of people living on the streets, there’s just “no comparison, no comparison” at all between European cities in general and the U.S. or even Canada, says William Menking, the New York-based co-editor of a book, “The Vienna Model,” on which the exhibit is based. He’s in Berlin currently, where on a recent day in a working-class neighborhood he didn’t see a single homeless person.

Here are just a few of the many issues that Vienna has figured out: Mixing ethnic, age and income groups. Protecting open space. Aging in place. Transit-centered development. Building new train lines to the hinterlands before suburban housing developments are built.

These successes cut across the range of social, transportation and sustainability issues that Seattle knows it should tackle.

Some of Vienna’s housing uses the high-rise, easy-to-construct styles that generally flopped — often so spectacularly that whole buildings were demolished — in America’s public housing. Austria, like America, has a history of discrimination (Hitler spent considerable time there) and ethnic tensions; it approached its big housing projects with an eye toward creating a functioning society."

Even before World War II, Vienna was working at bringing people together in attractive housing projects, not warehousing the needy and the working class. Architects sought to create a “garden city” for workers with an early low-rise complex, George-Washington-Hof. In the 1960s, a large, 11-story complex of prefabricated elements plopped in place by cranes was redeemed by individual units that were laid out to allow ample natural light, and by buildings placed in such a way that they create a park-like setting. By the mid-’70s, a complex with 20-plus story buildings — called Wohnpark (Residential Park) Alt-Erlaa — was being built for 7,000 people with spacious gardens, rooftop pools, saunas, preschools and more — a concept the exhibit organizers call “luxury for all.”

More recent innovations tend to use somewhat lower-rise buildings juxtaposed with a variety of walkways, recreational facilities, residence balconies and green space — all accomplished while creating enough density to support transit.

One recent housing project used generally low-rise construction and flexible floor plans to ensure that residents could have options as they aged to shrink their space or share their units with others — and the rooftop gardens are wheelchair accessible.

Those rooftop gardens, common in Vienna’s housing for people of all incomes, are starting to pop up in a few new developments here — for those who can afford the steep-even-for-Seattle rents.

Vienna certainly has advantages: The federal government covers more than half of the roughly $700 million a year spent there on “social housing,” the subsidized units that house about 60 percent of the city’s population. These dwellings have some sort of subsidy for construction or operation, a concept that’s very different from the public housing practices in this country that give a small percentage of people a break but come nowhere near making rents broadly affordable.

The city also owns a lot of land where it can develop the housing complexes (at least one Viennese architect advises never selling public land). And it uses its advantages smartly: Menking says that the practice of awarding housing projects to nonprofits encourages collaborations with architects, and quality counts in making awards. The result: housing that incorporates — and creates — the best of urban life."
vienna  housing  government  policy  property  development  2017  seattle  joecopeland  values  society  density  urban  urbanism 
june 2017 by robertogreco
What's Wrong with Apple's New Headquarters | WIRED
"But … one more one more thing. You can’t understand a building without looking at what’s around it—its site, as the architects say. From that angle, Apple’s new HQ is a retrograde, literally inward-looking building with contempt for the city where it lives and cities in general. People rightly credit Apple for defining the look and feel of the future; its computers and phones seem like science fiction. But by building a mega-headquarters straight out of the middle of the last century, Apple has exacerbated the already serious problems endemic to 21st-century suburbs like Cupertino—transportation, housing, and economics. Apple Park is an anachronism wrapped in glass, tucked into a neighborhood."



"Apple Park isn’t the first high-end, suburban corporate headquarters. In fact, that used to be the norm. Look back at the 1950s and 1960s and, for example, the Connecticut General Life Insurance HQ in Hartford or John Deere’s headquarters in Moline, Illinois. “They were stunningly beautiful, high modernist buildings by quality architects using cutting-edge technology to create buildings sheathed in glass with a seamless relationship between inside and outside, dependent on the automobile to move employees to the site,” says Louise Mozingo, a landscape architect at UC Berkeley and author of Pastoral Capitalism: A History of Suburban Corporate Landscapes. “There was a kind of splendid isolation that was seen as productive, capturing the employees for an entire day and in the process reinforcing an insular corporate culture.”

By moving out of downtown skyscrapers and building in the suburbs, corporations were reflecting 1950s ideas about cities—they were dirty, crowded, and unpleasantly diverse. The suburbs, though, were exclusive, aspirational, and architectural blank slates. (Also, buildings there are easier to secure and workers don’t go out for lunch where they might hear about other, better jobs.) It was corporatized white flight. (Mozingo, I should add, speaks to this retrograde notion in Levy’s WIRED story.)

Silicon Valley, though, never really played by these rules. IBM built a couple of research sites modeled on its East Coast redoubts, but in general, “Silicon Valley has thrived on using rather interchangeable buildings for their workplaces,” Mozingo says. You start in a garage, take over half a floor in a crummy office park, then take over the full floor, then the building, then get some venture capital and move to a better office park. “Suddenly you’re Google, and you have this empire of office buildings along 101."

And then when a bust comes or your new widget won’t widge, you let some leases lapse or sell some real estate. More than half of the lot where Apple sited its new home used to be Hewlett Packard. The Googleplex used to be Silicon Graphics. It’s the circuit of life.

Except when you have a statement building like the Spaceship, the circuit can’t complete. If Apple ever goes out of business, what would happen to the building? The same thing that happened to Union Carbide’s. That’s why nobody builds these things anymore. Successful buildings engage with their surroundings—and to be clear, Apple isn’t in some suburban arcadia. It’s in a real live city, across the street from houses and retail, near two freeway onramps.

Except the Ring is mostly hidden behind artificial berms, like Space Mountain at Disneyland. “They’re all these white elephants. Nobody knows what the hell to do with them. They’re iconic, high-end buildings, and who cares?” Mozingo says. “You have a $5 billion office building, incredibly idiosyncratic, impossible to purpose for somebody else. Nobody’s going to move into Steve Jobs’ old building.”"



"The problems in the Bay Area (and Los Angeles and many other cities) are a lot more complicated than an Apple building, of course. Cities all have to balance how they feel about adding jobs, which can be an economic benefit, and adding housing, which also requires adding expensive services like schools and transit. Things are especially tough in California, where a 1978 law called Proposition 13 radically limits the amount that the state can raise property taxes yearly. Not only did its passage gut basic services the state used to excel at, like education, but it also turned real estate into the primary way Californians accrued and preserved personal wealth. If you bought a cheap house in the 1970s in the Bay Area, today it’s a gold mine—and you are disincentivized from doing anything that would reduce its value, like, say, allowing an apartment building to be built anywhere within view.

Meanwhile California cities also have to figure out how to pay for their past employees’ pensions, an ever-increasing percentage of city budgets. Since they can’t tax old homes and can’t build new ones, commercial real estate and tech booms look pretty good. “It’s a lot to ask a corporate campus to fix those problems,” Arieff says.

But that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t try. Some companies are: The main building of the cloud storage company Box, for example, is across the street from the Redwood City CalTrain station, and the company lets people downtown park in its lot on weekends. “The architecture is neither here nor there, but it’s a billion times more effective than the Apple campus,” Arieff says. That’s a more contemporary approach than building behind hills, away from transit.

When those companies are transnational technology corporations, it’s even harder to make that case. “Tech tends to be remarkably detached from local conditions, primarily because they’re selling globally,” says Ed Glaeser, a Harvard economist who studies cities. “They’re not particularly tied to local suppliers or local customers.” So it’s hard to get them to help fix local problems. They have even less of an incentive to solve planning problems than California homeowners do. “Even if they see the problem and the solution, there’s not a way to sell that. This is why there are government services,” Arieff says. “You can’t solve a problem like CalTrain frequency or the jobs-to-housing ratio with a market-based solution.”

Cities are changing; a more contemporary approach to commercial architecture builds up instead of out, as the planning association’s report says. Apple’s ring sites 2.5 million square feet on 175 acres of rolling hills and trees meant to evoke the Stanford campus. The 60-story tall Salesforce Tower in San Francisco has 1.5 million square feet, takes up about an acre, has a direct connection to a major transit station—the new Transbay Terminal—and cost a fifth of the Apple ring. Stipulated, the door handles probably aren’t as nice, but the views are killer.

The Future

Cupertino is the kind of town that technology writers tend to describe as “once-sleepy” or even, and this should really set off your cliche alarm, “nondescript.” But Shrivastava had me meet her for coffee at Main Street Cupertino, a new development that—unlike the rotten strip malls along Stevens Creek Blvd—combines cute restaurants and shops with multi-story residential development and a few hundred square feet of grass that almost nearly sort of works as a town square.

Across the actual street from Main Street, the old Vallco Mall—one of those medieval fortress-like shopping centers with a Christmas-sized parking lot for a moat—has become now Cupertino’s most hotly debated site for new development. (The company that built Main Street owns it.) Like all the other once-sleepy, nondescript towns in Silicon Valley, Cupertino knows it has to change. Shrivastava knows that change takes time.

It takes even longer, though, if businesses are reluctant partners. In the early 20th century, when industrial capitalists were first starting to get really, really rich, they noticed that publicly financed infrastructure would help them get richer. If you own land that you want to develop into real estate, you want a train that gets there and trolleys that connect it to a downtown and water and power for the houses you’re going to build. Maybe you want libraries and schools to induce families to live there. So you team up with government. “In most parts of the US, you open a tap and drink the water and it won’t kill you. There was a moment when this was a goal of both government and capital,” Mozingo says. “Early air pollution and water pollution regulations were an agreement between capitalism and government.”

Again, in the 1930s and 1940s, burgeoning California Bay Area businesses realized they’d need a regional transit network. They worked for 30 years alongside communities and planners to build what became BART, still today a strange hybrid between regional connector and urban subway.

Tech companies are taking baby steps in this same direction. Google added housing to the package deal surrounding the construction of its new HQ in the North Bayshore area—nearly 10,000 apartments. (That HQ is a collection of fancy pavilion-like structures from famed architect Bjarke Ingels.) Facebook’s new headquarters (from famed architect Frank Gehry) is supposed to be more open to the community, maybe even with a farmers’ market. Amazon’s new headquarters in downtown Seattle, some of 10 million square feet of office space the company has there, comes with terrarium-like domes that look like a good version of Passengers.

So what could Apple have built? Something taller, with mixed-use development around it? Cupertino would never have allowed it. But putting form factor aside, the best, smartest designers and architects in the world could have tried something new. Instead it produced a building roughly the shape of a navel, and then gazed into it.

Steven Levy wrote that the headquarters was Steve Jobs’ last great project, an expression of the way he saw his domain. It may look like a circle, but it’s actually a pyramid—a monument… [more]
apple  urbanism  cities  architects  architecture  adamrogers  2017  applecampus  cupertino  suburbia  cars  civics  howbuildingslearn  stevejobs  design  housing  publictransit  civicresponsibility  corporations  proposition13  bart  allisonarieff  bayarea  1030s  1940s  1950s  facebook  google  amazon  seattle  siliconvalley  isolationism  caltrain  government  capitalism  publicgood  louisemozingo  unioncarbide  ibm  history  future  landscape  context  inequality 
june 2017 by robertogreco
Where is Gentrification Happening in Your City? | Data-Smart City Solutions
"Gentrification—demographic and physical changes in neighborhoods that bring in wealthier residents, greater investment, and more development—has become a buzzword in urban planning. As traditionally low-income neighborhoods across the U.S. gentrify, social justice advocates have become increasingly concerned about displacement, the dislocation of low-income residents due to prohibitive prices. As a result, policymakers and urban planners have begun to consider strategies to combat the byproducts of gentrification in recently-developed or developing neighborhoods, such as providing low-cost amenities and rent controlled or low-income housing.

The first step in addressing gentrification is understanding where it has happened and where it is likely to happen in the future. A number of cities have found mapping to be a powerful tool for observing gentrification trends, allowing them to intervene before low-income residents are seriously affected. Cities have created maps using data mostly from public sources both to better understand historical trends in gentrification and displacement and predict the next areas where low-income residents are likely to lose their homes. While each model is unique, all display methodologies that are applicable across cities. For a factor by factor overview of models in seven U.S. cities, see

Los Angeles i-Team’s Indices of Neighborhood Change and Displacement Pressure

Urban Displacement Project Los Angeles Map of Neighborhood Change

Portland’s Susceptibility to Gentrification Model

Seattle Displacement Risk Analysis

Boston’s Displacement-Risk Map

Urban Displacement Project San Francisco Bay Area Displacement Risk Analysis

The Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development’s Displacement Alert Project Map
Limitations

Appendix: Comparison of Models"
gentrification  displacement  demographics  maps  mapping  losangeles  sanfrancisco  bayarea  seattle  portland  oregon  boston  housing  2017  chrisbousquet 
june 2017 by robertogreco
The Weird Thing About Today's Internet - The Atlantic
"O’Reilly’s lengthy description of the principles of Web 2.0 has become more fascinating through time. It seems to be describing a slightly parallel universe. “Hyperlinking is the foundation of the web,” O’Reilly wrote. “As users add new content, and new sites, it is bound into the structure of the web by other users discovering the content and linking to it. Much as synapses form in the brain, with associations becoming stronger through repetition or intensity, the web of connections grows organically as an output of the collective activity of all web users.”

Nowadays, (hyper)linking is an afterthought because most of the action occurs within platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and messaging apps, which all have carved space out of the open web. And the idea of “harnessing collective intelligence” simply feels much more interesting and productive than it does now. The great cathedrals of that time, nearly impossible projects like Wikipedia that worked and worked well, have all stagnated. And the portrait of humanity that most people see filtering through the mechanics of Facebook or Twitter does not exactly inspire confidence in our social co-productions.

Outside of the open-source server hardware and software worlds, we see centralization. And with that centralization, five giant platforms have emerged as the five most valuable companies in the world: Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook."



"All this to say: These companies are now dominant. And they are dominant in a way that almost no other company has been in another industry. They are the mutant giant creatures created by software eating the world.

It is worth reflecting on the strange fact that the five most valuable companies in the world are headquartered on the Pacific coast between Cupertino and Seattle. Has there ever been a more powerful region in the global economy? Living in the Bay, having spent my teenage years in Washington state, I’ve grown used to this state of affairs, but how strange this must seem from from Rome or Accra or Manila.

Even for a local, there are things about the current domination of the technology industry that are startling. Take the San Francisco skyline. In 2007, the visual core of the city was north of Market Street, in the chunky buildings of the downtown financial district. The TransAmerica Pyramid was a regional icon and had been the tallest building in the city since construction was completed in 1972. Finance companies were housed there. Traditional industries and power still reigned. Until quite recently, San Francisco had primarily been a cultural reservoir for the technology industries in Silicon Valley to the south."

[See also:

"How the Internet has changed in the past 10 years"
http://kottke.org/17/05/how-the-internet-has-changed-in-the-past-10-years

"What no one saw back then, about a week after the release of the original iPhone, was how apps on smartphones would change everything. In a non-mobile world, these companies and services would still be formidable but if we were all still using laptops and desktops to access information instead of phones and tablets, I bet the open Web would have stood a better chance."

"‘The Internet Is Broken’: @ev Is Trying to Salvage It"
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/20/technology/evan-williams-medium-twitter-internet.html]

[Related:
"Tech’s Frightful Five: They’ve Got Us"
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/10/technology/techs-frightful-five-theyve-got-us.html

"Which Tech Giant Would You Drop?: The Big Five tech companies increasingly dominate our lives. Could you ditch them?"
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/05/10/technology/Ranking-Apple-Amazon-Facebook-Microsoft-Google.html

"Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Alphabet, the parent company of Google, are not just the largest technology companies in the world. As I’ve argued repeatedly in my column, they are also becoming the most powerful companies of any kind, essentially inescapable for any consumer or business that wants to participate in the modern world. But which of the Frightful Five is most unavoidable? I ponder the question in my column this week.

But what about you? If an evil monarch forced you to choose, in what order would you give up these inescapable giants of tech?"]
alexismadrigal  internet  2017  apple  facebook  google  amazon  microsoft  westcoast  bayarea  sanfrancisco  seattle  siliconvalley  twitter  salesforce  instagram  snapchat  timoreilly  2005  web  online  economics  centralization  2007  web2.0  whatsapp  evanwilliams  kottke  farhadmanjoo 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Of Thee I Read: The United States in Literature - The New York Times
"Reporters and editors on the National Desk of The New York Times were asked to suggest books that a visitor ought to read to truly understand the American cities and regions where they live, work and travel.

There were no restrictions — novels, memoirs, histories and children’s books were fair game. Here are some selections.

Recommend a book that captures something special about where you live in the comments, or on Twitter with the hashtag #natbooks."
us  literature  geography  2016  books  booklists  losangeles  california  thesouth  pacificnorthwest  seattle  cascadia  southwest  midwest  boston  neworleans  nola  maine 
august 2016 by robertogreco
Inclusive on Vimeo
"Learn how human-led design makes a deep and connecting impact, leading to innovative and inclusive solutions.

Learn more at inclusivethefilm.com

Participants:
Catharine Blaine K-8 School
Susan Goltsman - MIG, Inc
Will Lewis and Ted Hart - Skype Translator
TJ Parker - Pillpack
Graham Pullin - University of Dundee
The High School Affiliated to Renmin University Of China (RDFZ) Beijing
Jutta Treviranus - OCAD University
Mike Vanis - Interaction Designer"
inclusion  inclusivity  microsoft  via:ablerism  2015  design  catharineblaine  susangoltsman  willlewis  tedhart  tjparker  grahampullin  juttatreviranus  mikevanis  video  documentary  audiencesofone  sewing  aging  retirement  work  ambientintimacy  memory  nostalgia  presence  telepresence  inclusivedesign  technology  translation  healthcare  prescriptions  playgrounds  seattle  sanfrancisco  captioning  literacy  communication  hearing  deaf  deafness  skype 
june 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
Isthmus: On the Panama Canal Expansion
"The shockwave of Panama Canal expansion is reshaping cities throughout the Americas. We need to look through the lens of landscape, not logistics."



"In the United States, many designers and urbanists have lamented the end of the modern age of infrastructure-building. Some call for renewed investment in public works 57 while others advocate for hacks and tactics to fill the perceived void. 58 However, we may soon see a new wave of infrastructural expansion built not by nation-states but by private interests (e.g. the Nicaragua Canal project driven by HKND Group, a Chinese corporation) or city governments (e.g. coastal cities such as Tokyo, Miami, and New York preparing for rising seas). Whoever is orchestrating construction, it’s clear that there is a continuing appetite for large-scale infrastructural works.

While the phenomenon of bigness is a common historical condition in the Americas generally 59 and the Panamanian isthmus specifically, the operative role of logistics distinguishes the current reconfigurations from the preceding five centuries of commerce, excavation, and construction. 60 The neutral language of logistics occludes the true scale of the Panama Canal expansion. Instead of acknowledging earth moved and channels dug, logistics celebrates wait times shortened and profit margins eased. And because it is a positivistic framework, logistics obscures the political and social implications of its behavior. But the canal expansion puts the lie to the claim that logistics is politically neutral. The primary medium of logistics is territory, and territory is land which is politically divided, controlled, and administered. 61

Efficiency is necessarily measured within bounds; redraw the boundaries, either physical or conceptual, and the calculus changes significantly. 62 The excess generated by the Panama Canal expansion and its networked effects challenges the validity of the bounds drawn around infrastructural projects of this scope and scale. Here the bounds are drawn based on the relatively narrow values admitted by logistics. Thus, the sedimentary surplus of excavation is seen as a disposal expense, rather than a potential resource, because the value it could generate would accrue to residents, turtles, and fish, not to the ACP or the global shipping corporations it deals with. The uncertain fate of American port expansions challenges the elevation of efficiency as a primary goal, by demonstrating that it may be impossible to draw boundaries so small that they meaningfully predict the behavior of such large systems in the manner demanded by positivist logistics.

We are not arguing that logistics should or will lose its role in the organization of infrastructure projects that have global effects. (That would be unrealistic, if only because of the intimate intertwinement of logistics and contemporary capitalism. 63) Rather, we argue that landscapes, people, and others affected by these projects would benefit if logistics were augmented with other conceptual tools. At the scale of the Panama Canal expansion, logistics has produced unintended effects that harm local communities and environments. While these are sometimes justified as necessary casualties of economic development, that defense collapses when the presumed economic benefits fail to materialize. The legacy of canal expansion may be a constellation of overbuilt and underutilized infrastructure projects and degraded ecosystems — symbols of unfulfilled political and economic ambitions. If this is common to logistical infrastructures at very large scales, then we should not use logistics as the sole framework for their conceptualization.

We argue that analytic and design frameworks that take landscape as their primary object should be among the tools used to evaluate such infrastructures. We say this precisely because landscape, as a concept, works with a more complete range of values — material (as emphasized in this essay), social, political, ecological, cultural, and aesthetic. 64 While logistics elides these dimensions, we have shown that they are present in the expansion project and have been a part of the canal landscape since its inception. 65 As a medium, landscape integrates multiple processes, indicators, and design goals. Landscape has both analytical and experiential dimensions, which makes it ideally suited for synthesizing ideas across science, design, land management, and other practices. 66 While the logistician frames every situation as a technical problem to be solved, the landscape designer sees a cultural project, an opportunity to bring together competing value systems and forms of expertise. Landscape foregrounds the values that are contested in a given project, and it does not assume that economic gain and efficient distribution are the only goals that matter. This is all the more important given that logistics is often speculative; promised economic benefits doesn’t always materialize, even as social and environmental effects do.

Here our argument differs from that of other writers in the design disciplines who have engaged logistics and the landscapes that it produces. Charles Waldheim’s and Alan Berger’s “Logistics Landscape” makes a direct connection between the production of physical space through logistics and landscape as a conceptual framework, but the article focuses on articulating logistical landscapes as a manifestation of the current period of urban history and offering a set of logistical landscape typologies. 67 It closes by asserting that landscape architecture could play a role in the design and planning of logistics landscapes, but does not articulate how that role might develop or what inadequacies in a purely logistical approach might need to be ameliorated. Writers such as Clare Lyster and Jesse LeCavalier critically examine and unpack the workings of logistical flow with the intention of drawing methodological lessons that might inspire designers, planners, and other urbanists, but they do not attempt to carve out roles for designers within the territories governed by logistics. 68 All of these researchers share a common interest in explaining why other disciplines, primarily designers, should be interested in how logistics operates.

We have taken a different approach, describing gaps in the operations of logistics in order to convey the urgency of approaching large-scale infrastructural projects with landscape tools, methods, and frameworks. The discipline of landscape architecture, which we as authors call our own and which Waldheim and Berger assert the value of, possesses some of these characteristics, but it is not alone. Landscape ecology, geography, soil science, environmental studies, the nascent spatial humanities, and spatial planning are all examples of disciplines that take landscape as their medium. 69 Working with colleagues from these disciplines, designers who learn to grapple with logistical bigness might discover new formats for public works, approaches which neither retreat to the tactical nor valorize a bygone era, but instead produce augmented speculative frameworks, novel spatial practices, and material responses fit to contemporary conditions."
shipping  panamá  panamacanal  ports  2015  anthropocene  architecture  geology  cities  us  americas  northamerica  southamerica  panamax  logistics  landscape  losangeles  oakland  seattle  infrastructure  bigness  scale  briandavis  robholmes  brettmilligan 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Stunning surge in graduation rate as Rainier Beach gamble pays off | The Seattle Times
"In the past two years, all of these things have happened at Seattle’s long-languishing South End school, and all trace back to the moment when Rainier Beach gambled on a rigorous curriculum with a fancy name and high-end pedigree: the International Baccalaureate.

Outsiders have been dismissive from the start. Rainier Beach kids, many of whom entered high school performing below grade level, would never succeed on the college track, they said. The school was an incubator for star athletes, not serious scholars.

But early results are crushing those predictions as soundly as a slam dunk.

No marker is more stunning than Beach’s 25-point increase in graduation rates since 2011. Last spring, 79 percent of seniors left with a diploma — better than the 74 percent district average.

Parents, once so wary of Beach’s reputation for gangs and lackluster academics that they were willing to pay for private school or drive 20 miles north for advanced classes, are beginning to reconsider. Projected enrollment next fall at Rainier Beach is higher than it has been in a decade."
ib  internationalbaccalaureate  2015  seattle  education  schools  ranierbeach  washingtonstate 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Episode 51: CROWS | The BitterSweet Life
"Gabi (age 8) regularly feeds crows and they bring her shiny things in return. Today she shows host Katy Sewall her crow-gift collection. We'll also find out why crows give gifts and how you can earn gifts too!"

[See also: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31604026 ]
crows  corvids  animals  birds  nature  children  2015  behavior  collections  multispecies  gifts  johnmarzluff  tonyangell  katysewall  seattle  washingtonstate  human-animalrelations  human-animalrelationships 
february 2015 by robertogreco
BBC News - The girl who gets gifts from birds
"Lots of people love the birds in their garden, but it's rare for that affection to be reciprocated. One young girl in Seattle is luckier than most. She feeds the crows in her garden - and they bring her gifts in return."

[See also: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31604026 ]
crows  corvids  animals  birds  nature  children  2015  behavior  collections  multispecies  seattle  washingtonstate  johnmarzluff  human-animalrelations  human-animalrelationships 
february 2015 by robertogreco
A New Index to Measure Sprawl Gives High Marks to Los Angeles - CityLab
“L.A. is the least sprawling metro area in the country, according to this analysis, besting New York and San Francisco.”
losangeles  cities  urbanism  sprawl  sanfrancisco  nyc  2015  richardflorida  california  sandiego  honolulu  sanjose  santabarbara  seattle  portland  oregon 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Why Should We Support the Idea of an Unconditional Basic Income? — Working Life — Medium
[Section titles: ]

"What would you do?
Didn’t they try this in Russia?
The magic of markets
Can we really improve capitalism or is this just theory?
Larger rewards lead to poorer performance.
Capitalism 2.0 sounds great and all but can we afford it?
Okay, it’s affordable… but wouldn’t people stop working?
But still, what about those few who WOULD stop working?
Why would (insert who you dislike) ever agree to this?"
universalbasicincome  capitalism  communism  economics  markets  2014  scottsantens  namibia  poverty  danielpink  productivity  power  choice  workweek  hours  thomaspiketty  psychology  motivation  canada  seattle  denver  1970s  taxes  taxation  inequality  alaska  mincome  employment  unemployment  work  labor  freedom  empowerment  ubi 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Black lab in Seattle likes to hop on bus, take solo ride to her dog park stop | CTV News
"A black Labrador named Eclipse just wants to get to the dog park. So if her owner takes too long finishing his cigarette, and their bus arrives, she climbs aboard solo and rides to her Seattle stop.

Young says his dog sometimes gets on the bus without him and he catches up with her at the dog park three or four stops away.

Bus riders report she watches out the window for her stop.

A Metro Transit spokesman says the agency loves that a dog appreciates public transit."
dogs  animals  pets  seattle  2015  publictransit 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Going Home From the South, a New Holiday Exodus - NYTimes.com
"It wasn’t so long ago that the holiday exodus went in the other direction, and the reversal highlights a basic change in American culture. The Southeast has replaced California as the place where many people now go to find the American dream.

“You have the feeling that you perhaps might be a little more successful here than if you stayed in Southern California,” said Laura Voisin George, 52, an architectural historian in the Atlanta area. She is enough of a Californian to be planning to volunteer, again, at the Rose Parade in Pasadena this New Year’s Day – but not enough of one to live there anymore.

Since 1990, the share of residents of Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas who were born in California has roughly doubled, according to a New York Times analysis of census data. The number of Oregon, Washington and Colorado natives – as well as natives of Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York – in the Southeast has surged, too.

These migrants are crowding into airports this week, including Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, the world’s busiest airport. And when they are back in their old hometowns, many will end up singing the praises of their new ones, potentially recruiting new migrants in the process.

“I love California – I love California,” said Christoph Guttentag, a San Francisco Bay Area native and dean of undergraduate admissions at Duke University, where he has been since 1992. “But the prices are too high, and the commutes are too long.”

In 2012, 2.2 million – or 8 percent — of people who were born in California lived in one of the 16 states that the census defines as the South, according to the analysis. In 1990, the share was only 5.7 percent, and in 1960 it was 3 percent.

At the same time, the Southeast now sends fewer of its own natives to California and some other states.

“In the Depression and World War II, you had people leaving the South in very large numbers,” said Jeffrey Passel, a senior demographer at the Pew Research Center. “That’s reversed.”

The main reason is a version of what economists call arbitrage: Growing numbers of people have realized that many of life’s biggest costs — including housing, energy and taxes — are lower in the South, said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, which specializes in regional economic data.

House prices, for example, were already lower in the Southeast in the early 1990s than in much of California and the Northeast – and the gap has widened significantly since."



"Whatever the drawbacks, many of the Southern migrants say they are happy with their move. In particular, they say that places like Atlanta, Nashville and the Greenville area of South Carolina still have their original advantages – lower cost of living and slower pace of life – but have also become more cosmopolitan. The options for good food, music and art, among other things, have blossomed.

For better or worse, depending on your views, the migration patterns have also begun to change politics. The Democrats’ miserable showing in 2014 notwithstanding, the party now wins a substantial number of votes in Georgia and North Carolina – not to mention Florida and Virginia – from natives of the Northeast and the West.

Years ago, Mr. Guttentag was eating dinner back in California with friends, and they could not understand why he had chosen to make his life in North Carolina. To them, the South seemed “exotic and not well understood and slightly mistrusted,” he said. “Now, you talk to people and, they say, ‘Yeah, I know someone who moved there.'”

As an admissions officer, Mr. Guttentag has also participated in one of the causes of the trend: the nationalization of the college-admissions market. The number of high-school students at Duke from California has roughly doubled since the early 1990s, and other Southern colleges also attract more students from outside the region than in the past. A fair number of those students end up staying after graduation.

Over all, more than 40 percent of North Carolina residents in 2012 were born in another state; a generation ago, it was less than 25 percent. Similar increases have occurred in Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. And the increases often have a self-sustaining nature to them.

James and Sarah Terry – who both teach at colleges in the Atlanta area and have two small children – miss much about their life out West. “You might have said we left Seattle kicking and screaming,” said Mr. Terry, in an interview from Napa, Calif., where the Terry family is for the holidays. She added, “We were just really sad to leave.”

Yet they were able to buy a house in Atlanta, and the weather lets them have a garden. They have no immediate plans to leave."
california  2014  migration  south  atlanta  raleigh  charlotte  georgia  northcarolina  housing  costofliving  losangeles  sanfrancisco  boston  nyc  southeast  northeast  seattle  nashville  southcarolina  tennessee 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Library as Infrastructure
"For millennia libraries have acquired resources, organized them, preserved them and made them accessible (or not) to patrons. But the forms of those resources have changed — from scrolls and codices; to LPs and LaserDiscs; to e-books, electronic databases and open data sets. Libraries have had at least to comprehend, if not become a key node within, evolving systems of media production and distribution. Consider the medieval scriptoria where manuscripts were produced; the evolution of the publishing industry and book trade after Gutenberg; the rise of information technology and its webs of wires, protocols and regulations. 1 At every stage, the contexts — spatial, political, economic, cultural — in which libraries function have shifted; so they are continuously reinventing themselves and the means by which they provide those vital information services.

Libraries have also assumed a host of ever-changing social and symbolic functions. They have been expected to symbolize the eminence of a ruler or state, to integrally link “knowledge” and “power” — and, more recently, to serve as “community centers,” “public squares” or “think tanks.” Even those seemingly modern metaphors have deep histories. The ancient Library of Alexandria was a prototypical think tank, 2 and the early Carnegie buildings of the 1880s were community centers with swimming pools and public baths, bowling alleys, billiard rooms, even rifle ranges, as well as book stacks. 3 As the Carnegie funding program expanded internationally — to more than 2,500 libraries worldwide — secretary James Bertram standardized the design in his 1911 pamphlet “Notes on the Erection of Library Buildings,” which offered grantees a choice of six models, believed to be the work of architect Edward Tilton. Notably, they all included a lecture room.

In short, the library has always been a place where informational and social infrastructures intersect within a physical infrastructure that (ideally) supports that program.

Now we are seeing the rise of a new metaphor: the library as “platform” — a buzzy word that refers to a base upon which developers create new applications, technologies and processes. In an influential 2012 article in Library Journal, David Weinberger proposed that we think of libraries as “open platforms” — not only for the creation of software, but also for the development of knowledge and community. 4 Weinberger argued that libraries should open up their entire collections, all their metadata, and any technologies they’ve created, and allow anyone to build new products and services on top of that foundation. The platform model, he wrote, “focuses our attention away from the provisioning of resources to the foment” — the “messy, rich networks of people and ideas” — that “those resources engender.” Thus the ancient Library of Alexandria, part of a larger museum with botanical gardens, laboratories, living quarters and dining halls, was a platform not only for the translation and copying of myriad texts and the compilation of a magnificent collection, but also for the launch of works by Euclid, Archimedes, Eratosthenes and their peers."



"Partly because of their skill in reaching populations that others miss, libraries have recently reported record circulation and visitation, despite severe budget cuts, decreased hours and the threatened closure or sale of “underperforming” branches. 9 Meanwhile the Pew Research Center has released a series of studies about the materials and services Americans want their libraries to provide. Among the findings: 90 percent of respondents say the closure of their local public library would have an impact on their community, and 63 percent describe that impact as “major.”"



"Again, we need to look to the infrastructural ecology — the larger network of public services and knowledge institutions of which each library is a part. How might towns, cities and regions assess what their various public (and private) institutions are uniquely qualified and sufficiently resourced to do, and then deploy those resources most effectively? Should we regard the library as the territory of the civic mind and ask other social services to attend to the civic body? The assignment of social responsibility isn’t so black and white — nor are the boundaries between mind and body, cognition and affect — but libraries do need to collaborate with other institutions to determine how they leverage the resources of the infrastructural ecology to serve their publics, with each institution and organization contributing what it’s best equipped to contribute — and each operating with a clear sense of its mission and obligation."



"Libraries need to stay focused on their long-term cultural goals — which should hold true regardless of what Google decides to do tomorrow — and on their place within the larger infrastructural ecology. They also need to consider how their various infrastructural identities map onto each other, or don’t. Can an institution whose technical and physical infrastructure is governed by the pursuit of innovation also fulfill its obligations as a social infrastructure serving the disenfranchised? What ethics are embodied in the single-minded pursuit of “the latest” technologies, or the equation of learning with entrepreneurialism?

As Zadie Smith argued beautifully in the New York Review of Books, we risk losing the library’s role as a “different kind of social reality (of the three dimensional kind), which by its very existence teaches a system of values beyond the fiscal.” Barbara Fister, a librarian at Gustavus Adolphus College, offered an equally eloquent plea for the library as a space of exception:
Libraries are not, or at least should not be, engines of productivity. If anything, they should slow people down and seduce them with the unexpected, the irrelevant, the odd and the unexplainable. Productivity is a destructive way to justify the individual’s value in a system that is naturally communal, not an individualistic or entrepreneurial zero-sum game to be won by the most industrious.


Libraries, she argued, “will always be at a disadvantage” to Google and Amazon because they value privacy; they refuse to exploit users’ private data to improve the search experience. Yet libraries’ failure to compete in efficiency is what affords them the opportunity to offer a “different kind of social reality.” I’d venture that there is room for entrepreneurial learning in the library, but there also has to be room for that alternate reality where knowledge needn’t have monetary value, where learning isn’t driven by a profit motive. We can accommodate both spaces for entrepreneurship and spaces of exception, provided the institution has a strong epistemic framing that encompasses both. This means that the library needs to know how to read itself as a social-technical-intellectual infrastructure."



"In libraries like BiblioTech — and the Digital Public Library of America — the collection itself is off-site. Do patrons wonder where, exactly, all those books and periodicals and cloud-based materials live? What’s under, or floating above, the “platform”? Do they think about the algorithms that lead them to particular library materials, and the conduits and protocols through which they access them? Do they consider what it means to supplant bookstacks with server stacks — whose metal racks we can’t kick, lights we can’t adjust, knobs we can’t fiddle with? Do they think about the librarians negotiating access licenses and adding metadata to “digital assets,” or the engineers maintaining the servers? With the increasing recession of these technical infrastructures — and the human labor that supports them — further off-site, behind the interface, deeper inside the black box, how can we understand the ways in which those structures structure our intellect and sociality?

We need to develop — both among library patrons and librarians themselves — new critical capacities to understand the distributed physical, technical and social architectures that scaffold our institutions of knowledge and program our values. And we must consider where those infrastructures intersect — where they should be, and perhaps aren’t, mutually reinforcing one another. When do our social obligations compromise our intellectual aspirations, or vice versa? And when do those social or intellectual aspirations for the library exceed — or fail to fully exploit — the capacities of our architectural and technological infrastructures? Ultimately, we need to ensure that we have a strong epistemological framework — a narrative that explains how the library promotes learning and stewards knowledge — so that everything hangs together, so there’s some institutional coherence. We need to sync the library’s intersecting infrastructures so that they work together to support our shared intellectual and ethical goals."
shannonmattern  2014  libraries  infrastructure  access  accessibility  services  government  civics  librarians  information  ethics  community  makerspaces  privacy  safety  learning  openstudioproject  education  lcproject  zadiesmith  barbarafister  seattle  nyc  pittsburgh  culture  google  neoliberalism  knowledge  diversity  inequality  coworking  brooklyn  nypl  washingtondc  architecture  design  hackerlabs  hackerspaces  annebalsamo  technology  chicago  ncsu  books  mexicocity  mexicodf  davidadjaye  social  socialinfrastructure  ala  intellectualfreedom  freedom  democracy  publicgood  public  lifelonglearning  saltlakecity  marellusturner  partnerships  toyoito  refuge  cities  ericklinenberg  economics  amazon  disparity  mediaproduction  readwrite  melvildewey  df 
december 2014 by robertogreco
826 Seattle Changes Its Name to the Bureau of Fearless Ideas by Paul Constant - Seattle Books - The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper
"And as Part of Its Commitment to Fearlessness, Breaks Off from 826 National and Expands into White Center with Another Tutoring Space



"he nonprofit soon to be formerly known as 826 Seattle was not conceived as a branch of 826 National. Hein had been organizing it for a year under other names. It was originally called Pencil Head “for the blink of an eye” until “these kids told me that was stupid,” and then it was going to be “Studio 26” until Eggers asked Hein to join 826 National. Since then, Hein says, they’ve been “operating at capacity for all our programs. We’ve never taken a loan, we’ve ended up in the black every year. Even through the worst of the economic decline, our budget’s been going up and up and up and up.” Staffing has increased from “two and a half” employees to 19. The first year’s annual budget was a hundred and fifty thousand dollars. This year, the budget is almost a million.

So if everything’s going so well, why rock the boat? Hein has nothing but kind words to say about 826 National, but she thinks her nonprofit has always been “kind of the independent chapter” and needs to grow beyond the 826 National mission statement. Plus, as 826 National grows and expands, they will probably need to standardize their procedures in order to capture the larger grants that a truly national educational program needs. Hein hopes the BFI will become an affiliate of 826 National; she’d like to pilot educational programs that she can then pass on to the nationwide branches. Gerald Richards, CEO of 826 National, issued a statement saying, "We wish them well,” but did not elaborate on the future of the BFI’s involvement with 826 National.

So what will the BFI do differently? For one thing, Hein says, they’re going to open a branch in White Center by 2016. And obviously the name is changing. A lot of serious thought has gone into the terminology behind the BFI. Students and tutors will be “Field Agents,” Hein is the “Bureau Chief,” and starting next week, students will be doing after-school tutoring and taking other classes at the Greenwood Field Office, which will still be hidden behind a teleporter in the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Company.

Hein says the organization makes most of its money from individual donors, a rarity in the nonprofit education field. “Are we crazy to think we can raise another million dollars,” she says, “and open another center somewhere else? Or two centers? Or five centers?” She’s considered offices in Burien, and she calls Tukwila and the Crossroads neighborhood on the Eastside interesting possibilities. Wherever the field offices open, Hein wants them to become intrinsically tied to their neighborhoods. Seattle feels more divided than ever, she says, thanks to worsening traffic and economic disparity. But “what happens to kids when they really identify with their neighborhood and their sense of confidence and their sense of safety with their neighborhood?”

The programs that 826 Seattle has become known for will still be happening at the Bureau, including tutoring assistance, classes on writing family history “through poetry, prose, and a comic/graphic novel,” travel and food writing classes, and a National Novel Writing Month meet-up group for high-schoolers. The programs will still be free and available to kids from all financial backgrounds; they serve three thousand kids a year in Greenwood alone. Hein is bursting with ideas involving low-power radio and incorporating neighborhood businesses into the act. Hein says, “One of my fantasies is that the kids with their adults will research the history of Greenwood and perform a play about it with the adults at the Taproot Theatre.” She begins whirling off ideas—personal histories of immigrant small-business owners, songwriting projects—until it’s obvious that she’s just gotten started."
826seattle  seattle  terihein  2014  via:coreycaitlin  education  standardization  826national  tutoring  writing  children  youth  openstudioproject  lcproject 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Ready for Rain — Medium
"It’s raining in Seattle today and tomorrow. This should come as no surprise to those who know the reputation of this part of the world. But in fact, this rain is special. It’s the first storm of the year; a harbinger for a change of season that strikes at the core of how it feels to live in the Pacific Northwest.

You see, this time of year, I want it to rain for days. I want an atmospheric river to roll off the Pacific and slam Seattle with precipitation. I want to look at the weather map and see greens, yellows and oranges. Thankfully, I live in a place that makes the timely arrival of rain an absolute certainty.

It’s not simply the arrival or rain, but the transition to a different environment and way of life. The drear has a certain dark beauty; a low-contrast softness. There’s no need to squint or close the blinds. Even the sound of the rain on our house is music to my ears, a lullaby.

In this feeling, I am not alone:"



"The long, dark Seattle winters do something to me. They make me forget what it’s like when the days are long and warm. The bare trees make it hard to imagine the lush Seattle spring.

And then, just as it becomes too dark for too long, the promise of a sun-kissed rendezvous returns and the great maximization begins again — along with the pressure. It’s a cycle I’ve come to love.

I do look forward to the sun, but it ends just in time, because in my heart, I also love the rain."
seattle  washingtonstate  rain  leelefever  via:austinkleon  summer  winter  fall  sun 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Metafoundry 1: Black Start
"Last month, I was in San Francisco for a few days. Being in California, if you’re from the East Coast, just feels different, in a way that I've never satisfactorily articulated to myself, but then I find myself whooping when I first spot the Pacific Ocean as I cross the peninsula from SFO to Highway 1.

Part of it is a lifetime of living with the mythos of California. Quoting Charlie Loyd: "…California, America’s America: beautiful, dysfunctional, dominant, infuriatingly calm about itself, vastly more diverse and complex than even the best informed and most charitable outsider gives it credit for, built on bones, overflowing with demagogues, decadent, permanently reinventing itself."

But part of my experience of San Francisco, and Seattle and Vancouver, is that the underlying land shapes the city, rather than the city shaping the land. This is literally the case in Boston and New York, where the edges of the city defined by landfill, so all you are aware of in the city is the city. In San Francisco, the bones of the land are apparent in every direction you look, hills rising and falling and beyond them, the sea. The original grid of San Francisco was laid out for the dozen or so blocks of the settlement of Yerba Buena, and then as the city grew and grew the grid was just extended in all directions, heedless of the underlying topography—so today, the topography defines the paths through the city. Every San Franciscan I know thinks about the city in three dimensions—which routes to one’s destination involve the least climbing, the Wiggle, where the beautiful views are.

I miss Toronto, my hometown. I miss its unparalleled diversity. I know it’s not what was when I was growing up there, but I miss living in a place with a determined commitment to collectively making the lives of its residents better. When I was there in June, I found myself driving in an unfamiliar part of the city. The wide road was lined with modest but pleasant single-family homes, and every few blocks there was a small park and a school. Peace, order and good government. What I don’t miss from Toronto is the physical geography—the city sits on the fertile lowland between two rivers and, besides being on Lake Ontario, has virtually none to speak of. When I trained for a marathon in grad school, I would head due north up a major street for mile after mile, the road gently sloping upwards as I went away from the lake, which meant a gentle downhill as I returned home. That’s basically it. The city is defined by the city.

In contrast, when I miss Seattle, I miss the landscape. I miss seeing the Cascades and the Olympics on clear days, and I miss coming over a hill and seeing Puget Sound. But above all, I miss Mount Rainier. I still remember the first time I saw the mountain. I vaguely knew that you could see Rainier from the city, but I was completely unprepared when I turned a corner and saw this giant stratovolcano just looming. My relationship with the person I was in Seattle to see ended not long after, but I have yet to fall out of love with Rainier. Years later, I moved to Seattle to do a sabbatical at the University of Washington, which has a long quadrangle, the Rainier Vista, aligned with the mountain. For a year I walked past it every morning and evening, pausing on the days I could see the peak. Almost the last thing I did before returning to the quietly rolling New England landscape was to get a tattoo of Rainier on my ankle. The lock screen of my phone is a photo of the peak I took from a mountain meadow within the park.

Some Japanese immigrants to the area have called Rainier 'Tacoma Fuji', but Mount Fuji is known for its symmetrical cone, and part of the beauty of Rainier to me is its distinct asymmetry—the prominences on its flanks would qualify as mountains in their own right. I don’t suffer from Stendhal Syndrome in its traditional form, but there are a few places in the world where I have to work hard not to be physically overcome by beauty. One is the Marin Headlands, and the view over the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco. Another is the east coast of Vancouver Island, looking over the Strait of Georgia towards Vancouver. And one is still pretty much every time I see Rainier. The beauty of San Francisco and of Cascadia is a wild beauty, the juxtaposition of human habitation and landscape, but one where the landscape holds its own. I was in Switzerland a few years ago, near Lausanne, and I've never been in a place that looked more like the tourist conception of the place. The mountains were high, sure, but the green velvet of pasture was spread high on their slopes, dotted with placid brown cows. The net result was one of pastoral domesticity, where the mountains were tamed. It was pretty, but it wasn't beautiful. The West Coast is beautiful.

But even before I set eyes on Rainier for the first time, I knew that it was dangerous. The primary risk isn't from a Mount St Helens-style eruption, but rather from lahars, the mudslides that would result when the heat from the eruption melts the glaciation on the peak. A hundred and fifty thousand people live nearby, in what appear to be gentle flat-bottomed river valleys but which are actually the paths of previous lahars. In 1985, twenty thousand people, including two-thirds of the population of Armero, Colombia, were killed by lahars resulting from the eruption of the Nevada del Ruiz volcano. Partly as a result of that tragedy, Rainier is the most instrumented mountain in the world, providing about forty minutes of warning to the nearest community, and schoolchildren there do volcano drills, fleets of school buses waiting to rush them out of the danger zone. The best estimates are that there’s a one-in-ten chance of lahar flows that make it as far as the Puget Sound lowlands within a human lifetime. And a repeat of the massive Osceola Mudflow, five thousand years ago, would send glacial mud as far as downtown Seattle, and cause tsunamis in the Sound and in Lake Washington.

The wildest of wild West Coast beauty: that Mount Rainier, the greatest physical threat to Seattle, is celebrated and beloved."
seattle  washingtonstate  2014  westcoast  landscape  mountrainier  cascadia  beauty  debchachra  toronto  california  vancouuver  britishcolumbia  charlieloyd 
september 2014 by robertogreco
» seattle’s booming sd urban
"I’ve been blabbering to anyone who’ll listen about the density increase we witnessed in Seattle, from the Amazon-induced construction-on-every-block in South Lake Union just north of downtown, to the five-to-eight story buildings going up in every near-urban neighborhood. And it’s not anything new – Seattle has been building multi-unit housing at a rate twice that of San Diego for years (more data here)."



"Imagine if we had hundreds, if not thousands, of new units going into Hillcrest, North Park, Golden Hill and Mission Hills. Because that’s exactly what was happening in the similar neighborhoods of Seattle. And this rainy city is priming itself for the future after years of high unemployment by building the housing that its tech workforce requires. How is Seattle able to overcome NIMBY opposition to smart growth, while San Diego isn’t?

Seattle’s also building the mass transit and bike facilities younger workers seek, while raising its minimum wage to $15 as our mayor vetoes our much smaller increase. The Seattle metro’s unemployment rate is the nation’s lowest, at 5.9%. It’s the fastest-growing large metro in the country. I wonder where our city’s economy will be 20 years from now versus Seattle, as our skilled workers move away in search of affordable housing, our aging population continues to fight development, our hourglass economy worsens, and we continue to expand our freeways for ‘boomers in the ‘burbs."

[See also post about Denver: http://sdurban.com/?p=8974 ]
pauljamason  sandiego  seattle  cities  denver  urban  trasnportation  housing  planning  urbanplanning  transit  publictransit  bike  biking  2014 
august 2014 by robertogreco
NEPO House
"NEPO House is:
- a project space/gallery in my home on Beacon Hill
- an experiment in integration of art into domestic environment
- a homing device for multimedia projects
- a vehicle for collaboration and active participation
NEPO is: OPEN backwards"
art  seattle  openstudioproject  lcproject  neop  neophouse 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Reel Grrls
"Reel Grrls is the premier year-round media-training program for girls. At Reel Grrls, girls ages 9 - 21 learn production skills through hands-on workshops and classes taught by female media professionals and educators. Since 2001, over 1000 students have participated in Reel Grrls programs and Reel Grrls media have been honored in more than 90 film festivals globally. Reel Grrls is a 501c(3) non-profit organization located in Seattle’s Central District. "

"Empowering young women and their LGBT allies to realize their power, talent and influence through media production. Fighting the patriarchy, making things." — https://twitter.com/reelgrrls

[See also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXjirq_RqdI ]
seattle  girls  storytelling  film  media  education  reelgrrls  filmmaking  mediaproduction 
june 2014 by robertogreco
soundcommute on Instagram
"Nic Warmenhoven I recently moved from Seattle to a rural island in the middle of Puget Sound. I still commute into the city; this is what I see."
nicwarmenhoven  pugetsoundcommunityschool  pscs  seattle 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Some Tui Tui stamps.
"Tui Tui is a member-nation of the International Council of Independent States, and is under the benevolent rule of Co-Tyees Dogfish and Dragonfly. The first stamps that KDPN printed for Tui Tui are the 1988 Year of Food series, shown on the right. These were printed with a Heidelberg platen press by letterpress process, as were the Occussi-Ambeno 20th birthday issue, and the Mevu 20th birthday set. The 1990 Penny Black set was printed using an English-made Adana press on white gloss art paper with shiny gum and perf 12."

[via Charlie's newsletter 6, 5 http://tinyletter.com/vruba/letters/6-5-hills ]
via:vruba  micronations  washingtonstate  seattle 
march 2014 by robertogreco
The Revolution at Your Community Library | New Republic
"Now that a digital copy of the Library of Congress’s entire book collection could fit in a single shoebox, the future of the contemporary library is up for grabs. The New York Public Library’s proposed reconfiguration of its Manhattan headquarters is only the most recent high-visibility entrant in a debate that has been ongoing since the mid-1990s, manifested in the press and in a series of large urban central library projects in Berlin, Singapore, Seattle, and elsewhere. What should a contemporary library be? 1 Seattle is one oft-cited exemplar: there Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Prince-Ramus of the Office of Metropolitan Architecture jettisoned the reading rooms, study carrels, and hushed whispers of the traditional library in favor of a dramatic multi-story “living room” where patrons could, according to the architects, “eat, yell, or play chess.” But to find architects, librarians, and municipalities who have re-conceptualized the contemporary public library with a more nuanced and promising vision, we must turn our attentions away from noisy Seattle and other large projects toward the modest community library.

Around the globe, a handful of innovative architects are forging a new building type with a deceptively familiar name. These libraries offer something found nowhere else in the contemporary city: heavily used, not-for-profit communal spaces that facilitate many and various kinds of informal social interactions and private uses. Ranging in size from five thousand square feet, a smallish McMansion in Westchester, to thirty thousand square feet, the size of Derek Jeter’s home near Tampa, some of these community libraries are neighborhood branches of an urban library system, and others stand alone. These buildings look nothing like one another, yet they all offer exemplary moments of architectural innovation. Collectively, they make the case that excellent design is no luxury, certainly not for the civic buildings and lives of people and their communities."



"No wonder that, around the world, the construction of new small community libraries has spurred an impressive efflorescence of architectural innovation. People have wearied of bowling alone. Individuals need places where they can engage with others like and unlike them, with whom they share an affiliation just by virtue of inhabiting a particular city, town, or neighborhood. Groups of people need places that can help constitute them into and symbolically represent their community. Everyone needs what the urban sociologist Ray Oldenberg calls third places—the first is home, the second is school or workplace.2 That is what these new community libraries provide.

THE FUTURE OF THE LIBRARY IS UP FOR GRABS.

This creates an engagingly complex architectural challenge, as the community library presents many competing mandates that are difficult to resolve in built form. To become a lively centrifugal social force that can buttress or, in more troubled areas, constitute a neighborhood’s sense of identity, it must project the impression that it is a civic icon and a public place. And yet it must also offer people opportunities to engage in solitary pursuits. Today’s community library might well be a place where one can eat and play chess, but it must not be a place to yell; it must still offer private moments in communal places, moments saturated in silence, light, the knowledge and the creativity of human expression. And all on a tight budget.

How to distill such competing if not colliding imperatives—public, private; iconic, domestic; distinctive, local—into a coherent design? Even though technically all that a community library actually needs is enclosed, climate-controlled loft spaces, in fact it needs more. Only good design can make a mute, inert edifice convey to people that it embraces all comers and embodies their community’s shared identity. Many of the new library designs are loft-like spaces writ monumental, but they are much more than warehouses for computers, books, and people. Monumentalizing domesticity by design, they take their cues from the needs of people in general and community library patrons in particular: the neighborhood’s scale, the proportions of the human body, people’s innate receptivity to natural light, their tactile sensitivity and associative responsiveness to materials."
2014  libraries  seattle  bellevue  washingtonstate  oma  remkoolhaas  joshuaprince-ramus  washingtondc  community  architecture  norway  samfrancisco  louiskahn  mvrdv  rotterdam  nyc  nypubliclibrary  davidadjaye  thirdplaces  thumbisland  nypl  dc 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Out of the Box Learning Studio
"OUT OF THE BOX LEARNING STUDIO (OBLS) engages students in authentic learning that is personalized, active & connected.

Using the city of Seattle as the extended classroom, OBLS will prepare students for our complicated world by integrating academic content into experiential learning opportunities.

Students will showcase their learning & creativity through collaborative digital media arts projects & real-world problem solving challenges.

The outcome will be graduates with exceptional resiliency & agency as learners who excel in college, careers & life."
schools  charterschools  seattle  bigpictureschools  stevemiranda  jeffpetty  hannahwilliams  lindanathan  larryrosenstock 
february 2014 by robertogreco
Billings Middle School
"MISSION

Billings Middle School is a dynamic academic community intentionally focused on the unique complexities of early adolescents. Our students become public-minded, critical thinkers impelled to actively engage their world.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

These deeply held driving forces are qualities that determine our priorities and how we operate and communicate with each other. Our guiding principles help us measure the value and impact of our decisions.

1. We specialize in the unique complexities of early adolescents.
2. We provide a rigorous academic environment for a broad range of students that celebrates the acquisition and application of real world learning.
3. We foster a safe space for risk-taking, exploration, and the search for identity.
4. We inspire students into awareness, care, & advocacy of self and community.
5. We promote social justice and environmental sustainability.
6. We operate with transparent integrity.

SOCIAL JUSTICE AND GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY

'Goals for sustainability must be guided by inquiry into socio cultural, environmental and economic perspectives; connected with respect for human identities, rights, needs and aspirations; and implemented through just, transparent and inclusive processes for decision-making.'
- 2009 UNESCO Conference on Education for Sustainable Development

Billings has a unique opportunity to model a lifelong commitment to promoting global sustainability because our students are beginning to consciously reconcile their emerging self-image with a broader sense of the world and their purpose within it.

• We see that the foundations for this work are built from within ourselves, and recognize that we live and operate in a society created and characterized by historical inequities of power.

• We believe that the work of seeing, engaging and disentangling institutionalized privilege is an act of social justice, a critical human endeavor, and a society-building skill necessary to thrive in the 21st century.

• We therefore strive at Billings to be an educational community characterized by its emphasis on fostering self-understanding, critical thinking and global awareness so as to promote equitable and ethical habits of living in the world.

• We commit ourselves to the pursuit of social justice in the establishment and evaluation of school governance, curriculum, disciplinary practices, educational programs, admissions, faculty performance and hiring. "



"EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY

Billings offers a rich core curriculum designed to engage students in rigorous, multi-faceted ways. Classes align with the developmental growth of our students and are taught with an awareness of each individual's strengths and learning styles. Everything at Billings, from the design of the overall program to one-on-one interactions, is guided by the four key concepts outlined below.
FOUR CORE ELEMENTS OF A BILLINGS EDUCATION

I. DESIGNING A DEVELOPMENTALLY RESPONSIVE CURRICULUM

The dynamically complex development of early adolescence guides all we do at Billings. Curriculum design is based on key questions about the intellectual and emotional maturity of each individual and their peers. The structure of our school day, our calendar and our trips equally reflects our understanding of growth cycles. Finally, all of our interactions with students are anchored in a profound belief that middle school students are exceptionally capable. Our expectations of students is high, because we know that in our environment they grow self-aware and gain the confidence to risk truly complex thought.

II. TEACHING INDEPENDENT, CRITICAL THINKING IN A CULTURE OF PUBLIC MINDEDNESS

We believe that the development of one’s identity is intricately linked to an emerging sense of humanity and ethics. We always ask the question, "What is the application of what we are learning?" "What is our impact?" It is our goal to go beyond "service learning" to the point of integration – a place where students intuitively consider power, perspective, bias, access, and sustainability as they carry out the work of their lives.

III. CREATING POWERFUL STUDENT ADVOCATES

Advocacy is comprised of three elements; self-understanding, confidence and engagement. From the moment they arrive at Billings, we challenge students to reflect on their identity and approaches to learning. We build on strengths and openly identify and work on challenges. In all we do, we seek to reinforce students' efforts to engage – to ask questions, adapt their environment, negotiate and seek out the support of mentors. As they progress through Billings, students become more confident, advocating for their beliefs as well as their own needs.

IV. MODELING LIFELONG LEARNING AND MENTORSHIP

Teachers at Billings first and foremost understand and appreciate early adolescents. They are characterized by their patience and sense of humor and, most of all, by an exceptional commitment to individual students. Teachers at Billings are renaissance people. They openly seek learning, through research, discussion or travel with a unique level of support from the school. As one recent graduate said, "Hardly anyone leaves Billings without a mentor, or without knowing how to get one!""
schools  independentschools  seattle  washingtonstate  progressive  via:steelemaley 
november 2013 by robertogreco
the incluseum | Museums and Social Inclusion
"The Incluseum is a project based in Seattle, Washington seeking to encourage social inclusion in museums. It is facilitated and coordinated by Aletheia Wittman and Rose Paquet Kinsley. You can contact us at incluseum@gmail.com"
alethiawittman  rosepaquetkinsley  museums  inclusion  incluseum  ncmideas  socialinclusion  seattle  washingtonstate  inclusivity  inlcusivity 
july 2013 by robertogreco
For Troubled Teenagers in New York City, a New Tack - Forced Outreach - NYTimes.com
"The New York City Police Department has embarked on a novel approach to deter juvenile robbers, essentially staging interventions and force-feeding outreach in an effort to stem a tide of robberies by dissuading those most likely to commit them.

Officers not only make repeated drop-ins at homes and schools, but they also drive up to the teenagers in the streets, shouting out friendly hellos, in front of their friends. The force’s Intelligence Division also deciphers each teenager’s street name and gang affiliation. Detectives compile a binder on each teenager that includes photos from Facebook and arrest photos of the teenager’s associates, not unlike the flow charts generated by law enforcement officials to track organized crime.

The idea, in part, is to isolate these teenagers from the peers with whom they commit crimes — to make them radioactive."

[Sent to Robin Sloan in response to "Would love to see a reporter crack open the penultimate graf in this story on NYC murders. Super interesting, right?" http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/29/nyregion/city-homicides-drop-sharply-again-police-cite-new-antigang-strategy.html?_r=0#p19h19 "The program relies heavily on tracking the online activities of neighborhood gangs, in effect, trying to prevent shootings before they happen"]

[Related: "In Hot Pursuit of Numbers to Ward Off Crime" http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/19/in-hot-pursuit-of-numbers-to-ward-off-crime/
and "Sending the Police Before There’s a Crime" http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/16/us/16police.html ]
youth  nyc  crime  gangs  prediction  socialnetworks  socialnetworking  nypd  2013  surveillance  policestate  sanatcruz  seattle  data  twitter  facebook  privacy  minorityreport 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Code Fellows: Learn Rails in Seattle
"We got tired of hearing how hard it was for companies to fill engineering roles in Seattle and decided to try to fix it. Instead of stealing employees from other companies or importing them from other states, we're going to train talented people to be turn-key engineers."

[via: http://sfpc.io/faq.html ]
seattle  education  coding  programming  codefellows  training 
april 2013 by robertogreco
An Open Challenge to Michelle Rhee and the Corporate Education Zombies | Common Dreams
"In the end, the boycott of the winter round of the MAP primarily reflected the will of students and parents, who agreed with teachers that student time was better spent learning in the classroom, and that library computers were better used for student research and writing rather than testing. Had she acknowledged this, Michelle Rhee would have had some difficult questions to answer.

If students vote unanimously to boycott a test, is it still okay to put their demands and interests first, or does putting students first mean ignoring their democratic decision making?

If the parent organization at a school votes unanimously to support the teachers in boycotting a flawed test, is it okay for the parents to guide their children, or should students disregard their parents and instead follow an astro turf organization called “Students First”?

What happens when students, parents and teachers around the nation join together in common cause and protest for a meaningful education rather than the overuse of standardized tests? Is it okay to put “students first” when they agree with their teachers about what constitutes a quality education?

Rhee's inability to ask these critical thinking questions is a demonstration of the very cognitive problems that can arise from an over reliance on standardized testing."



"Moreover, Rhee has no understanding of the history of standardized testing or its contribution to the reproduction of inequality. As University of Washington education professor Wayne Au has written, “Looking back to its origins in the Eugenics moment, standardized testing provided…ideological cover for the social, economic and education inequalities the test themselves help maintain.” The stability of testing outcomes along racial lines, from the days of Eugenics until today, demonstrates standardized testing has always been a better measure of a student’s zip code than of aptitude. Wealthier and whiter districts score better on tests. These children have books in the home, parents with time to read to them, private tutoring, access to test-prep agencies, healthy food, health insurance, and similar advantages. Standardized testing has from the very beginning been a tool to rank and sort people, not to remove the barriers needed to achieve equality."



"The destination at which Seattle’s students, parents and teachers want to arrive is not on the MAP.  Our desired destination is graduating students who demonstrate creativity, social responsibility, critical thinking, leadership, and civic courage.  Seattle’s teachers are not afraid of assessment, but many of us know that to reach those goals, we will need to venture off the well-worn and narrow path of selecting from answer choices A, B, C, or D.

Michelle Rhee, I’m afraid you are lost.  Come debate me in public, and I can help you find your way."
michellerhee  testing  standardizedtesting  democracy  education  standardication  race  eugenics  jessehagopian  2013  protest  seattle  washingtonstate  boycott  via:jenlowe 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Frieze Magazine | Archive | Free Thinking
"The projected gain or value for msa^ students seems unaccountably individual and much more interoceptive and metaphysical than a more straightforwardly vocational course."

"How might we begin to run a cost/benefit analysis on the value of free education? Educational accounting is usually complex because it requires you measure things in both ‘worth’ and ‘value’. As Hyde puts it, ‘worth’ refers to ‘those things we prize and yet say “you can’t put a price on”. We derive value on the other hand, from the comparison of one thing with another.’ In his 2008 Lapham’s Quarterly pre-amble on education, Lewis Lapham writes [http://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:b5ec4252c586 and http://www.laphamsquarterly.org/preamble/lewis-h-lapham-playing-with-fire.php?page=all ]: ‘To conceive of an education as a commodity (as if it were a polo pony or an Armani suit) is to construe the idea of democracy as the freedom of a market instead of a freedom of the mind […] Unless we stop telling ourselves that America is best understood as the sum of its gross domestic product, we stand little chance of re-imagining our history or reengineering our schools.’"

"The moment for me, where the value of msa^ really came through, was in Philosophy Class. It was run by a couple of teachers who were like Beavis and Butthead with PhDs. They covered a millennia of philosophical tobacco-chewing in a public debate free of the tweedy condescension that clip art philosophy profs are known for. It wasn’t a rehearsal of platitudes or a dry-cleaned agenda. It did what good classes do: it forced the teachers to re-evaluate something on the spot, and asked the student to send blood to the parts of their brain they don’t normally send blood to. All of which is to say that these lectures are where we get closest to the etymological foundation of ‘school’ (from the Greek ‘schole’ – a place in which leisure is performed) and to the redundant epiphany that while pedagogy might be a place to noodle on the possibilities of educational reformation, it might also just be a place to idle. This is the dramatic bail-out for the continued existence of a philosophy class and an art school: they aren’t really for anything. Their use lies in introspective withdrawal, whether you withdraw on the bus, or on an Athenian staircase, or in the backroom of a bar with jellyfish-insides."

"Seattle is natively foreign, and in the LA/NYC binaries of the US art world much more exotic than either London or Turin, being outside the professional blast radius of contemporary art’s cultural arbitrations and monopolizing names."
mountainschoolofarts  lewishyde  thegift  economics  value  worth  lewislapham  education  altgdp  pedagogy  learning  unschooling  deschooling  lcproject  openstudioproject  snowdensnowden  art  artschools  arteducation  seattle  losangeles  nyc  london  milan  artschool 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Wave Books
"Wave Books is an independent poetry press based in Seattle, Washington, dedicated to publishing the best in contemporary poetry, poetry in translation, and writing by poets. The press was founded in 2005, merging with established publisher Verse Press. By publishing strong innovative work in finely crafted trade editions and hand-made ephemera, we hope to continue to challenge the values and practices of readers and add to the collective sense of what’s possible in contemporary poetry."
poetry  publishers  seattle  books  poets  publishing 
february 2013 by robertogreco
EarthCorps
"You may have heard in the news recently that People for Puget Sound – the preeminent voice for Puget Sound – has closed its doors. We are honored that People for Puget Sound turned to EarthCorps to take on their habitat restoration program.

EarthCorps has worked side-by-side with People for Puget Sound for more than 15 years. We collaborated on habitat restoration projects throughout Puget Sound, led thousands of volunteers together, shared GIS interns and international “externs,” presented together at national conferences, and tapped into each other's expertise. We have deep respect for their work.

EarthCorps has 20 years experience in community-based environmental restoration and is a leader in applied ecological science…"
local  restoration  pugetsound  earthcorps  ngo  via:steelemaley  green  servicelearning  environment  seattle  from delicious
december 2012 by robertogreco
Seattle library hides 1,000 books around town for young people to find - Boing Boing
"The Seattle Public Library system's annual Summer Reading Program is called Century 22: Read the Future, and is tied in with the 50th anniversary of the Seattle World's Fair. Young people are encouraged to scour the city's landmarks for 1,000 books hidden throughout town, and then to re-hide them for other kids to find. Among the books in this summer's program is my own YA novel Little Brother, which is a source of utter delight for me."
libraries  seattle  books  seattlepubliclibrary  cascadia  2012  readthefuture  littlebrother  corydoctorow  play  games  reading  summerreading  from delicious
may 2012 by robertogreco
Student Research and Development [StudentRND]
"…student-run non-profit organization that aims to inspire students to learn more about science & technology by offering hands-on opportunities for students to explore beyond & experiment w/ concepts that were so laboriously covered in school textbooks.

Why? When learning how to ride a bike, the majority of people learned by trying over and over again until the skill has been mastered, not by reading a textbook, listening to a lecture, or watching an educational video. Thus, when learning about science & technology, students should be actually applying the knowledge they learn and asking more questions. Science is about inquiry.

…Much like there are libraries for people interested in reading, & sports fields for those interested in sports, we run a workspace in Bellevue where students can learn from our volunteers and classes as well as working on many cool projects…workspace is absolutely free…"
seattle  bellevue  washingtonstate  cascadia  lcproject  science  technology  learning  hackerspaces  education  inquiry  experimentation  laboratories  studentrnd  tcsnmy  from delicious
september 2011 by robertogreco
‪Jane Jacobs: Neighborhoods in Action‬‏ - YouTube
"Produced by the Active Living Network, a project of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. An interview with legendary author, Jane Jacobs, who wrote "The Death and Life of Great American Cities." The film explores the role of the built environment in physical activity and public health."
janejacobs  urban  cities  toronto  seattle  urbanism  newurbanism  transportation  publichealth  classideas  from delicious
august 2011 by robertogreco
C200: This Is What A City Makes Possible | citytank [This is splendid. The quotes are only part of the script, and the photo gallery that the text supports is worth the look.]
"Sarah Palin and other figures on the right like to talk about “small town values” as being “the real America.” We know better. These are our values:

We have great urban places, where people can live and shop in the same building. & we protect them. We’re proud of what we build…catch…brew…cook up. Seattleites create & use urban spaces – their way…We support local business…take care of each other – & feed each other. No car? We want to give you a safe, affordable ride. No yard? We’ve got a place for you to play. & organizations like Solid Ground help ensure everyone can enjoy it…We’re not scared of new ideas. We think idealism is a virtue…We stand up for each other…If you work hard & you play by rules, you’re a real American. & sometimes, it’s American to break the rules…We share our cultures with each other. And the music, the art, the food…is astounding…President Barack Obama called on America to win the future. Mr. President, the people of Seattle are ready."
seattle  urban  urbanism  via:adamgreenfield  cities  transportation  values  sarahpalin  cascadia  washingtonstate  barackobama  winthefuture  2011  citytank  seattlejobsinitiative  jobs  future  progress  community  education  idealism  culture  from delicious
april 2011 by robertogreco
Tuttle SVC: Messaging Tips from Parents Across America
"I like this messaging on charters and choice:

"In New Orleans we no longer have the right to a neighborhood school, and that's being called choice."

Also, it is incredibly important to always use this kind of language, "the scandal-ridden, Broad-trained Seattle superintendent Marie Goodloe Johnson." Every failed Broad Academy graduate needs to be specifically identified as such in every case. The Broad fifth columnists must be exposed and the brand destroyed."
reform  tomhoffman  neighborhoodschools  policy  education  schools  neworleans  seattle  broadacademy  us  parentsacrossamerica  kipp  groupthink  choice  nola  charterschools  from delicious
march 2011 by robertogreco
Streetsblog.net » Is Driving on the Decline in the Pacific Northwest?
"Driving on the Decline in the Pacific Northwest? Orphan Road offers a set of data showing that traffic volumes throughout the Northwest are declining, at least according to a local news source. Data show a reduction in traffic in Seattle and Portland, and statewide in Washington and Oregon. Earlier reports showed a decline in metro Seattle, but this is the first news we’ve seen pointing to a regional trend. And Orphan Road adds that in at least one case the decline precedes the 2008 recession or the rise in gas prices. Sightline Daily, which first reported the data, said it’s important that traffic engineers take note. “It may not make sense anymore — and might, in fact, be financially risky — for transportation planners to assume that demand for car travel will rise in the future the way it did in the 1950s.”"
cars  transportation  pacificnorthwest  cascadia  trends  driving  2011  seattle  portland  oregon  washingtonstate  from delicious
march 2011 by robertogreco
The Snailr Project
"One journey of almost 7000 miles, six new cities, eight trains, fifteen days, and every vignette, observation and fractured bitty-bit of the travelogue broken up and sent as status messages the old way. By postcard. To a bunch of random people who asked for one. Because travelling slowly is nice. And so is leaving a trail to see where we have been."
papernet  travel  snailr  slow  slowtravel  postcards  glvo  amtrak  trains  us  sanfrancisco  losangeles  seattle  memphis  neworleans  chicago  portland  nola  from delicious
november 2010 by robertogreco
Your city sucks! (And so does mine) – stu.mp
"I very much enjoyed my time in the Pacific Northwest and would recommend checking out both Portland and Seattle. I’m slightly biased towards Seattle because I prefer bigger, denser cities. I didn’t like Boulder at all due to the cold climate and small size of the city.

As a result, I’m sticking with San Francisco, despite poop filled bananas, because it’s a big, dense city filled with a bunch of weirdos who love building great technology."
via:cervus  sanfrancisco  seattle  cascadia  portland  boulder  colorado  comparison  california  cities  living  moving  technology  bayarea  entrepreneurship  pacificnorthwest  losangeles  nyc  from delicious
november 2010 by robertogreco
Car Capacity Is Not Sacred | PubliCola - Seattle's News Elixir [via: http://bettyann.tumblr.com/post/1102798385]
"The crucial point is that car infrastructure not only encourages driving, it also sabotages mobility by any other means. It’s a vicious cycle: roads beget sprawl begets car dependence begets roads, and so on. And the result is an ever-expanding built environment in which walking, biking, and transit are not viable options.

The only way to break the vicious cycle is to invest our limited transportation dollars in infrastructure that will help make walking, biking, and transit more attractive than driving. And here’s where we need to start being honest with ourselves: If we are serious about creating a city in which significant numbers of trips are made by modes other than cars, then we will have to accept that driving will become less convenient than it is today."
cars  bikes  pedestrians  walking  biking  transit  transportation  energy  cities  policy  money  infrastructure  capacity  seattle  pugetsound  washingtonstate  convenience  change  cardependence  carcapacity  from delicious
september 2010 by robertogreco
Urban Omnibus » Code for America ["We need to get in there and change the culture and the modes of communication first, and remake City Hall so it acts more like the citizens of the city it serves."]
"Jennifer Pahlka is the founder and executive director of Code for America, a non-profit partially inspired by Teach for America that connects city governments and Web 2.0 talent. We caught up with Pahlka to get the backstory on the project, not just to hype the chance to become one of the fellows, but because the program offers profound lessons for how to reimagine how our city governments might work better. In architecture and urbanism, the words developer and designer refer to different professional roles than they do in technology. Nonetheless, perhaps designers of the physical world might benefit from a perspective in which certain networks, systems and spaces are virtual, but no less designed, and no less crucial to service delivery, citizenship and quality of life."
cities  government  citizenship  classideas  innovation  web  web2.0  urban  urbanism  technology  networks  networkedurbanism  systems  systemsthinking  qualityoflife  democracy  services  codeforamerica  collaboration  accessibility  demographics  boston  dc  seattle  boulder  philadelphia  needsassessment  municipalities  citizens  bureaucracy  government2.0  washingtondc  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
Roaming Hunger - Follow the Street Food Movement™ - Food Truck and Food Cart Locator
"Roaming Hunger is the hub for all things street food. Blossomed in 2009, in the very charming San Francisco, CA, Roaming Hunger aims to promote, preserve and create culture in and around the wide world of curbside cuisine."
food  foodtrucks  sanfrancisco  nyc  aggregator  streetfood  trucks  twitter  seattle  losangeles  sandiego  restaurants 
july 2010 by robertogreco
How Does It Feel To Be A Problem? - Culture - The Atlantic
"Man listen--Negroes like Atlanta. Negroes like Chicago. Negroes like Houston. Negroes like Raleigh-Durham (another area that doesn't make the cut, for some reason.) Negroes like Oakland. Negroes have the right to like where they live, independent of Massa, for their own particular, native, independent reasons (family? great barbecue? housing stock?) Just like Jewish-Americans have the right to like New York--or not. Just like Japanese-Americans have the right to like Cali--or not.

This particular Negro loves Denver--and Chicago too. But the notion that black people are pawns on a chess-board, which conservatives and liberals move around in order to one-up each each other, has got to go. Sometimes--just sometimes--a black dude isn't a problem. He's just a dude trying to marry a beautiful woman, raise a decent kid, retire to an tropical island, smoke some good herb, and drink some good rum.

Let Portland be Portland. And let black folks be themselves. We're getting along fine."
cities  race  ta-nehisicoates  portland  atlanta  nyc  houston  dallas  progressive  urban  diversity  chicago  seattle  austin  minneapolis  denver  oregon  losangeles  raleigh  2009  gentrification  politics  policy 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Op-Ed Contributor - Shake, Rattle, Seattle - NYTimes.com
"It is only a matter of time before a quake like the one in 1700 happens again in the Pacific Northwest — perhaps tomorrow, or not for 20, 50, 100 years. We do not know that precisely. But we do know that the earthquake will happen. Are we ready? No, we are not. Not in California, and definitely not in the Pacific Northwest."
chile  earthquakes  2010  seattle  cascadia  california  buildings 
march 2010 by robertogreco
Local News | Kindness taught in Seattle school's online class | Seattle Times Newspaper
"A small private school in Seattle offered a kindness class this fall, part of a larger movement that started more than a decade ago. Offered online, the class had 250 people — the most ever — who lived as far away as Poland."
pscs  pugetsoundcommunityschool  seattle  kindness  tcsnmy  online  extensioncourses  community  well-being  society  andysmallman 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Re-educate
"Re-Educate is looking to connect people in the Puget Sound area who believe the industrial model of school should be quietly laid to rest as we welcome a new kind of school for the 21st century. This blog is also designed to serve as a gathering place for people interested in helping organize Re-Educate 2012: a Collaborative Learning Event. For information, email steve@pscs.org."

[Discussion at: http://www.facebook.com/reeducate AND Twitter feed at: http://twitter.com/reeducate ]
education  blogs  community  alternative  seattle  pscs  stevemiranda  washingtonstate  schools  schooling  lcproject  pugetsoundcommunityschool  tcsnmy  conferences  deschooling  unschooling  gamechanging  progressive 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Race and the new urbanism « Snarkmarket
"This is some­thing I think about a lot, not least because I’m an aspir­ing col­lege pro­fes­sor mar­ried to an urban plan­ning stu­dent who is also a black lady. Who doesn’t drive. And we have kids."

[references: http://www.newgeography.com/content/001110-the-white-city ]
race  cities  progressive  progressivism  us  portland  seattle  austin  minneapolis  sanfrancisco  snarkmarket  politics  urban  urbanism  planning  society  comparison  diversity  boston  nyc 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Mix-A-Lot's posse route tracked in Google Maps | Crave - CNET
"For most people, Sir-Mix-A-Lot is synonymous with his hit "Baby Got Back." But for his real fans, or fans of early hip-hop in general, the greatest song Mix ever did was "My Posse's On Broadway," an homage to my home neighborhood in Seattle. It's a detailed step-by-step trek with Mix and his posse as they hit up local landmarks like Dick's Burgers and generally have a good time.

It's a great, fun song, and Google Maps user Adam Cohn has done fans a favor by making a map of Seattle that details every stop along the way. This is one of the most fun things I've seen in Google Maps in a long time.

An image of the map is above, but for a more interactive version you can check out Cohn's map for yourself. To make it more fun, below is the video for the single so you can follow along while you follow along. Try not to get the song stuck in your head."
seattle  washingtonstate  hiphop  music  musicvideo  video  geography  googlemaps  narrative  broadway  sir-mix-a-lot  via:javierarbona 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Independent Puget Sound Community School frees kids to choose own paths
"freewheeling center of self-directed education in Seattle - which makes Montessori seem regimented - goal is to honor students' individual learning styles while ensuring they meet state academic requirements...In keeping with school's emphasis on personal responsibility & choice, students can opt out of service projects & spend Weds studying independently. Each student has 131 hrs annually that can be spent away from school & used at their discretion...students say school's approach requires motivation & considerable work to ensure they're learning...there are no counselors to track credits...Not all of its 5 staff instructors are certified teachers, a qualification Smallman sees as unnecessary, possibly even counterproductive...said the school doesn't track how many of its graduates go on to higher ed, but doesn't see that as ultimate measure of its success...gauges that instead on whether past & present students are "satisfied with their position in life -- whatever that may be."
tcsnmy  constructivism  learning  alternative  pscs  pugetsoundcommunityschool  seattle  washingtonstate  lcproject  deschooling  schools  unschooling  highschool  independent  indepentlearning  self-directed  self-directedlearning 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Baja to Vancouver: The West Coast and Contemporary Art
"The artists in the exhibition are interested in popular forms and genres, from landscape and portraiture to vernacular signage and music videos. Their work thoughtfully reinterprets myths and reexamines histories related to West Coast cultures as diverse as the First Nations of British Columbia and the contemporary youth tribes of Los Angeles and San Francisco. The exhibition invokes patterns of immigration in the region as well as utopian visions of the "good life" and the unique topography of West Coast cities-part urban, part suburban and part wilderness. The art in B2V not only embodies a range of West Coast sensibilities, it also offers revealing portraits of the people and places on the western rim of North America and presents evidence of creative collaborations and shared aesthetic concerns among artists living and working in the region."
art  glvo  us  mexico  canada  westcoast  sandiego  vancouver  sanfrancisco  exhibitions  2004  northamerica  bajacalifornia  california  mcasd  seattle  cascadia 
september 2009 by robertogreco
Smarter Cities
'When thinking about the urban environment, more often than not problems come first to mind. Less commonly thought about is the potential presented by cities, potential to rethink and reshape their environments responsibly. Today urban leaders—mayors, businesses and community organizations—are in the environmental vanguard, making upgrades to transportation infrastructure, zoning, building codes, and waste management programs as well as improving access to open space, green jobs, affordable efficient housing and more. If they succeed in making their cities more efficient, responsible and sustainable, what will result will be smarter places for business and healthier places to live. Smarter Cities, a project of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a non-profit, is a multimedia web initiative whose mission is to foster a little friendly competition as well as provide a forum for exploring the progress American cities are making in environmental stewardship & sustainable growth."
transportation  urbanism  green  environment  sustainability  cities  urban  rankings  sandiego  portland  oregon  losangeles  seattle  design  planning  resources  stewardship 
september 2009 by robertogreco
Seattle Central Library: Civic Architecture in the Age of Media: Places: Design Observer
"not only traditional book & library that has become threatened by new digital & electronic media, but traditional forums of public life itself...current popular culture promotes this belief...suggest that city might no longer be something to escape, but something to which we should remain “connected.” Nevertheless...technology exists between ourselves & city, as if to suggest our bodies cannot be located there w/out it...Though Koolhaas’s initial training as screenwriter has often been noted, his Seattle project suggests connection to media culture in fact now transcends linear narratives & scenographic strategies of film structure alone, involving new references to the potentially more interactive strategies of the digital age. Most importantly, this engagement with contemporary visual culture has occurred not by reducing architecture to mere backdrop for the digital, but by once again employing the spatial & temporal tactics natural to it to engage us more fully in collective life."
design  architecture  remkoolhaas  media  libraries  seattle  creativity  information  collectivity  interactivity  digit  medialculturepublicspace  urban  cities  coexistence  culture  urbanism  publicspace  oma  seattlepubliclibrary 
august 2009 by robertogreco
bikewise [via: http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/009940.html]
"bikewise is a place to learn about and report bike crashes, hazards, and thefts. By sharing our experiences with each other, and with researchers and relevant agencies, we aim to make biking safer and more fun. You can help by adding your reports."
bikes  biking  safety  crowdsourcing  collaboration  transportation  seattle  community  maps  mapping  collaborative  planning 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Electric-assist Cargotrikes and Pedicabs--Frankentrikes!
"I build electric-assist front loading cargotrikes and rickshaws. I can build one for you."
bikes  trikes  seattle  handmade  hacks  diy  transportation  cargo 
april 2009 by robertogreco
Pew Research Center: For Nearly Half of America, Grass Is Greener Somewhere Else
"most city dwellers think the grass would be greener in a suburb, small town or rural area. But urbanites aren't alone in feeling mismatched with their surroundings. More than four-in-ten residents of suburbs, small towns and rural areas also report they would prefer to live in a different type of community. ... most young urbanites consider cities the place to be, while most middle-aged urbanites would like to live elsewhere. ... Seven of the public's 10 most popular big cities -- Denver, San Diego, Seattle, San Francisco, Phoenix, Portland and Sacramento -- are in the West"
politics  us  cities  research  urbanism  demographics  relocation  pew  grassisgreener  sandiego  seattle  denver  sanfrancisco  portland 
february 2009 by robertogreco
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