robertogreco + suburbia   51

Why we have grass lawns - Curbed
"With the invention of mechanical mowing, the lawn no longer required a small army of groundskeepers, and the once-unattainable lawn of the moneyed classes became available to the middle classes, which were now buying and building homes along streetcar lines outside of the city, in the first suburbs. The density of these suburbs relative to their later counterparts kept these lawns rather small, and the largest lawns tended to belong to those with large houses, keeping the big, grassy expanse aspirational.

With the massive car-based sprawl of the postwar era, the modern grassy, treeless lawn came into its own. The lawn, at this point, became part of American suburban culture: white and middle class, inextricable from the mundanities of conventional nuclear family life and the act of childrearing. Cold War paranoia placed a larger emphasis on surveillance in child-rearing, and the fenced-in, treeless backyard made it easier for parents to keep a continuous, watchful eye on their children.

Perhaps the most pervasive myth of the lawn is the oft-touted idea that lawns and fenced-in, grassy backyards are somehow safer or better for the activities of children than any alternative. This belief comes from a place of fear and isolationism. It subtly admonishes the decisions of non-suburban parents and erases the experiences of those children who grow up in the city or in rural areas. The idea that the woods or the city are unsafe for children is silly, as children have grown up in these environments for as long as people have lived in them. Rather than equipping children with the knowledge they need to be independent and adaptable to these environments, the de facto logic has been to eliminate all risk by only allowing children to play in a closed-off patch of turf grass.

Urban children may not have lawns, but they have public parks where they interact with other children from diverse backgrounds. Children (myself included) who grow up in rural places or near or in the woods are raised with information about the hazards of such environments and are taught the skills necessary to be self sufficient, such as plant and animal identification, navigation, first aid, and outdoor preparedness. The idea that children need a lawn, a cultural invention of the postwar era, is absurd.

Lawn care and horticulture are powerful industries whose future profits rely on the endurance of these myths and the persistent advance of sprawl. Many folks who enjoy the feeling of tending to land that the lawn gives them might scowl at me. The good news for people reading this and saying “what can I do?” is that wonderful alternatives to lawns are gaining momentum.

In desert climates, the most absurd places to have a lawn, xeriscaping—cultivating yards using native plants that require little irrigation—is becoming more and more popular because it saves time and resources. For others, taking space away from lawns and giving it to pollinator gardens, edible gardens, and vegetable beds, as well as gardening only with native plants that require much less fuss to keep alive, are great alternatives to the tyranny of the lawn, alternatives that not only save time, effort, resources, and money, but are good for the environment as well. Getting rid of turf grass and replacing it with native grasses, prairie, or whatever natural ground cover happens to be inherent to the place you live and that doesn’t require fertilization, pesticide use, or mowing is a great start. Allow native trees to grow, remove any invasive plants (sorry, folks, that means English ivy) from your yard, and the results will soon bear fruit, whether literally or figuratively, through the return of songbirds and pollinators to your outdoor space.

If you’re at all concerned about climate change and what you can do to help make the world a more habitable place for the millions of plants, animals, and people that live here, start by getting rid of your turf grass."
multispecies  plants  lawns  climate  ecology  monoculture  suburbia  2019  katewagner  cities  urban  urbanism  sustainability  xeriscaping  horticulture  children  safety  parks  cars 
8 weeks ago by robertogreco
Little Boxes - Tribute to Daly City, CA on Vimeo
"The song "Little Boxes" by Peter Seeger mocks Daly City, the large-tract suburb of San Francisco. This video shows what Seeger missed -- a look inside one of those little boxes."
dalycity  sanfrancisco  bayarea  california  peteseeger  music  songs  video  classideas  malvina  reynolds  henrydoelger  suburbia  conformism  middleclass  us  capitalism  nancyreynolds  westlake 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Little Boxes - Wikipedia
""Little Boxes" is a song written and composed by Malvina Reynolds in 1962, which became a hit for her friend Pete Seeger in 1963, when he released his cover version.

The song is a political satire about the development of suburbia, and associated conformist middle-class attitudes. It mocks suburban tract housing as "little boxes" of different colors "all made out of ticky-tacky", and which "all look just the same." "Ticky-tacky" is a reference to the shoddy material used in the construction of the houses.

Reynolds was a folk singer-songwriter and political activist in the 1960s and 1970s. Nancy Reynolds, her daughter, explained that her mother wrote the song after seeing the housing developments around Daly City, California, built in the post-war era by Henry Doelger, particularly the neighborhood of Westlake.
My mother and father were driving South from San Francisco through Daly City when my mom got the idea for the song. She asked my dad to take the wheel, and she wrote it on the way to the gathering in La Honda where she was going to sing for the Friends Committee on Legislation. When Time magazine (I think, maybe Newsweek) wanted a photo of her pointing to the very place, she couldn’t find those houses because so many more had been built around them that the hillsides were totally covered.
"

[See also:
http://www.roomonethousand.com/little-boxes-high-tech-and-the-silicon-valley/
http://telstarlogistics.typepad.com/telstarlogistics/2006/11/americas_most_p.html
http://www.willemsplanet.com/2014/10/09/thursday-the-little-boxes-of-daly-city/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/telstar/sets/72157594414534853/
https://vimeo.com/224844379 ]
dalycity  malvina  reynolds  peteseeger  sanfrancisco  classideas  songs  music  henrydoelger  bayarea  california  suburbia  conformism  middleclass  us  capitalism  nancyreynolds  westlake 
january 2018 by robertogreco
These photos of growing up in the Bay Area suburbs tell a story of innocence and disaffection
"Since the 1950s, exponential growth has pushed the San Francisco Bay Area built environment into, and over, the wetlands, valleys and hills of the region. What were once rural outposts are now commuter towns, villages are malls, farms are paved over and the ranches boxed in. In the postwar era, Walnut Creek transformed from a pastoral small town into the wealthy enclave east of the Oakland Hills that it is today.

Berkeley photographer Mimi Plumb, 64, spent her childhood in the town during its vast expansion. What Is Remembered is her record of alienated youth in 1970s suburbia—a milieu common to towns across America.

She arrived in Walnut Creek in 1956, at age three, after her parents upped sticks from Berkeley and moved out to one of the town’s first tract housing developments. They were quite content to trade in the intellectual life of the liberal college town for “a place where their kids could run around.”

Between 1950 and 1960, the population of Walnut Creek quadrupled from 2,460 to to 9,903. (It’s now more than 67,000.) Beginning in her teens, Plumb documented the townsfolk — particularly the children — living in the shadows of perpetual construction. Time was marked by the completion dates of new roads and housing projects.

“At the start, we were surrounded by walnut orchards. I could horseback ride, so there were things I could do, but for the entire time I lived there they were constantly tearing up land and building new sub-divisions.”"
photography  bayarea  miniplumb  walnutcreek  1950s  1960s  1970s  suburbia  orchards 
november 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
A Boom Interview: Mike Davis in conversation with Jennifer Wolch and Dana Cuff – Boom California
"Dana Cuff: You told us that you get asked about City of Quartz too often, so let’s take a different tack. As one of California’s great urban storytellers, what is missing from our understanding of Los Angeles?

Mike Davis: The economic logic of real estate and land development. This has always been the master key to understanding spatial and racial politics in Southern California. As the late-nineteenth century’s most influential radical thinker—I’m thinking of San Francisco’s Henry George not Karl Marx—explained rather magnificently, you cannot reform urban space without controlling land values. Zoning and city planning—the Progressive tools for creating the City Beautiful—either have been totally co-opted to serve the market or died the death of a thousand cuts, that is to say by variances. I was briefly an urban design commissioner in Pasadena in the mid-1990s and saw how easily state-of-the-art design standards and community plans were pushed aside by campaign contributors and big developers.

If you don’t intervene in the operation of land markets, you’ll usually end up producing the opposite result from what you intended. Over time, for instance, improvements in urban public space raise home values and tend to become amenity subsidies for wealthier people. In dynamic land markets and central locations, nonprofits can’t afford to buy land for low-income housing. Struggling artists and hipsters inadvertently become the shock troops of gentrification and soon can’t afford to live in the neighborhoods and warehouse districts they invigorated. Affordable housing and jobs move inexorably further apart and the inner-city crisis ends up in places like San Bernardino.

If you concede that the stabilization of land values is the precondition for long-term democratic planning, there are two major nonrevolutionary solutions. George’s was the most straightforward: execute land monopolists and profiteers with a single tax of 100 percent on increases in unimproved land values. The other alternative is not as radical but has been successfully implemented in other advanced capitalist countries: municipalize strategic parts of the land inventory for affordable housing, parks and form-giving greenbelts.

The use of eminent domain for redevelopment, we should recall, was originally intended to transform privately owned slums into publicly owned housing. At the end of the Second World War, when progressives were a majority in city government, Los Angeles adopted truly visionary plans for both public housing and rational suburban growth. What then happened is well known: a municipal counter-revolution engineered by the LA Times. As a result, local governments continued to use eminent domain but mainly to transfer land from small owners to corporations and banks.

Fast-forward to the 1980s. A new opportunity emerged. Downtown redevelopment was devouring hundreds of millions of dollars of diverted taxes, but its future was bleak. A few years before, Reyner Banham had proclaimed that Downtown was dead or at least irrelevant. If the Bradley administration had had the will, it could have municipalized the Spring-Main Street corridor at rock-bottom market prices. Perhaps ten million square feet would have become available for family apartments, immigrant small businesses, public markets, and the like, at permanently controlled affordable rents.

I once asked Kurt Meyer, a corporate architect who had been chairman of the Community Redevelopment Agency, about this. He lived up Beachwood Canyon below the Hollywood Sign. We used to meet for breakfast because he enjoyed yarning about power and property in LA, and this made him a unique source for my research at the time. He told me that downtown elites were horrified by the unexpected revitalization of the Broadway corridor by Mexican businesses and shoppers, and the last thing they wanted was a populist downtown.

He also answered a question that long vexed me. “Kurt, why this desperate, all-consuming priority to have the middle class live downtown?” “Mike, do you know anything about leasing space in high-rise buildings?” “Not really.” “Well, the hardest part to rent is the ground floor: to extract the highest value, you need a resident population. You can’t just have office workers going for breakfast and lunch; you need night time, twenty-four hour traffic.” I don’t know whether this was really an adequate explanation but it certainly convinced me that planners and activists need a much deeper understanding of the game.

In the event, the middle class has finally come downtown but only to bring suburbia with them. The hipsters think they’re living in the real thing, but this is purely faux urbanism, a residential mall. Downtown is not the heart of the city, it’s a luxury lifestyle pod for the same people who claim Silverlake is the “Eastside” or that Venice is still bohemian.

Cuff: Why do you call it suburbia?

Davis: Because the return to the center expresses the desire for urban space and crowds without allowing democratic variety or equal access. It’s fool’s gold, and gentrification has taken the place of urban renewal in displacing the poor. Take Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris’s pioneering study of the privatization of space on the top of Bunker Hill. Of course, your museum patron or condo resident feels at home, but if you’re a Salvadorian skateboarder, man, you’re probably headed to Juvenile Hall."



"Jennifer Wolch: Absolutely. However it’s an important question particularly for the humanities students, the issue of subjectivity makes them reticent to make proposals.

Davis: But, they have skills. Narrative is an important part of creating communities. People’s stories are key, especially about their routines. It seems to me that there are important social science skills, but the humanities are important particularly because of stories. I also think a choreographer would be a great analyst of space and kind of an imagineer for using space.

I had a long talk with Richard Louv one day about his Last Child in the Woods, one of the most profound books of our time, a meditation on what it means for kids to lose contact with nature, with free nomadic unorganized play and adventure. A generation of mothers consigned to be fulltime chauffeurs, ferrying kids from one commercial distraction or over-organized play date to another. I grew up in eastern San Diego County, on the very edge of the back country, and once you did your chores (a serious business in those days), you could hop on your bike and set off like Huck Finn. There was a nudist colony in Harbison Canyon about twelve miles away, and we’d take our bikes, push them uphill for hours and hours in the hope of peeking through the fence. Like all my friends, I got a .22 (rifle) when I turned twelve. We did bad things to animals, I must confess, but we were free spirits, hated school, didn’t worry about grades, kept our parents off our backs with part-time jobs and yard work, and relished each crazy adventure and misdemeanor. Since I moved back to San Diego in 2002, I have annual reunions with the five or six guys I’ve known since second grade in 1953. Despite huge differences in political beliefs and religion, we’re still the same old gang.

And gangs were what kept you safe and why mothers didn’t have to worry about play dates or child molesters. I remember even in kindergarten—we lived in the City Heights area of San Diego at that time—we had a gang that walked to school together and played every afternoon. Just this wild group of little boys and girls, seven or eight of us, roaming around, begging pennies to buy gum at the corner store. Today the idea of unsupervised gangs of children or teenagers sounds like a law-and-order problem. But it’s how communities used to work and might still work. Aside from Louv, I warmly recommend The Child in the City by the English anarchist Colin Ward. A chief purpose of architecture, he argues, should be to design environments for unprogrammed fun and discovery."



"Wolch: We have one last question, about your young adult novels. Whenever we assign something from City of Quartz or another of your disheartening pieces about LA, it’s hard not to worry that the students will leave the class and jump off of a cliff! But your young adult novels seem to capture some amount of an alternative hopeful future.

Davis: Gee, you shouldn’t be disheartened by my books on LA. They’re just impassioned polemics on the necessity of the urban left. And my third LA book, Magical Urbanism, literally glows with optimism about the grassroots renaissance going on in our immigrant neighborhoods. But to return to the two adolescent “science adventure” novels I wrote for Viggo Mortensen’s wonderful Perceval Press. Above all they’re expressions of longing for my oldest son after his mother moved him back to her native Ireland. The heroes are three real kids: my son, his step-brother, and the daughter of our best friends when I taught at Stony Brook on Long Island. Her name is Julia Monk, and she’s now a wildlife biologist doing a Ph.D. at Yale on pumas in the Andes. I’m very proud that I made her the warrior-scientist heroine of the novels, because it was an intuition about her character that she’s made real in every way—just a remarkable young person."
mikedavis  2016  interviews  economics  california  sanfrancisco  losangeles  henrygeorge  urbanism  urban  suburbia  suburbs  jenniferolch  danacuff  fauxurbanism  hipsters  downtown  property  ownership  housing  populism  progressive  progressivism  reynerbanham  planning  urbanplanning  citybeautiful  gentrification  cities  homeless  homelessness  michaelrotundi  frankgehry  richardlouv  gangs  sandiego  friendship  colinward  thechildinthecity  architecture  fun  discovery  informal  unprogrammed  freedom  capitalism  china  india  england  ireland  famine  optimism  juliamonk  children  teens  youth  development  realestate  zoning  sanbernardino  sciarc 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Why Are America’s Most Innovative Companies Still Stuck in 1950s Suburbia? | Collectors Weekly
"When Apple finishes its new $5 billion headquarters in Cupertino, California, the technorati will ooh and ahh over its otherworldly architecture, patting themselves on the back for yet another example of “innovation.” Countless employees, tech bloggers, and design fanatics are already lauding the “futuristic” building and its many “groundbreaking” features. But few are aware that Apple’s monumental project is already outdated, mimicking a half-century of stagnant suburban corporate campuses that isolated themselves—by design—from the communities their products were supposed to impact.

In the 1940s and ’50s, when American corporations first flirted with a move to the ‘burbs, CEOs realized that horizontal architecture immersed in a park-like buffer lent big business a sheen of wholesome goodness. The exodus was triggered, in part, by inroads the labor movement was making among blue-collar employees in cities. At the same time, the increasing diversity of urban populations meant it was getting harder and harder to maintain an all-white workforce. One by one, major companies headed out of town for greener pastures, luring desired employees into their gilded cages with the types of office perks familiar to any Googler.

Though these sprawling developments were initially hailed as innovative, America’s experiment with suburban, car-centric lifestyles eventually proved problematic, both for its exclusiveness and environmental drawbacks: Such communities intentionally prevented certain ethnic groups and lower-income people from moving there, while enforcing zoning rules that maximized driving. Today’s tech campuses, which the New York Times describes as “the triumph of privatized commons, of a verdant natural world sheltered for the few,” are no better, having done nothing to disrupt the isolated, anti-urban landscape favored by mid-century corporations.

Louise Mozingo, the Chair of UC Berkeley’s Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Department, detailed the origins of these corporate environments in her 2011 book, Pastoral Capitalism: A History of Suburban Corporate Landscapes. From the 1930s designs for AT&T Bell Laboratories in New Jersey to Google’s Silicon Valley campus today, Mozingo traced the evolution of suburbia’s “separatist geography.” In contrast with the city, Mozingo writes, “the suburbs were predictable, spacious, segregated, specialized, quiet, new, and easily traversed—a much more promising state of affairs to corporations bent on expansion.” It also didn’t hurt that many top executives often already lived in the affluent, low-density areas near where they wanted their offices built.

Like the expansive headquarters of many companies who fled dense downtowns, Apple’s new office falls into the architectural vein Mozingo dubs “pastoral capitalism,” after a landscaping trend made popular more than a century ago. In the mid-19th century, prominent figures like Frederick Law Olmsted promoted a specific vision of the natural environment adapted to modern life, beginning with urban parks and university campuses and eventually encompassing suburban residential neighborhoods.

“There was this whole academic discussion around what defined the picturesque, the beautiful, and the sublime,” Mozingo told me when we spoke recently. “Landscape gardener Andrew Jackson Downing had written extensively about it in American publications, but Olmsted went beyond that, and called his ideal park landscape ‘pastoral.’ He was well-read enough to understand that this combined elements of wild nature with agricultural nature.”"



"But perhaps even more damaging was the way this architectural trend turned residents away from one another and reduced their engagement in the public sphere. From the 1950s onward, the vast majority of suburban office projects relied on a model Mozingo refers to as “separatist geography,” where people were isolated from their larger communities for the benefit of a single business entity.

Mozingo’s concept of a separatist landscape builds off the ideas of geographer Allan Pred, who describes how our daily path through the built environment is a major influence on our culture and values. “If you live in a typical suburban place,” Mozingo explains, “you get in your car and drive to work by yourself, then stay in your office for the entire day seeing only other colleagues, and then drive back home alone. You’re basically only interested in improving highways and your office building.” Even as big tech touts its green credentials, the offices for Apple, Facebook, Google, and their ilk are inundated with parking, discreetly hidden below ground like their savvy mid-century forebears, encouraging employees to continue their solo commutes.

Today, this segregation isn’t only aided by architecture—it’s also a function of the tech-enabled lifestyle, with its endless array of on-demand services and delivery apps that limit interactions with people of differing views and backgrounds (exposure that would likely serve to increase tolerance). A protective bubble of affluence also reduces the need for civic engagement: If you always rely on ride-hailing apps, why would you care if the sidewalk gets cleaned or repaired?"



"“There are a handful of companies who are finally doing interesting things in the suburbs,” she continues. “For instance, there’s a developer in Silicon Valley, Kilroy Realty, building a development called the Crossing/900, which is the new Box headquarters, and it’s going to be high-density and mixed-use near Caltrain, so everybody’s excited about that one.” Mozingo also sees potential in a future Facebook project, since they’ve purchased a large plot of land near a disused rail line. “It’s supposed to be mixed-use with explicit public space, and a farmer’s market, and there’s the potential to actually service this area with rail,” she says. “I’m skeptical but hopeful.”

Clearly these modern suburban offices can’t resolve all of a community’s planning issues on a single, isolated site. But even companies that do try to affect change on a larger municipal level are often turned off by the required public process, which Mozingo calls “long, arduous, boring, and annoying.” Despite these misgivings, Mozingo’s understanding of urban history gives her faith that suburban corporate architecture could remedy the problems it has wrought.

“One of the reasons cities function really well,” Mozingo says, “is that in the first few decades of the 20th century, after industry had its way, there was a coalition of progressives who said, ‘We want good lighting, good transportation, and clean water in our cities. We’re going to have sidewalks and streets with orderly traffic, and we’re going to do some zoning so you don’t have a tannery right next to an orphanage.’ They put in big public institutions like museums and theaters and squares with fancy fountains. It cost everybody money, but was agreed on by both the public and private sectors. This is the reason why we still love San Francisco and New York City. Even if we don’t live there, we like going there.

“Believe me, in 1890, cities in the United States were just dreadful–but by 1920, they were much better, and everybody could turn on the tap and drink some water. This was not a small victory,” Mozingo emphasizes. “Suburban corporations have to realize that they’re in the same situation: They have to build alliances with municipalities, counties, state agencies, and each other to come together and spend the next three decades figuring it out—and it is going to take decades.”"
suberbs  suburbia  apple  google  ibm  belllabs  isolation  2016  cities  urbanism  us  corporatecampuses  janejacobs  allanpred  publicspace  urbanplanning  segegation  whiteflight  history  class  race  racism  1970s  1980s  housing  jobs  economics  work  generalmotors  transportation  publictransit  normanfoster  architecture  louisemozingo 
august 2016 by robertogreco
10 Lessons Learned by Rereading Jane Jacobs – Common Edge
"1. The mythical “ballet of the streets” motif is a tiny portion of the book.

That section, which occurs early on, is electric. It’s like an early John Cheever story. But the rest of Death and Life is a dense, meticulously constructed attack on the city planning orthodoxies of the day. Today it reads as a sort of literary polemic, fused with an urban planning and economics manual for cities. No wonder everybody’s head exploded in 1961.

2. Having said that: Jane’s magic world of Hudson Street feels as distant as Colonial Williamsburg.

It’s a Lost World. Her famous house at 555 Hudson Street sold in 2009 for the “bargain price” of $3.5-million.

3. Jacobs was remarkably prescient on gentrification.

She didn’t invent the term or even use it. But she observed (and I don’t know how, since most cities were in decline at the time) that lively diverse neighborhoods are always at risk for becoming victims of their own success, because newcomers invariably alter the characteristics that made these neighborhoods appealing to them in the first place. Today this seems obvious and self-evident, but that’s largely because of Jane Jacobs.

4. Jacobs won the battle of Ideas, but countervailing forces, including suburbia, won the war on the ground.

The conventional wisdom is that Jacobs ultimately prevailed. But did she really? Locally, she defeated Robert Moses, no doubt, but America sprawled and suburbanized for a half century, pretty much unimpeded, and many of the urban planning ideas that she so soundly debunked have had a Zombie-like resilience. Jacobs created a durable moral compass. Shamefully, it’s a best practices handbook that developers, especially, feel free to cite and then ignore when it suits them.

5. Jacobs-style urbanism (diversity of uses, scales, buildings, people) may be impossible to achieve with current development models.

New urban neighborhoods—even ones that at least attempt to adhere to her principles—often feel cold and sterile. They just can’t replicate the intricate web of relationships that Jacobs celebrated. These develop over time and at multiple scales, even small ones. It’s precisely these smaller scales, in fact, that give our best neighborhoods soul; unfortunately, when you’re building new, the haberdasher and the dry cleaner don’t pencil out economically.

6. Everyone, neighborhood activists and developers alike, cherry picks her ideas.

Many of her ideas were abused, like standard songs that have been covered (far too often) by inferior artists. It’s precisely why developers and activists who constantly evoke her should occasionally re-read her.

7. While the book’s lessons are indeed timeless, the examples she uses to illustrate them are now historic.

Truth be told, the examples—if you’re a native New Yorker of a certain age—border on the nostalgic. (The Italian butcher. The experimental theater. The candy store!) It makes reading the book in 2016 both fascinating and a bit rueful.

8. She was amazingly on-point about the effect of cars on cities.

Her remedy—what she called “car attrition” (making it more difficult for cars to operate in cities, rather than outright banning them)—predates the work of Jan Gehl and ideas like congestion pricing by several decades.

9. Despite what NIMBY-ists would like to believe, Jacobs was not anti big buildings.

She was against large, stand-alone, single-use buildings. Big buildings, surrounded by other structures of different sizes, scales and uses, were perfectly OK (even dreaded sports arenas).

10. Although it’s a fun parlor game for urban geeks, no one really knows which projects Jane Jacobs would have “approved” of.

But here’s a safe bet for what she would have surely opposed: anything that involved the use of eminent domain."
janejacobs  via:jarrettfuller  urban  urbanism  gentrification  2016  cities  martinpedersen  nimbys  nimbyism  development  eminentdomain  cars  transportation  jangehl  congestion  neighborhoods  community  diversity  scale  suburbia 
august 2016 by robertogreco
Metafoundry 54: Nominative Determinism
"EPICYCLES:

[…]

Probably what I appreciate most about the holiday break is not commuting. When I started driving in suburban Boston, I almost immediately generated a working hypothesis about why dense urban areas tend to lean left politically and why suburban areas lean right (in my hometown of Toronto, there was a pronounced political divide between the city proper and the surrounding '905ers', named after the area code for the immediate suburbs). Living in a city teaches you that strangers can co-exist and even cooperate (like everyone standing aside to let subway passengers disembark, for example). But if you live in the suburbs, your primary interaction with strangers is almost certainly in your car, and cars are sociopathy machines: people do many things in cars (like cut into a line) that they would never do on foot. Driving in the suburbs sends the message that, given the opportunity, a significant fraction of people put their own interests first regardless of the effect on others, so it doesn't seem like a big step to deciding that you need political systems that do similarly to ensure that you don't lose out to the people around you. Whereas living in cities, especially ones with good public transit, make it clear that strangers can work together and that homophily is not a requirement for everyone to benefit from shared resources; hence, left-wing. Getting a few days' break from driving definitely helps me with that seasonal 'good will towards one and all' thing. [While we're into amateur theories of political sociology, I'm a fan of the zombie apocalypse vs utopian future [http://slatestarcodex.com/2013/03/04/a-thrivesurvive-theory-of-the-political-spectrum/ ] dichotomy.]

ON FRIENDSHIPS, SOCIAL MEDIA, AND HOUSING: Speaking of the suburbs, I was struck by this article [http://www.vox.com/2015/10/28/9622920/housing-adult-friendship ] on how American choices in land use affect their ability of adults to make and maintain friendships: the norms of single-family homes and driving mean that social interactions need to be deliberately scheduled (or, in many sad cases, not scheduled). The evidence is that there are two key requirements for friendships to form: repeated, spontaneous interactions, and an environment where people can confide in each other. There's been a lot of discussion in my circles recently about the modes and affordances of social media sites, and a quiet exodus from public Twitter to small private accounts, or to Slack, or to mailing lists, or to, yes, newsletters. For many of us, Twitter was--and remains--an excellent place for those repeated, spontaneous interactions. But it's shifted from the 'small world growth phase' [http://hlwiki.slais.ubc.ca/index.php/File:SNSPrivacy.png ] to one where our experience is dominated by context collapse [http://hlwiki.slais.ubc.ca/index.php/Context_collapse_in_social_media ]. It's therefore no longer a safe environment for that second component of a nascent friendship, sharing with others, as the norms of civil inattention [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_inattention ] fail to keep pace with the site's phenomenal growth (This was most memorably demonstrated to me when a well-known author and speaker jumped into a conversation that a friend of mine and I were having about relationships to inform us--and the rest of his many followers--that 'women like bad boys'. Welp.) So this type of trust-building personal sharing is moving to more private fora. In my case, because I travel a fair bit, that includes the offline world. This use of Twitter and travel probably goes a long way to explaining why I'm an outlier in that, while I have a few good friends that I made in and kept from my teens and early twenties, I also have a number of very close friends that I've made in the last five years or so (the second major reason is likely because I do live in a dense urban walkshed where I run into friends spontaneously, in a city that draws out-of-town friends to visit). But I'm interested in seeing how people use different types of social media differently in the near future."
debchachra  2016  friendship  socialmedia  twitter  cities  cars  suburbs  sociopathy  housing  thewaywelive  urban  urbanism  toronto  boston  commuting  sociology  politicalsociology  suburbia 
january 2016 by robertogreco
Third Los Angeles Project | Occidental College | The Liberal Arts College in Los Angeles
"A series of public conversations examining a city moving into a dramatically new phase in its civic development.

Los Angeles, as it finally builds a comprehensive public transit system and pays serious attention to its long-neglected civic realm, is in the midst of profound reinvention. Or perhaps it’s better to call it a profound identity crisis. Either way, the old clichés about L.A. clearly no longer apply. This is a city trying, and often struggling, to define a post-suburban identity.

At the same time, it’s important to remember that all of the things that L.A. is aiming to add (and in fact grew infamous around the world for lacking) in the post-war years -- mass transit, places to walk, civic architecture, forward-looking urban planning, innovative multifamily housing -- it actually produced in enviable quantities in the early decades of the 20th century. Contemporary L.A. also shares with that earlier city an anxiety about the environment, in contrast to the confidence about controlling nature that shaped Los Angeles in the post-war decades.

In the most basic sense, that’s why we’re calling the initiative the Third Los Angeles Project. We are not just entering a new phase. We are also rediscovering the virtues and challenges of an earlier one -- and acknowledging the full sweep of L.A.’s modern history.

In the First Los Angeles, stretching roughly from the city’s first population boom in the 1880s through 1940, a city growing at an exponential pace built a major transit network and innovative civic architecture.

In the Second Los Angeles, covering the period from 1940 to the turn of the millennium, we pursued a hugely ambitious experiment in building suburbia –- a privatized, car-dominated landscape –- at a metropolitan scale.

Now we are on the cusp of a new era. In a series of six public events, some on the Occidental College campus and others elsewhere, the Third Los Angeles Project will explore and explain this new city.

The Third Los Angeles Project is a unique collaboration between Occidental College, Southern California Public Radio and Christopher Hawthorne, professor of practice in the Urban & Environmental Policy Department at Occidental, as well as architecture critic at the Los Angeles Times since 2004. A corresponding academic course is running concurrent with the public events.

All events are open to the public and free of charge. Register by clicking on any of the events below:

Welcome to the Third Los Angeles - Thursday, Feb. 12, 7:30 PM
The series kicks off with an introduction to the goals and central themes of the Third Los Angeles project.

Post-Immigrant Los Angeles - Wednesday, Feb. 18, 7:30 PM
Immigration to Southern California peaked in 1990, and we’ve now entered a post-immigrant phase, with foreign-born residents likely to be more financially and culturally stable and better connected than they were a generation ago.

City of Quartz at 25 - Wednesday, Mar. 4, 7:30 PM
Arguably the most important book written about Los Angeles in the last four decades -- and easily the most controversial -- City of Quartz is about to turn 25.

A Debate over the New LACMA - Wednesday, Mar. 25, 7:30 PM
Architect Peter Zumthor’s plan to radically redesign the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has divided critics and architects in L.A. like no other proposal in recent memory.

The Future of the Single-Family House: New Housing Models for Los Angeles - Wednesday, Apr. 8, 7:30 PM
At once vulnerable and inviolate, a disappearing architectural species and the most protected building type in the city, the single-family house continues to play an outsize role in debates over architecture, planning and growth in Los Angeles."
losangeles  christopher  hawthorne  events  future  history  occidentalcollege  immigration  socal  urban  urbanism  cities  2015  cityofquartz  mikedavis  peterzumthor  development  transportation  transit  suburbia  housing  infilling  masstransit  architecture  thordlosangeles  futures  lacma 
february 2015 by robertogreco
How urbanisation can be a friend to birds – John M Marzluff – Aeon
"Human sprawl is usually a threat to wildlife, but birds buck the trend. Can we help biodiversity take wing in our suburbs?"



"I am not claiming that suburban sprawl is the answer to our conservation prayers: many species of sensitive and rare birds could never survive in our ’burbs. Even fewer animals that crawl or walk, such as mammals, reptiles and amphibians, manage to live long among us. And, where terrestrial biological diversity is greatest – in the magnificent tropical rainforests – biodiversity is steadily lost with progressive development. But development can enrich local areas by providing what many tolerant species require. Although ensuring global diversity still requires that we leave undisturbed space elsewhere for sensitive species, even then, the political will to create such reserves depends on our experiences with local diversity."



"The response of birds to urbanisation is only just beginning. Humans began living in cities around 5,000 years ago. Today, more than half of all people are urbanites. As exploiters and adapters learn and evolve strategies to survive among us, I expect to see new and stronger co-evolved relationships between people and other city animals. As well as kindling a diverse urban biota, it might even create unforeseen species.

One of the world’s oldest and largest cities illustrates what the future might hold for birds. Crows, which are supremely intelligent and innovative, thrive in most northern cities. In Japan’s capital Tokyo, the jungle crow has developed an array of cultural traditions well-suited to city life. Some crows gather walnuts, but because their shells are too tough to crack open by beak, the crows place them where passing cars can become nutcrackers. Other crows that live in the inner city, where the sticks necessary for nest-building are rare, routinely pilfer clothes hangers that they bend and weave into unique nests.

In A Sand County Almanac (1949), Aldo Leopold, the founding father of wildlife science, noted that, because we view land as a commodity rather than a community to which we belong, we're incapable of loving and respecting it. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in our cities and suburbs, where a small parcel of land and the home built on it is a substantial investment. But the economic value of land need not be incompatible with its ecological value; after all, houses fetch higher prices in tree-filled subdivisions where birds flourish. Letting your lawn go wild (which benefits butterflies) reduces the cost of maintenance. And surrounding metropolitan areas with a healthy, vegetated watershed saves millions of dollars every year in water purification costs.

Even without monetary incentives, experiencing nature right outside the door builds empathy. In East Brunswick, New Jersey, and Palo Alto, California, residents appalled at the roadway slaughter of newts and salamanders, created safe passageways for them in the form of small tunnels or temporary road closures. Scientists at the Smithsonian Institution have stirred up a passion for conservation in Washington, DC, by involving residents in their suburban bird research. The more personal a bird becomes to a human – by tagging it, or simply discovering its nest – the easier it is to make sacrifices on its behalf."



"My enthusiasm for wilderness remains intact, but it’s become part of a broader conservation ethic that places equal value on nearby nature. Wondering and learning from our urban ecosystem teaches us to value nature in its broadest sense. In our cities and backyards, we experience how natural processes pay economic, spiritual and biological dividends. Noticing the responses of animals and plants to our actions provides a glimpse into the creative power of natural selection. As our appreciation for nature and the ecological and evolutionary processes that shape it grows from direct experience, our gardens work symbiotically with wilderness to inform our land ethic and conserve the full range of life."
nature  birds  animals  cities  biodiversity  adaptation  evolution  wildlife  2014  johnmarzluff  crows  corvids  aldoleopold  empathy  urban  urbanism  conservation  suburbs  subirdia  suburbia  ecology 
october 2014 by robertogreco
A Conversation with Andrew Blauvelt and Tracy Myers | Worlds Away
[Found in Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes: http://www.amazon.com/Worlds-Away-John-Archer/dp/0935640908 ]

"AB: It’s the old cliché, but a picture is worth a thousand words. The symbolism around an image or around a building is so much stronger. Images tend to be more specific, and that carries with it much more baggage, while statistics and theories seem more abstract to most people.

TM: Surely people pass in their grocery store, or at the gas station, the new suburbanite: the immigrant, the African American family, or the Indian family, or whomever. But it might not really register. Although I don’t believe that artistic representation of something necessarily endows it with additional value, the fact that an artist pays attention to suburbia might cause a visitor to stop and say, “Wait a minute. If this is important or interesting enough for an artist to be exploring it, or for an architect to be thinking about it, then it must be meaningful, and maybe I need to stop and think about my own situation, my own neighborhood, my own environment.”

KS: And beyond that, you have work here that represents a rich critique. In what ways do you see the exhibition exploring, for example, the increasing cultural diversity of suburbia?

AB: Artist Laura Migliorino, who lives here in Minneapolis, travels past suburban development every day and was intrigued because she watched the sprawl happen—it just follows you to your workplace, down the highway, and it evolves over the years (pages 33–37). And then one day she decided to explore it. She started asking to photograph people there, and was surprised by the diversity she found. Some of that diversity is due to the fact that most immigrants used to settle in urban areas, in the city, which was the traditional place because it was the most convenient and cheapest place to live. Today, the settlement pattern is very different—now it’s suburban—and for different reasons.

TM: It’s also where the jobs are. Most of the job growth since the 1980s has been in the suburbs.

AB: And when you don’t have great public transportation, you have to live closer to work. Some of that might be fueled by basic housing needs. If you have an Asian immigrant culture that is based around multigenerational family life, and the family is all living under one roof (or wants to), then the house type that you’re looking for might be a first-ring suburban house. It’s a larger structure, there are many bedrooms, and it’s at a price point that is more affordable.

TM: Or people might build another structure on their property to accommodate multigenerational families or multiple individuals, not related, living within one house. One of the interesting things is that many of the conditions people thought they were leaving behind in the city now occur in older suburbs. Infrastructure is getting old, taxes are going up, and immigration is increasing density and diversity. In some places, this has led to overt hostility—it’s upending all the expectations of people who moved to the suburbs thirty or forty years ago.

KS: There are also the retail battles. If you’re going to fashion a new retail district in a culturally diverse suburb like Fremont, California, which has become an ethnoburb with large Chinese and Indian populations, what kind of retail will there be? Will there be a diverse range of restaurants and grocery stores, or will it be anchored with big box retail or national chains? There was some tension over this a few years ago. But then there’s architect Teddy Cruz . . .

AB: I was also going to bring him up because he offers a good example of how looking at patterns of habitation and dwelling in Tijuana might affect suburban development in San Diego and vice-versa (page 120).

TM: He’s very interested in not eradicating, or obliterating, the local immigrant culture’s particular practices and traditions, but rather allowing the architecture to respond to them and privilege them. As someone who is involved in community development, I know how very complicated it can be, and the thing that most fascinates me about Teddy’s work is the process-based nature of it. And this is what makes it so challenging to represent: he describes it as triangulation among the citizens, the architects, and the city government, trying to convince the city to accommodate these situations that fall outside the mental framework of what is an appropriate way to live, or what is an appropriate way to build. It’s multigenerational; it celebrates communal living outdoors. Some of the other architectural projects in the exhibition are actually rather neutral in the way they incorporate thinking about changing demographics. They’re not so much responding to a specific kind of population as they are responding to a specific physical and economic condition.

KS: Why do you think that is?

TM: Well, mostly it’s a matter of the scale of the condition those particular projects address: a dead mall, for example, or a larger exurban situation rather than a single residence. These are theoretical projects that could be realized.

AB: They tend to be pragmatic, yet visionary. And they’re not formally driven, which doesn’t mean that they look bad! It’s thinking about occupiable space, rather than simply the purity of space, for example.

TM: Another thing about the architectural projects is their incremental nature, as in the proposals of Lateral Architecture (page 235) and Interboro (page 225). I think this marks a big change in architectural thinking; whether or not it filters through the profession in general remains to be seen. Both of those projects accept given conditions and propose changes that either respond to those conditions and make lemonade out of lemons, as it were, or in some other way try to massage the condition.

AB: It’s very tactical, looking for opportunities when or where you can. Lateral Architecture, for example, examines the space between big boxes in what are called power centers and ways that it can be occupied or programmed differently. It’s not Victor Gruen’s utopian vision of the regional shopping mall. In fact, Interboro studied the activity patterns of a dead mall. The mall is not truly dead because people are still there; not a lot of people, of course, but it’s more about a mall’s afterlife, or half-life, while it is in economic transition.

TM: And some of the mall activity is very illicit. Recognizing that fact is a much more realistic way of thinking about any kind of change than trying to completely transform something.

KS: Another thing that strikes me with somebody like Teddy Cruz is that he is opening up opportunities for others to continue to transform the landscape.

AB: Exactly. He’s ceding control, or perhaps better, creating a framework. It’s not about mastery. You create a structure, and allow it to evolve and develop on its own terms. As an architect you have to be okay with that, but it demands a strong framework.

TM: The subtext is not the typical attitude that drove modernist planning: “This is all wrong. We have to change it.” Lateral and Interboro are saying, “Okay, the status quo might not be great, but this is what it is. What can we do with it, rather than trying to transform the attitudes that led to this situation?” I think that’s pretty radical, actually.

KS: It raises the issue of critique from the outside in as opposed to the inside out—about artists and architects who might have grown up in suburbia, who might be living in suburban conditions, engaging with them as they’re producing and examining the increasing complexity of their reactions to suburbia. Are you still seeing a cultural vanguard’s reaction very much from the outside?

AB: The cultural vanguard’s negative critique of suburbia, I believe, forms the normative position on suburbia. However, lived experience and firsthand knowledge of the place can produce more nuanced or complex, and even contradictory, reactions."
teddycruz  2007  suburbs  suburbia  andrewblauvelt  tracymeyers  katherinesolomonson  sandiego  tijuana  immigrants  culture  cities  urbanism  architecture  design  border  borders  lauramigliorino 
march 2014 by robertogreco
The right to live in the suburbs | Great Streets San Diego
"Low density developments are essentially government subsidizes. Land Use in low density areas is so financially unproductive that it is impossible to build and maintain the infrastructure needed for them to exist. Not only do the streets, sewers, water, utilities, etc cost more to initially install, suburbs do not generate the tax revenue required to maintain them. The suburbs are draining city government coffers at an alarming rate. Is it any wonder San Diego has $3 billion dollar infrastructure deficit?"

[via: http://manso.jed.co/post/75082699785/the-right-to-live-in-the-suburbs ]

"I’d add that low density development also subsidizes the auto industry. It costs about $9,000 a year to own a car. If you live in a place that requires you to own a car, you’re effectively required to pay $9,000 a year tax in the form of car payments, insurance, and gas.

Don’t forget: people should have the right to not pay for a car. Communities that require cars eliminate this right."
subsurbs  suburbia  infrastructure  2013  cars  density  subsidies  government  california  landuse  development  taxrevenue 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Networks + New Towns
"NETWORKS + NEW TOWNS is an extended site study of Jonathan, Minnesota and related areas. The suburban neighborhood of Jonathan was one of the first "totally planned communities" in the Midwest, born during the short-lived "New Town" movement of the late 1960's. It grew up during an era characterized by great faith in the power of urban planning and the transformative potential of communications technology. This work uses Jonathan as a microcosm to understand the ways that we augment the earth with matter and data in an ongoing pursuit of better living."
newtowns  urbanism  slowerinternet  networks  samkronick  2013  video  urbanplanning  planning  suburbia  minnesota 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Going public: suburbanites become situationists in St Petersburg art project Critical Mass | The Calvert Journal
"Participatory art projects are increasingly popular around the world, not least because their social agenda can attract considerable sponsorship. However, these projects are also often criticised for failing to achieve results. Bitkina and Veits, who had to look abroad for funding, even though their work is almost unprecedented in Russia, do not make unrealistic claims about grandiose changes. Their aim is to make small, lasting changes for the people who interact with the work. “We don’t want to shock and intersect with public space in an aggressive way,” says Bitkina. “We want to engage as many people as possible.” They deliberately involve the police and city administration, striving gradually to “enlighten them and change their ways, to show them that things can be done in a certain way”.

The process begins with Veits consulting with other sociologists, anthropologists, historians and residents to locate stories and problems in the area; then Bitkina commissions and curates artists (eight this year) to respond to these problems in public spaces. “The last wooden house in Kupchino” is typical of Critical Mass in its attempt to engage with communities that are normally cut off from both the art world and from discussions about development, and in its focus on neighbourhood and belonging."



"Kennedy’s work stands out from this lineage because of its emphasis on myth and tradition. His folk-fictions seek to create new traditions that will represent the community and provide them with common touchstones of identity. He is guided by Claude Levi-Strauss’s belief that the myth must be enacted to find new relevance in the contemporary, and by the notion of “shared anthropology” pioneered by filmmaker Jean Rouch, whose documentary films made North African communities act out their daily lives with “critical awareness”. “Myth,” says Kennedy, “becomes something that is embodied and manifested, in this case in public and civic space through the aesthetic form of the procession.” In the Kupchino action the artist takes an intimate, personal tradition — the story of one family — and turns it into a shared myth for the whole community by re-enacting it in a public space with 60 participants, and then by showing them his Super-8 recording of the event. "



"But the greatest sense of public gratification came from one of the unscripted moments that occur naturally when the artist-viewer hierarchy is broken in public art. Just as Kennedy and Vasiliyeva shook hands and posed for photos by the handmade wooden house, a brightly coloured rocket exploded in the sky above them. It was the flare her mother had given her back in 1976. Vasiliyeva’s brother had decided to fire it today — clear confirmation of the significance and resonance of this social project for the family and for all of Kupchino."
stpetersburg  russia  art  community  situationist  suburbia  2013  garethkennedy  folk-fiction  criticalmass  jeanrouch  claudelevi-strauss  myth  social  kupchino  annabitkin  mariavets  iraidavasiliyeva  alexandranyskova  guydebord  societyofthespectacle  everyday  everydaylife  communes  privacy  self  kommunalki  communism  society  engagement  glvo  participatoryart  socialpracticeart  development  sociology  anthropology  publicspace  workshops  openstudioproject  ncmideas 
june 2013 by robertogreco
MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism
"The Center for Advanced Urbanism is committed to fostering a rigorous design culture for the large scale; by focusing our disciplinary conversations about architecture, urban planning, and systems thinking, not about the problems of yesterday, but of tomorrow. Alan Berger, Director of Research, and myself are motivated by the radical changes in our environment, and the role that high design and research can play in addressing these. We embrace conversations with the world's absolute top experts in planning, engineering, and technology, all at MIT, to feed and foster the growing field of large-scale design and research. We take pride in the fact that participants in the center do not just talk about things; they do projects, build things, and actively change our society out in the real world; and then come together to learn from each other's experiences, publish, and debate about future directions. The Center for Advanced Urbanism has been established at the initiative of the Dean and Chairs of the School of Architecture and Planning and reflects a renewed drive to excellence in urbanism.

—Alexander D'Hooghe, Director, Center for Advanced Urbanism"

[A video introduction is here: http://cau.mit.edu/news/cau-releases-urbanism-film and here https://vimeo.com/59435045 ]
mit  cau  centerforadvancedurbanism  urbanism  urbanplanning  scale  environment  experience  cities  urban  systemsthinking  systems  interdisciplinary  future  infill  design  planning  engineering  interurbanism  suburbs  suburbia  society  technology  mitcau  architecture 
february 2013 by robertogreco
DAILY SERVING » Summer of Utopia: Interview with Ted Purves
"I feel like a project is successful if we have had substantive encounters with people, if we have created spaces where a kind of exchange—whether it’s family history, or talking about why something should or shouldn’t be in an art museum, or sometimes it’s just swapping recipes—some form of animated or engaged dialogue comes out, or some sort of story emerges. It means we learn something, a story can be brought forward from that, that’s when things are successful. Another high-five moment comes when there is something compelling to look at. A lot of times when you see a social practice show, it’s either a room full of crap to read, or it looks like a place where they had a party and you didn’t get to go. I’ve been to a lot of those, and they’re not satisfying! You either wish they had just printed a book you could take home and read in your own chair—because it’s not very comfortable to sit in a museum—or you wish that you’d been at the party."

[via: http://randallszott.org/2012/05/25/ted-purves-aesthetics-social-practice-personal-economies/ ]
urbanism  rural  cities  urban  suburban  suburbia  suburbs  belief  via:leisurearts  democracy  alteration  change  perception  lemoneverlastingbackyard  wrongness  weirdness  glvo  openendedness  seeing  art  aesthetics  fruit  dialog  publicspaces  publicspace  workinginpublic  disagreement  decisionmaking  debate  negotiation  unplanning  thebluehouse  temescalamityworks  susannecockrell  sharing  2010  overlappingeconomies  capitalism  economics  utopia  thomasmore  socialpractice  tedpurves  dialogue  from delicious
may 2012 by robertogreco
Giant Robot - Artist Friends Series - Ako Castuera - YouTube
"Ako Castuera is a painter, sculptor, and textile artist. For Realms (art exhibition at Giant Robot 2 LA), she has turned her focus to work on paper with a variety of media, primarily using watercolor and gouache. The works continue her ongoing interest in land, the life within it, and the life it sustains. "Suburban tracts sprawl over hills and are at once picturesque, parasitic, and fragile. They coexist with dinosaur like animal forms that suggest prehistoric life," she says. "Dinosaurs have always inspired awe and fed fantasies of the past. Their extinction forces contemplation of the future, of what's in store for the land, animals, and humans all." Ako studied at CCA, and is based in Los Angeles where she works as a writer/storyboard artist on the animated television show, Adventure Time."
watercolor  life  knitting  atemporality  time  sprawl  land  dinosaurs  suburbs  suburbia  2011  place  landscapes  landscape  glvo  art  giantrobot  akocastuera  textiles  from delicious
april 2012 by robertogreco
Next American City » Sympathy for the Suburbs
"But Foreclosed seethes with disdain for the suburbs, and the lack of an empathetic understanding of how the suburbs function and are changing, ultimately makes the exhibit look less visionary than ignorant…

These radical visions that are so insensitive to the suburbs remind me of the Modernist public housing projects that were once foisted on inner cities. Created by well-intentioned but essentially ignorant architects and planners, those buildings made sense in theory but not in practice. They didn’t respond to the rhythms and needs of the people who would be housed there, because the architects didn’t really respect or understand the lives of poor people. MoMA should have found some architects who could love and live in the suburbs, showing us the way to make the most of suburban housing instead of wishing it didn’t exist."
hilarysample  michaelmeredith  losangeles  oregon  illinois  california  florida  newjersey  templeterrace  theoranges  cicero  keizer  rialto  cities  edglaeser  misregistration  repurposing  revitalization  infrastructure  jeannegang  WORKac  foreclosed  barrybergdoll  housing  andrewzago  buellhypothesis  moma  design  planning  poverty  urbanism  urban  architecture  suburbia  suburbs  2012  foreclosure  housingbubble  housingcrisis  from delicious
february 2012 by robertogreco
Swimming with the stars - Five-Minute Museum - Salon.com
"When I started thinking about it … I realized that in many ways, in the post-war period, Southern California was the ideal of what the American dream was going to look like. At the center of that was the swimming pool, and suburban expansion, and the concept of everybody living in this place that didn’t have the danger of nature, but had all the benefits of the natural landscape. A place that was away from the city, but at the same time felt domesticated. I started thinking about the pool as the central icon of that both real and imaginary place. And it grew from there."
daniellcornell  cindysherman  highculture  popularculture  backyards  suburbia  suburbs  hollywood  nature  design  architecture  art  palmspringsartmuseum  barbarakruger  davidhockney  pacificstandardtime  photography  2012  southerncalifornia  socal  california  swimmingpools  from delicious
february 2012 by robertogreco
Debunking the Cul-de-Sac - Design - The Atlantic Cities
"Safest cities in America are the ones incorporated before 1930, when streets were laid out in grids. Fashion and regulation shifted then to favouring winding streets and cul-de-sacs. Which turn out to be inefficient and dangerous"
safety  urbandesign  urban  urbanism  cities  suburbs  suburbia  density  cars  transportation  cul-de-sac  california  research  normangarrick  wesleymarshall  patterns  comparison  grids  traditionalgrid  fha  design  urbanplanning  2011  from delicious
september 2011 by robertogreco
The American suburbs are a giant Ponzi scheme | Grist
"Since the end of WWII, our cities & towns have experienced growth using three primary mechanisms:

1. Transfer payments between governments: where the federal or state government makes a direct investment in growth at the local level, such as funding a water or sewer system expansion.

2. Transportation spending: where transportation infrastructure is used to improve access to a site that can then be developed.

3. Public and private-sector debt: where cities, developers, companies, & individuals take on debt as part of the development process, whether during construction or through the assumption of a mortgage.

In each of these mechanisms, the local unit of government benefits from the enhanced revenues associated with new growth. But it also typically assumes the long-term liability for maintaining the new infrastructure. This exchange -- a near-term cash advantage for a long-term financial obligation -- is one element of a Ponzi scheme…"
politics  economics  cities  urban  business  suburbs  suburbia  ponzischemes  government  strongtowns  sustainability  finance  infrastructure  2011  charlesmarohn  future  development  transportation  liabilities  maintenance  urbanism  policy  longterm  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
James Enos talks about Clairemont on Vimeo
His informal presentation on the critique of Clairemont from Pecha Kucha on April 20th. The piece discussed in his rant is currently on show at MCASD in La Jolla's "Here Not There" opening.
1951  tracthomes  clairemont  jamesenos  informal  sandiego  architecture  herenotthere  mcasd  pechakucha  housing  alterations  art  design  vernacular  entitlement  dwellmagazine  dwell  clairemonterasure  suburbs  suburbia  parametricarchitecture  juxtaposition  realestate  commentary  tracthousing  criticalpractice  whatwewant  socal  buildingboom  southpark  humor  from delicious
june 2011 by robertogreco
Shaping the City: Seeking a new template for truly smart growth - The Washington Post
"A more demographically complex society induces cultural and economic shifts, including perceptions about urban life. Reportedly a majority of Americans, especially young adults and senior citizens, now prefer living in walkable neighborhoods and sustainably designed communities characterized by diverse land uses and a broad array of civic amenities. Their close-to-home wish list includes: transit access; plenty of shopping; cultural, recreational and entertainment venues; parks and playgrounds; good public schools; health-care services, and job opportunities. Affordable housing is also on the list.<br />
Shifting demographics, along with increasing consumer interest in a more-urban existence, are redefining the real estate market. This requires rethinking how we plan, regulate, design and build — or rebuild — parts of suburbs and the cities they encircle. To respond to evolving market forces, new templates for truly smart growth are needed. Such templates must do the following…"
cities  trends  urban  urbanism  sprawl  urbanplanning  smartgrowth  us  suburbs  suburbia  housing  walking  publictransit  economics  change  2011  rogerlewis  walkability  diversity  sustainability  community  neighborhoods  from delicious
april 2011 by robertogreco
Suburbs and Cubicles : peterme.com
"The cubicle farm strikes me as the real-world embodiment of the dehumanization represented in org charts. I’m reading Douglas Rushkoff’s Life, Inc., about the rise of corporatism. He mentions the flight to the suburbs (also mentioned in The McDonaldization of Society) and I wondered about the connection between the suburbs and the cubicle farm. Both contributed to the individualizing of America, our separation from one another.. Both strike me as products of Weberian rationalization, in that tract homes and cubicle farms are models of efficiency and quantifiability from the stand point of production… but ultimately isolating and damaging from the perspective of those who have to live in and use them."
suburbs  suburbia  cubicles  perermerholz  work  workplace  structures  industrialage  deschooling  unschooling  community  communities  separation  individualized  individualism  collaboration  corporatism  lcproject  tcsnmy  hierarchy  petermerholz  from delicious
april 2011 by robertogreco
California Bungalow - Wikipedia
"traces its origins to Indian province of Bengal, word itself derived from Hindi bangla or house in Bengali style. The native thatched roof huts were adapted by British, who built bungalows as houses for administrators and as summer retreats. Refined & popularized in California, many books list the first California house dubbed a bungalow as the one designed by the San Francisco architect A. Page Brown in the early 1890s. However, Brown's close friend, Joseph Worcester, designed a bungalow for himself & erected it atop a hill in Piedmont, across the bay from San Francisco, in 1877-78. The bungalow influenced Bernard Maybeck, Willis Polk & other San Francisco architects & Jack London, who rented Worcester's house from 1902-03 called it a "bungalow w/ a capital 'B'".

The bungalow became popular because it met the needs of changing times in which the lower middle class were moving from apartments to private houses in great numbers. Bungalows were modest, inexpensive & low-profile."
architecture  suburbia  bungalows  history  india  bengal  losangeles  sandiego  california  housing  homes  from delicious
february 2011 by robertogreco
Blueprints for a Better ‘Burb - Opinionator Blog - NYTimes.com
"[The] prevailing vision contradicts the reality of suburbia today. There may be white picket fences & home owners associations in common, but beyond that, “suburb” has outlived its usefulness as a descriptive term — and as a model for future planning, at least in its current incarnation. Suburbs continue to be designed for homogeneity even though they’re no longer homogeneous at all, & in fact have become increasingly varied in type, density, infrastructure & demographics..."

[via: http://varnelis.net/blog/blueprints_for_a_better_burb ]
architecture  suburbia  suburbs  sustainability  transportation  traffic  urbanism  urban  planning  competitions  ecology  energy  environment  housing  systems  systemsthinking  kazysvarnelis  longisland 
july 2010 by robertogreco
a m l - want to look ahead? look around instead.
"when new high-tech & high-priced gizmos like kindle & its much hipper cousin ipad came out, the blogosphere was very excited. nevermind that hacker websites from russia to south america have been scanning & posting pdfs for consumption of rest of the world that does not have a library around the corner nor easy access to jstor et al. the ipad is not the revolution, digital text is. it is less important how you read it, than the possibility of being able to read it at all! ingenuity finds uses for technology other than those originally intended, & this often happens because of need. think of cell phones used as micro loan mechanisms in india. think of the development of the bus rapid transit system in curitiba, transforming the bus into a dedicated line system resulting in an affordable mass transportation system that has been replicated in several cities in south america. christopher hawtorne thinks we should look at medellin… he is, of course, a bit late, but hey, we’ll take it."
thestreetwillfindause  medellin  colombia  india  streetuse  technology  ipad  kindle  libraries  text  digitaltext  anamaríaleón  cities  suburbia  travel  jetset  sustainability  green  latinamerica  southamerica  jaimelerner  pdf  learning  information  hacks  hacking  microloans  rapidtransit  christopherhawthorne  architecture  urban  urbanism  planning  future  decline  invention  thefutureishere  medellín 
may 2010 by robertogreco
The Places I Have Come to Fear the Most « Snarkmarket
"I have a reflex­ive dis­like of sub­urbs. I grew up in Orlando, in one of its sub­urbs stacked on sub­urbs, all in dis­tant orbit around a tiny cen­ter of faux-urbanity we called down­town. (Which in turn hov­ered in dis­tant orbit around a giant cen­ter of faux-reality we called Dis­ney World.)

Orlando feels hor­ri­bly life­less to me. I often say that in Orlando, you have to drive 20 min­utes to get to the con­ve­nience store. I can’t think of a sin­gle good Mom-&-Pop shop around where I grew up. When I go back to visit, there are no places where my friends and I can sit idly and chat until the wee hours. For a while, we seri­ously took to fre­quent­ing the lob­bies of the nicer hotels...How could any­one choose a sub­urb over a city? I ask myself. Cities engen­der cre­ativ­ity and comity & effi­ciency. The Renais­sance could never have taken place in a sub­ur­ban­ized Europe.

But I occa­sion­ally get jolted out of my city-worship when I encounter a bit of real­ity like..."
mattthompson  snarkmarket  cities  suburbs  2005  orlando  boston  washingtondc  schools  parenting  urban  sustainability  nyc  suburbia  vibrancy  efficiency  invention  renaissance  creativity  dc 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Commuting : The Frontal Cortex
"David Brooks, summarizing the current state of happiness research: "The daily activity most injurious to happiness is commuting. According to one study, being married produces a psychic gain equivalent to more than $100,000 a year." In other words, the best way to make yourself happy is to have a short commute and get married. I'm afraid science can't tell us very much about marriage so let's talk about commuting. A few years ago, the Swiss economists Bruno Frey and Alois Stutzer announced the discovery of a new human foible, which they called "the commuters paradox". They found that, when people are choosing where to live, they consistently underestimate the pain of a long commute. This leads people to mistakenly believe that the big house in the exurbs will make them happier, even though it might force them to drive an additional hour to work."
commuting  happiness  davidbrooks  housing  urbanplanning  suburbia  marriage  neuroscience  jonahlehrer  behavior  cars  driving  psychology  estimation  planning  urban  urbanism  transportation  traffic  suburbs  lifestyle  living  satisfaction 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Global Guerrillas: RC JOURNAL: The Inevitable Failure of Suburbia?
"I start with the view that a suburban town is a community and not just type of architecture. People/families live their lives in these towns. So, as a community, it's ability to survive/thrive is a function of its adaptability. If the future is going to be as tough as we think it is, then the question of suburbia really becomes: are suburban communities adaptable enough to thrive in the future (as in: becoming resilient communities). Given the advantages of the suburban landscape (land, surface area, security, etc.) has over rural/urban in many revival scenarios (post crunch), the only existential threat to these communities appears to be the from the global financial system -- aka a foreclosure tsunami that decimates communities faster than they can reconfigure/change. I think that problem is solvable."
suburbia  suburbs  johnrobb  future  adaptation  adaptability  resilience  change  communities  community 
november 2009 by robertogreco
There’s No Place Like Home | Print Article | Newsweek.com
"Perhaps nothing will be as surprising about 21st-century America as its settledness. For more than a generation Americans have believed that "spatial mobility" would increase, and, as it did, feed an inexorable trend toward rootlessness and anomie. This vision of social disintegration was perhaps best epitomized in Vance Packard's 1972 bestseller A Nation of Strangers, with its vision of America becoming "a society coming apart at the seams." In 2000, Harvard's Robert Putnam made a similar point, albeit less hyperbolically, in Bowling Alone, in which he wrote about the "civic malaise" he saw gripping the country. In Putnam's view, society was being undermined, largely due to suburbanization and what he called "the growth of mobility."
babyboomers  economics  suburbia  future  culture  urban  travel  government  demographics  municipalities  sociology  us  nomads  neo-nomads  joelkotkin  settledness  spatialmobility  mobility  migration  rootlessness  civics  civicmalaise  society  boomers 
october 2009 by robertogreco
ReBurbia
"In a future where limited natural resources will force us to find better solutions for density and efficiency, what will become of the cul-de-sacs, cookie-cutter tract houses and generic strip malls that have long upheld the diffuse infrastructure of suburbia? How can we redirect these existing spaces to promote sustainability, walkability, and community? It’s a problem that demands a visionary design solution and we want you to create the vision! ... Show us how you would re-invent the suburbs! What would a McMansion become if it weren’t a single-family dwelling? How could a vacant big box store be retrofitted for agriculture? What sort of design solutions can you come up with to facilitate car-free mobility, ‘burb-grown food, and local, renewable energy generation? We want to see how you’d design future-proof spaces and systems using the suburban structures of the present, from small-scale retrofits to large-scale restoration—the wilder the better!"
design  architecture  urban  suburban  redevelopment  capitalism  suburbia  planning  bldgblog  suburbs  urbanplanning  meltdown  landscape  competition  infrastructure  housing  cities  competitions  dwell  contests 
july 2009 by robertogreco
On the Death of the Suburbs | varnelis.net
"For all the talk about suburbs as "urban parasites," scholars have demonstrated that suburbs and city cores are now inextricably linked. If anything, such infrastructural collapse would lead to further growth in the distant suburbs and in exurbia (I, for one, would think about bugging out to Vermont before everyone else does). It's very much in the interest of urban and suburban leaders to work together to find solutions."
kazysvarnelis  suburbs  urban  infrastructure  collapse  suburbia 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Consumed - Repurpose-Driven Life - NYTimes.com
"A recent book, “Retrofitting Suburbia,” by Ellen Dunham-Jones and June Williamson, notes that in 1986, the United States had about 15 square feet of retail space per person in shopping centers. That was already a world-leading figure, but by 2003 it had increased by a third, to 20 square feet. The next countries on the list are Canada (13 square feet per person) and Australia (6.5 square feet); the highest figure in Europe is in Sweden, with 3 square feet per person. “Retrofitting Suburbia,” as its title suggests, is concerned with projects that address problems stemming from “leapfrog”-style development — the constant expansion of new housing, and new stores, farther away from city centers. As Dunham-Jones, an associate professor of architecture at Georgia Tech, told me when we spoke recently, one of those problems is that we’ve gotten “overretailed.”"
adaptivereuse  reuse  architecture  retail  space  change  crisis  adaptive  suburbia  malls  us  suburbs  books  via:adamgreenfield 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Jim Kunstler : The Abyss Stares Back
"In the folder marked "unsustainable" you can file most of the artifacts, usufructs, habits, and expectations of recent American life: suburban living, credit-card spending, Happy Motoring, vacations in Las Vegas, college education for the masses, and cheap food among them. All these things are over."
jameshowardkunstler  collapse  local  colleges  universities  education  learning  schools  schooling  peakoil  crisis  2009  suburbs  suburbia  us  credit 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Worlds Away
"Because suburbia occupies a dominant presence in so many lives—a place of not only residence but also of work, commerce, worship, education, and leisure—it has become a focal point for competing interests and viewpoints. The suburbs have always been a fertile space for imagining both the best and the worst of modern social life."
design  art  architecture  suburbia  suburbs  urbanism  urban  exhibitions  cities 
february 2009 by robertogreco
The End of White Flight - WSJ.com
"For much of the 20th century, the proportion of whites shrank in most U.S. cities. In recent years the decline has slowed considerably -- and in some significant cases has reversed. Between 2000 and 2006, eight of the 50 largest cities, including Boston, Seattle and San Francisco, saw the proportion of whites increase, according to Census figures. The previous decade, only three cities saw increases.
via:javierarbona  population  demographics  development  cities  urban  culture  us  suburbia  race  rights  gentrification  class  society 
december 2008 by robertogreco
What Is the Future of Suburbia? A Freakonomics Quorum - Freakonomics - Opinion - New York Times Blog
"Several months ago, we ran a quorum here about urbanization, pegged to the fact that more than half of the world’s population now lives in cities. Given the economic changes of the past several months, particularly those in the housing market and in energy prices, it seemed like a good idea to run a new quorum on suburbia, even if it might cover some of the same ground. So we gathered up a group of smart people — James Kunstler, Thomas Antus, Jan Brueckner, Gary Gates, John Archer, Alan Berube, and Lawrence Levy — and asked them the following: What will U.S. suburbs look like in 40 years?"
suburbia  suburbs  future  us  urban  urbanism  demographics  housing  society  cities  planning  dystopia 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Suburbia's not dead yet - Los Angeles Times
"Not so fast. The "out of the suburbs, back to the city" narrative rests more on anecdote than demographic or economic fact."
suburbia  urban  cities  demographics  trends  economics  energy  joelkotkin 
july 2008 by robertogreco
posturban transformation | varnelis.net - "Urbanism as a Way of Life, had traditionally been places of difference, places in which individuals from rural backgrounds were deterritorialized (to use Deleuzean terms) to become new, urban beings...
"...But something strange has happened over the last two decades...As the global city becomes increasingly homogeneous, today's advocates of the creative city may seem as backwards to us as Corbusier did to Jane Jacobs."
cities  suburbs  trends  urban  via:regine  creativeclass  suburbia  urbanism  demographics  janejacobs  kazysvarnelis 
june 2008 by robertogreco
Open the Future: The Suburban Question
"Gentrification, re-urbanization, even "black flight" to the suburbs upset conceptual models of built environment that remained dominant in US for last few decades. Cities are back... and suburbs may be abandoned to low-income.."
gentrification  cities  housing  green  redevelopment  suburbia  suburbs  urban  urbanism  living  future  sustainability  via:blackbeltjones 
may 2008 by robertogreco
Modern suburbia not just in America anymore - USATODAY.com
"For good or bad, the USA's suburbs have become a living laboratory for the world. Developing countries contending with explosive population growth and economic expansion are looking here for hints about how to manage growing cities."
design  globalization  housing  suburbia  suburbs  urban  urbanism  global  us  planning  trends 
april 2008 by robertogreco
apophenia: musing about social networks and g/local cultures
"People are expected to be outraged that box stores are costing neighbors jobs, but what if you don't know your neighbors...local store [owners]? Lacking personal connection or liberal guilt, doesn't it make sense to save money instead of support local?"
community  localization  suburbia  suburbs  socialmedia  socialnetworking  trends  networks  local  activism  economics  groups  association 
april 2008 by robertogreco
The Next Slum?
"The subprime crisis is just the tip of the iceberg. Fundamental changes in American life may turn today’s McMansions into tomorrow’s tenements."
us  architecture  housingbubble  capitalism  bubble  housing  recession  slums  sociology  subprime  suburban  suburbia  suburbs  sustainability  theatlantic  economics  realestate  urbanism  walking  transportation  urban  mortgages  demographics  future  green  cities  crime  culture  planning  politics  poverty  property  dystopia  neighborhoods  collapse  environment 
february 2008 by robertogreco
People Soup - Scotland Yard: subUrban Graffiti Project
"We present to you a beautiful blend of suburban intervention and lawn decor to the max. SCOTLAND YARD: subUrban Graffiti Project"
graffiti  streetart  suburbia  suburbs 
september 2007 by robertogreco
Kunstler on Peak Suburbia; Harpers Magazine on Detroit : TreeHugger
"serene conviction that we are at the end of the cycle -- and by that I mean the grand meta-cycle of the suburban project as a whole" "There is a wonderful article in the July issue of Harpers by Rebecca Solnit: Detroit Arcadia- Exploring the post-America
architecture  future  sustainability  cities  urban  farming  gardens  detroit  suburbs  suburbia  jameshowardkunstler  energy  cars  peakoil  oil  us  landscape  urbanprairie  agriculture 
june 2007 by robertogreco

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