robertogreco + toronto   43

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti muses in his “Pictures of the Gone World 11,” which inspired Walker’s title: “The world is a beautiful place / to be born into / if you don’t mind some people dying / all the time / or maybe only starving / some of the time / which isn’t half so bad / if it isn’t you.” This is precisely the sort of solipsism and stratification that tech-libertarianism and capitalist development promotes—and that responsible planning, design, and public stewardship must prevent."
cities  shannonmattern  2019  sanfrancisco  siliconvalley  nyc  washingtondc  seattle  amazon  google  apple  facebook  technology  inequality  governance  libertarianism  urban  urbanism  microsoft  jenniferlight  louisemozingo  margareto'mara  fredturner  efficiency  growth  marginalization  publicgood  civics  innovation  rebeccasolnit  gentrification  privatization  homogenization  susanschwartzenberg  carymcclelland  economics  policy  politics  richardwalker  bayarea  lisonisenberg  janejacobs  robertmoses  diversity  society  inclusivity  inclusion  exclusion  counterculture  cybercultue  culture  progressive  progressivism  wealth  corporatism  labor  alexkaufman  imperialism  colonization  californianideology  california  neoliberalism  privacy  technosolutionism  urbanization  socialjustice  environment  history  historiography  redevelopment  urbanplanning  design  activism  landscape  ruthasawa  gender  sexuality  openspace  publicspace  searanch  toronto  larenceferlinghetti  susanschartzenberg  bobbiestauffacher  careerose  stuartrose  ghirardellisqure  marionconrad  illustration  a 
7 weeks ago by robertogreco
Toronto built a better green bin and — oops — maybe a smarter raccoon | The Star
"After the city unveiled its ‘raccoon-resistant’ bins, some feared the animals would be starved out. Journalist Amy Dempsey was examining just that when her reporting took an unexpected path — down her own garbage-strewn laneway. Had raccoons finally figured out how to defeat the greatest human effort in our “war” against their kind? An accidental investigation finds answers amid the scraps."
animals  multispecies  morethanhuman  intelligence  toronto  2018  human-animalrelations  human-animalrelationships  raccoons  wildlife  nature 
september 2018 by robertogreco
Acclaimed Toronto author Austin Clarke dead at 81 | Toronto Star
"But he was leery of taking Canadian citizenship, acquiring it only in 1981, explaining later that “I was not keen on becoming a citizen of a society that regarded me as less than a human being.”

Indeed, Clarke’s observations of the splintering of Canadian society in the ’50s and ’60s gave voice to a new version of a country in its earliest stages of becoming.

“Austin wrote our multicultural moment before we even had a language to describe it,” said Rinaldo Walcott, a professor at the University of Toronto and a longtime friend. “He was an astute observer of those social dynamics, and he was a critic of it as well.”

Clarke was bluntly critical of the endemic racism he encountered both here and at home, in Barbados, a colonial British outpost where he attended Anglican schools before coming to Canada. ‘Membering, his lyrical memoir published last year, recalls with vivid detail his daily struggles with discrimination in an uptight city of not-so-long ago.

In it, he writes of living “in the atmosphere of great physical fear, of the expectation that a policeman might shoot me — bang-bang, you’re dead, dead — of being refused the renting of a basement room, or an apartment in a public building, that I would find myself standing noticeably longer than other customers at a counter in Eaton’s store, at the corner of Yonge and College Sts., that I might be thrown out, sometimes physically, from a restaurant, or a nightclub, as Oscar Peterson was, and face the embarrassment of being told by a barber that he does not cut niggers’ hair. This is my Toronto.”

Yet in private, friends speak of a generous, passionate spirit filled with an affection for simple pleasures in life: A love of cooking, of conversation, and of music. But he was also a complicated man, whose fiery passions around issues of inequity seemed at times to chafe with his conservative Anglican beliefs.

“If you were going to have a real relationship with Austin, you had to be prepared to move nimbly,” said the author Barry Callaghan, a decades-long friend and literary colleague who in 1996 published The Austin Clarke Reader through his imprint, Exile Editions. “He was a worldly fellow, a man of elegance, a man of conservative principles, but at the same time, he could be engaged with people that most conservatives wouldn’t let into their house.”"



“When I think of special dinners here, it was also Austin that said grace,” he said. “There was no one like him, because there could be no one like him. There were just too many cross-references in his personality. He was singular.”
ausinclarke  2016  canada  toronto  race  racism  multiculturalism  life  living  conversation  grace  cross-references  worldliness  elegance  conservatism 
june 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
analysis about cabbies & uber in toronto (with images, tweets) · pangmeli · Storify
"touching on technological progress as a natural disaster, uber as walmart in sheep's clothing, cabbies' right to economic survival, the idea of guaranteed living wages, the problem with jobs, cabbies' anti-blackness, how race complicates our relationship to this issue, protesting as "PR", and more."



"uber users who see protesting cabbies as luddites fighting an already-lost war against a superior technology are missing the point

if technological progress really is like a natural disaster — faceless, inexorable, amoral — shouldn't we protect those dispossessed by it

the point isn't to reverse progress, the point is to protect a vulnerable class of workers amid a major technological shift

yes the traditional taxi system sucked, but that doesn't absolve us of responsibility, especially when we back-burnered the warning signs

cabbies' demands for taxi reform were ignored to the point of crisis — now we patronizingly inform them that 'lack of reform' is the culprit

why are we okay with consigning our cabbies to poverty & obsolescence? because the better tech 'deserves' the win? even over human lives?

it's the canadian way — squeeze immigrants (cab drivers, international students, chinese railroad workers) & then flick them off our fingers

maybe one day we can live in a world where everything is so efficient & convenient that all humans except tech CEOs are destitute

if the tech is going to put 11,000 torontonians' livehihoods at risk, it's not that they aren't ready — it's that the tech isn't ready

@torontodan @pangmeli That's why many techies/futurists also tend to be "basic income" proponents. We know autonomous tech coming very soon

nice point from @_divyeshM — if we want to let technology loose so badly, let's demand a guaranteed living wage https://twitter.com/_DivyeshM/status/674635351001010176

…"
uber  disruption  2015  economics  universalbasicincome  toronto  labor  race  walmart  jobs  taxis  technology  dispossessed  displacement  canada  responsibility  society  capitalism  obsolescence  vulnerability  ubi 
december 2015 by robertogreco
How do greenhouse gas emissions compare in cities around the world? — Hopes&Fears
"On the week of the COP21 climate summit, we ranked 13 urban metropolises with regard to their carbon footprints."
greenhousegasses  environment  emissions  sydney  losangeles  toronto  beijing  bangkok  london  nyc  capetown  madrid  tokyo  buenosaires  oslo  kathmandu  cities 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Rochdale College - Wikipedia
"Opened in 1968, Rochdale College was an experiment in student-run alternative education and co-operative living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It provided space for 840 residents in a co-operative living space. It was also a free university where students and teachers would live together and share knowledge. The project ultimately failed when it could not cover its financing and neighbours complained that it had become a haven for drugs and crime. It was closed in 1975."

[See also:

Rochdale College Tapes Part I
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2Wj_ZormPY

Rochdale College Tapes Part II
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bW9EnDnsT_U

Rochdale College Tapes Part III
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beFJ44d0xgA

High Society - Rochdale College [1of2]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8w72uUB4rUg

High Society - Rochdale College [2of2]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaimOfvMF4A ]
1968  1960s  1970s  colleges  freeschools  freeuniversities  toronto  canada  education  unschooling  deschooling  community  alternative  lcproject  openstudioproject  via:maryannecasasanta 
july 2015 by robertogreco
winter stations convert lifeguard posts into winter playgrounds
"sometimes toronto residents need to be prodded into the outdoors during long winter months. that’s why RAW design, ferris + associates, and curio teamed up to launch ‘winter stations’. the international design competition invited artists, designers, architects and landscape architects to re-image one of toronto’s most unappreciated winter-scapes. using the theme of warmth, competitors were challenged to turn lifeguard stations along toronto’s east beaches into whimsical pieces of wintertime public art. over 200 submissions were received, and the chosen five have repurposed the waterfront into a wintertime hub."
playgrounds  winter  season  toronto  design  architecture  2015  rawdesign  curio  downtime  reuse 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Outburst!
"Outburst! is a Toronto based movement by young Muslim women for young Muslim women addressing violence in our lives.'



"Outburst! is a movement of young Muslim women and allies addressing violence in our lives. We are based in Toronto with the support of the Barbra Schlifer Clinic.

Our Work Includes

• Education: with our peers, service providers, government
• Community based research
• Art based workshops & groups for young Muslim women
• Resource Development
• Individual counseling and safety planning"

[via this post: http://outburstm.tumblr.com/post/52822399500/a-friend-of-mine-says-that-one-defines-a-punk-as ]
activism  gender  religion  islam  violence  education  toronto 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Metafoundry 1: Black Start
"Last month, I was in San Francisco for a few days. Being in California, if you’re from the East Coast, just feels different, in a way that I've never satisfactorily articulated to myself, but then I find myself whooping when I first spot the Pacific Ocean as I cross the peninsula from SFO to Highway 1.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The wildest of wild West Coast beauty: that Mount Rainier, the greatest physical threat to Seattle, is celebrated and beloved."
seattle  washingtonstate  2014  westcoast  landscape  mountrainier  cascadia  beauty  debchachra  toronto  california  vancouuver  britishcolumbia  charlieloyd 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Compass Teens | Centre for Self-Directed Learning
"WHAT IS COMPASS?
Compass is a centre that helps teenagers live and learn without school by supporting teens to create a customized education based on their interests, abilities, and goals. We offer classes that run throughout the day, tutoring, mentoring, assistance with finding internships and volunteer opportunities, help with university admissions, and a safe and comfortable place for students to work and socialize.

OUR PHILOSOPHY: SEVEN PRINCIPLES THAT GUIDE OUR WORK AT COMPASS

1. YOUNG PEOPLE WANT TO LEARN.
Human beings are learning creatures. We don’t have to persuade babies to be curious and to seek competence and understanding. The same can be true of teenagers. Rather than trying to motivate teenagers, we support their basic human drive to learn and grow. Where obstacles – internal or external- have gotten in the way of this intrinsic drive, we focus on helping teenagers overcome or remove these obstacles.

2. LEARNING HAPPENS EVERYWHERE.
Conventional wisdom says that children “go to school to learn,” as though learning can only occur in places specially designed for that purpose. We believe that people learn all the time and in all kinds of places. It doesn’t have to look like school or feel like school to be valuable, and it’s not necessary to make distinctions between “schoolwork” and “your own hobbies” or “for credit” and “not for credit.”

3. IT REALLY IS OK TO LEAVE SCHOOL.
Many young people who are not happy in school – academically or socially – stay because they believe that leaving school will rule out (or at least diminish) the possibility of a successful future. We believe that young people can achieve a meaningful and successful adulthood without going to school. We’ve seen it happen, over and over again.

4. HOW PEOPLE BEHAVE UNDER ONE SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES DOES NOT PREDICT HOW THEY WILL BEHAVE UNDER A VERY DIFFERENT SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES.
School success or failure is not necessarily a predictor of a child’s potential for success or failure outside of school. An unmotivated student may become enthusiastic and committed after she’s left school. A student who doesn’t thrive in a classroom environment may become successful when allowed to learn through apprenticeships or in one-on-one tutorials. When we change the approach, the structure, and the assumptions, all kinds of other changes often follow.

5. STRUCTURE COMMUNICATES AS POWERFULLY AS WORDS – AND OFTEN MORE POWERFULLY.
It’s not enough to tell kids that we want them to be self motivated, or that we want them to value learning for its own sake, if the structure of their lives and their educations is actually communicating the opposite message. Voluntary (rather than compulsory) classes, the ability to choose what one studies rather than following a required curriculum, and the absence of tests and grades all contribute to a structure that supports and facilitates intrinsic motivation and self-directed learning.

6. WE SHOULD MOSTLY STRIVE TO “MAKE POSSIBLE” RATHER THAN “MAKE SURE.”
Most of the time, adults working with young people can’t truly make sure that young people learn any particular thing – learning just doesn’t work that way. A group of adults can decide that all fifth graders should learn fractions, but when it comes to each individual child’s genuine understanding and retention, we can’t actually make it happen or guarantee that it will happen. As adults, what we can do, however, is try to make things possible for young people – provide access, offer opportunity, figure out what kind of support will be most helpful, do whatever we can to help navigate the challenges and problems that arise.

7. THE BEST PREPARATION FOR A MEANINGFUL AND PRODUCTIVE FUTURE IS A MEANINGFUL AND PRODUCTIVE PRESENT.
Too often, education is thought of in terms of preparation: “Do this now, even if it doesn’t feel connected to your most pressing interests and concerns, because later on you’ll find it useful.” We believe that helping teenagers to figure out what seems interesting and worth doing right now, in their current lives, is also the best way to help them develop self-knowledge and experience at figuring out what kind of life they want and what they need to do or learn in order to create that life. In other words, it’s the best preparation for their futures."

[Via a search via mention by: http://constanthappiness.com/ ]
compassteens  northstar  toronto  schools  lcproject  openstudioproject  self-directed  self-directedlearning  cityasclassroom  unschooling  deschooling 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Site 3 coLaboratory
"Site 3 coLaboratory is a 2,000 square foot member-run makerspace in a shed down an alley in Toronto’s west end. We are dedicated to making, teaching, learning and thinking about the intersection between art and technology. We make amazing things, and we will teach others to make amazing things, too.

The vision for the Site 3 coLaboratory is to have a space that will promote a four step cycle of create – display – teach – inspire.

• Create: A workspace which provides members with access to tools and equipment for working on projects. We presently have an electronics lab with soldering equipment, a CNC laser cutter, a full metal shop, industrial sewing machines, and welding equipment.

• Display: A gallery space for hosting regular events where members can display and promote projects.

• Teach: A classroom space for hosting regular events where members and guests can share their skills and learn from each other.

• Inspire: Site 3 exists to develop a community of people interested in making awesome things and promoting the entire cycle.

As a member-run organization, in addition to having access to the space, members have the responsibility of keeping it going: running classes, helping with fundraisers, gallery nights, and other events, and working on community projects.

Site 3 is a registered Ontario non-profit corporation (Site 3 coLaboratory Centre for Art and Technology, Ontario Corp. 1806341). We are looking for people to get involved, participate in this process, and help create and maintain this space."
art  diy  technology  site3  toronto  makerspaces  openstudioproject  via:timmaly  lcproject 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Critical Making Lab
"The critical making laboratory is a shared space for opening up the practice of experimentation with embedded and material digital technology to students and faculty in the Faculty of Information. The lab provides tools, materials, and training for building devices such as wearable computers, RFID systems, ubiquitous computing networks, and other physical computing technologies. However, while the critical making lab organizes its efforts around the making of material objects, devices themselves are not the ultimate goal. Instead, through the sharing of results and an ongoing critical analysis of materials, designs, and outcomes, the lab participants together perform a practice-based engagement with the pragmatic and theoretical issues around information and information technology. Physical computational objects are increasingly part of libraries, museums, and information environments more generally. The lab serves as a novel space for conceptualizing and investigating the critical social, cultural, and political issues that surround and influence the movement of information processing capability into the physical environment."
toronto  canada  design  criticaldesign  theory  internetofthings  ubiquitouscomputing  computing  making  makers  physicalcomputing  rfid  openstudioproject  iot 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Publication Studio
"We print and bind books on demand, creating original work with artists and writers we admire. We use any means possible to help writers and artists reach a public: physical books; a digital commons (where anyone can read and annotate our books for free); eBooks; and unique social events with our writers and artists in many cities. We attend to the social life of the book. Publication Studio is a laboratory for publication in its fullest sense—not just the production of books, but the production of a public. This public, which is more than a market, is created through physical production, digital circulation, and social gathering. Together these construct a space of conversation, a public space, which beckons a public into being.

Currently there are eight Publication Studios, in Portland (run by Patricia No and Antonia Pinter), the San Francisco Bay Area, CA (run by Ian Dolton-Thornton, with sage advice from Colter Jacobsen), Vancouver, BC, Canada (run by Keith Higgins and Kathy Slade), Toronto, Ontario, Canada (run by Derek McCormack, Alana Wilcox, and Michael Maranda), Boston (run by Sam Gould), Portland, Maine (run by Daniel Fuller and the Institute for Contemporary Art), Philadelphia (run by Robert Blackson and the Tyler School of Art), Los Angeles (run by Sergio Pastor, Matthew Schum, and Lizzie Fitch), and Malmö, Sweden, run by Ola Stahl. To contact one of the Publication Studios, click on its name on the home-page of this site."
art  artists  books  diy  publishing  portland  oregon  bayarea  sanfrancisco  vancouver  britishcolumbia  toronto  boston  maine  philadelphia  losangeles  publicationstudios  selfpublishing  ebooks  publication  self-publishing  publishers  bc 
february 2013 by robertogreco
Border Town
"I’ve always loved that the ethnic neighbourhoods in Toronto aren’t just informal constructs. The street signs that mark neighbourhoods send a paradoxical but clear message: We are all strangers here. We all belong here."
bordertown  borders  neighborhoods  ethnicneighborhoods  strangers  immigrants  immigration  canada  toronto  2011  debchachra 
october 2012 by robertogreco
Mapping the World's Most Seductive Shrines to Coffee - Claire Cottrell - The Atlantic
"We've rounded up some of the most beautiful purveyors of coffee around the world in virtual guide form, meaning not only have we included the eye candy you know and love, but we've also added addresses and handy links to Google Maps."

[Little Nap Coffee Stand - Tokyo, Japan]
2012  toronto  switzerland  basel  porto  portugal  silverlake  hungary  busapest  brooklyn  bluebottlecoffee  sanfrancisco  oregon  portland  tokyo  sweden  denmark  telaviv  paris  poland  nyc  losangeles  us  japan  architecture  design  intreriors  openstudioproject  glvo  srg  coffee  cafes  from delicious
october 2012 by robertogreco
General Assembly
"General Assembly is a global network of campuses for individuals seeking opportunity and education in technology, business, and design."

"We offer a wide variety of learning opportunities, from 90-minute classes to long-form courses. With new options added daily, your only limit is scroll speed."

"A whole may be greater than the sum of its parts, but it's our parts that make us great. From members and instructors to knowledge-seekers and partners, our community defines what we are: collaborative learning advocates, forward-thinking envelope-pushers, and capri-pant enthusiasts.

We're excited to serve as a base for so many creative, innovative, and passionate thinkers and makers. Here are some of the Member Startups in our Community: [list]"
schooldesign  learning  classes  coding  philadelphia  sanfrancisco  boston  berlin  sydney  toronto  london  coworking  nyc  startups  openstudioproject  lcproject  sharedspace  technology  design  entrepreneurship  education  generalassembly  from delicious
september 2012 by robertogreco
Ursula Franklin Academy
"Ursula Franklin is a small community of learners that offers integrated liberal arts and science packages, preparing students for academic programs at post-secondary level. The learning experiences offered at Ursula Franklin Academy will reflect not only the learning expectations identified by the Province and the Toronto District School Board, but also the students' own interests, developing a sense of responsibility and individual accomplishment. Integrated and cross-curricular future-oriented skills related to electronic research and conferencing, conflict resolution and problem solving, global and social justice issues, and student leadership will be emphasized."

[via: http://www.designculturelab.org/2012/07/17/from-the-plsj-archives-an-extraordinary-mind/ ]
[See also: http://theagenda.tvo.org/blog/agenda-blogs/qa-my-alternative-schooling-ursula-franklin-academy and http://www.ufacademy.org/v5/school/wednesday.php ]
cv  tcsnmy  responsibility  conflictresolution  learningculture  learningcommunities  education  learning  google20%  schooldesign  ontario  toronto  schools  ursulafranklinacademy  ursulafranklin 
july 2012 by robertogreco
‪Jane Jacobs: Neighborhoods in Action‬‏ - YouTube
"Produced by the Active Living Network, a project of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. An interview with legendary author, Jane Jacobs, who wrote "The Death and Life of Great American Cities." The film explores the role of the built environment in physical activity and public health."
janejacobs  urban  cities  toronto  seattle  urbanism  newurbanism  transportation  publichealth  classideas  from delicious
august 2011 by robertogreco
Department of Unusual Certainties
"Department of Unusual Certainties is a Toronto-based research and design collective working at the interstices of urban design, planning, public art, spatial research and mapping. The Department’s work is informed by one guiding philosophy - that the city is the physical manifestation of a long sequence of unusual certainties, each one simultaneously more unusual and yet more certain than its predecessor."
design  art  architecture  urban  media  toronto  cities  departmentofunusualcertainties  urbandesign  publicart  spatial  mapping  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
Small Wooden Shoe: Upper Toronto
"Upper Toronto is science fiction design proposal to build a new city in the sky above Toronto.

Imagine a city resting on the Bay Street towers or the CN Tower as a walk up restuarant.

Once Upper Toronto is finished, Lower Toronto will be abondoned and turned into a combination of national park, farmland and intentional ruin.

This is, of course, a terrible idea.

But it’s a terrible idea that allows us to imagine a new city. To ask what would happen if, knowing what we now know, we could start fresh.

While clearly infeasible, it is important that all the proposals that make up Upper Toronto are good ones, even if forced relocation to the sky is not.

This has to be a city that we, the people planning it, want to live in."
toronto  uppertoronto  activism  green  speculativedesign  design  architecture  urban  urbanplanning  cities  timmaly  jacobzimmer  designfiction  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
Marshall McLuhan Walking Tour now on Layar | Spark | CBC Radio
"A few weeks ago, Spark launched a Marshall McLuhan Walking Tour featuring downloadable audio guides to help you explore some of the places and people that influenced McLuhan.

After the audio tour launched, we received an email from Brian Sutherland, wondering if we’d be interested in an augmented reality version of the tour. ”Of course!” we said.

So now, thanks to Brian’s hard work, you can explore the McLuhan Walking Tour using your mobile device. He’s created an augmented reality layer for the smartphone application Layer. Simply download the Layar application (available for iPhone, Android, and some Nokia phones), then follow this link on your phone (or search for “McLuhan” within the Layar app)."

[See also: http://www.cbc.ca/spark/mcluhan/ ]
marshallmcluhan  walking  tours  layar  augmentedreality  toronto  ar  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
Subtle Technologies | where art and science meet
"“subtle technologies brings people together to promote wonder, incite creativity and spark innovation across disciplines”

Subtle Technologies is a gathering of artists, scientists, technologists, engineers and the general public. We share cross-disciplinary ideas, explore new technologies, showcase creativity and incubate the next generation of practitioners at the intersection of art, science and technology."
design  technology  art  architecture  science  events  toronto  subtletechnologies  crossdisciplinary  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crosspollination  innovation  creativity  from delicious
may 2011 by robertogreco
melaniemcbride.net » Melanie McBride
"Toronto-based early adopter, educator & digital culture specialist who writes, teaches & researches emergent literacies & learning. In 2010, Melanie joined Ryerson University’s Experiential Design & Gaming Environments (EDGE) lab team, where she is currently researching & writing about children’s learning in gaming environments and virtual social spaces. Melanie is also at work on a book about digital literacies and the hidden curriculum of emergent learning & education. Melanie has taught secondary, post-secondary, industry, alternative, at-risk & adult education. When she is not writing and researching she can be found raiding in World of Warcraft or tending her crops in Minecraft."

"Research Interests: Social justice, situated informal learning, gaming/game culture, MMOs and multiplayer games, virtual and persistent worlds, transmedia, remix and maker culture, Open technology, Open education, critical pedagogy, critical theory, hidden and null curriculum, privacy"
games  education  melaniemcbride  toronto  teaching  learning  gaming  play  situationist  situatedlearning  criticalpedagogy  criticaleducation  open  opentechnology  informallearning  transmedia  mmo  wow  unschooling  deschooling  lcproject  tcsnmy  situatedinformallearning  socialjustice  criticaltheory  privacy  simulations  digitalliteracy  emergentcurriculum  emergentlearning  hiddencurriculum  minecraft  from delicious
may 2011 by robertogreco
Upper Toronto | Quiet Babylon
"Upper Toronto is a science fiction design proposal to build a new city in the sky. The CN restaurant might be ground level, or imagine a city sitting on top of the Bay Street towers. When Upper Toronto is finished, all residents of will be relocated upwards and Lower Toronto will transformed into some combination of intentional ruin, national park, and farmland.

This is, of course, a terrible idea. But it is a terrible idea that lets us imagine and perform about the kind of city we’d want if we could start fresh."
toronto  timmaly  design  cities  designfiction  sciencefiction  architecture  theater  engineering  urban  urbanism  urbanplanning  planning  policy  publicpolicy  development  from delicious
february 2011 by robertogreco
PCC streetcar - Wikipedia [via: http://twitter.com/agpublic/status/21516778254]
"The PCC (Presidents’ Conference Committee) streetcar (tram) design was first built in the United States in the 1930s. The design proved successful in its native country, and after World War II was licensed for use elsewhere in the world. The PCC car has proved to be a long-lasting icon of streetcar design, and PCC cars are still in service in various places around the world. …<br />
<br />
The F Market Line (historic streetcar service) in San Francisco, opened in 1995, runs along Market Street from The Castro to the Ferry Building, then along the Embarcadero north and west to Fisherman's Wharf. This line is run by a mixture of PCC cars built between 1946 and 1952, and earlier pre-PCC cars. (Although San Francisco had removed PCCs from revenue service when the city's light rail was transformed into the Muni Metro system in 1980, they had made occasional festival trips in the ensuing years before being returned to full-time service.)"
sanfrancisco  toronto  streetcars  pccstreetcar  transportation  masstransit  history  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
Foodprint LA: A Food-Shaped City by Sarah Rich and Nicola Twilley — Kickstarter
"Help bring Foodprint Project to Los Angeles!

Since the beginning of 2010, we have put on two extraordinarily successful events, first in New York City, then in Toronto. Both events—executed on a shoestring—brought together hundreds of people for dynamic conversations about food and the city.

In January 2011, we are planning to hold the third Foodprint Project event in Los Angeles, but we need your help. As with the last two events, we'll host an afternoon of panels on numerous topics, including school lunch, city food policy, restaurant entrepreneurship, community meals as public art, and the future of urban farming and food distribution."
losangeles  foodprint  foodprintla  cities  2011  nyc  toronto  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
Lauri Lyons: Toronto Rises as the New Capital of Cool
"...it's time to discover Toronto as the new capital of Cool.
canada  toronto  diversity  art  travel 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Half an Hour: Dumb Money or Dumb Coverage?
Stephen Downes takes down Newsweek's "Dumb Money" [http://www.newsweek.com/id/209962 ] analysis of education reform. Some great reference links in there too.
stephendownes  education  reform  newsweek  finland  toronto  canada  policy  us  germany  comparison  money  salaries  teaching  learning  schools  achievementgap  testing  assessment  classsize  technology  politics 
august 2009 by robertogreco
TheStar.com | Insight | How golden California sank into a black hole
"In the U.S. West, a nightmare has been realized. California's state machinery has ground to a halt. Construction projects have been suspended. The government is issuing IOU's in place of cash. Tax refunds have been postponed. State workers are forced to stay home.
2009  california  toronto  crisis  budget  economics 
february 2009 by robertogreco
In Toronto, cyclists form a first-of-its-kind union | csmonitor.com
"Believed to be the first of its kind, the Toronto Cyclists Union plans to offer insurance, roadside assistance, advocacy, and even an online dating service."
bikes  toronto  activism  organizations  unions 
june 2008 by robertogreco
Foxymoron: The global soul
[wayback: https://web.archive.org/web/20080113210554/http://citygirl.typepad.com/foxymoron/2007/01/lessons_we_have.html ]

"The country where people look like me is the one where I can't speak the language, the country where people sound like me is a place where I look highly alien, and the country where people live like me is the most foreign space of all. And though, when I was growing up, I was nearly always the only mongrel in my classroom or neighbourhood, now, when I look around, there are more and more people in a similar state, the children of blurred boundaries and global mobility."



"For a Global Soul like me--for anyone born to several cultures--the challenge in the modern world is to find a city that speaks to as many of our homes as possible. The process of interacting with a place is a little like the rite of a cocktail party, at which, upon being introduced to a stranger, we cast about to find a name, a place, a person we might have in common: a friend is someone who can bring as many of our selves to the table as possible.

In that respect, Toronto felt entirely on my wavelength. It assembled many of the pasts that I knew, from Asia and America and Europe; yet unlike other such outposts of Empire--Adelaide, for example, or Durban--it offered the prospect of uniting all the fragments in a stained-glass whole. Canada could put all the pieces of our lives together, it told me (and others like me), without all the king's horses and all the king's men."
picoiyer  travel  global  multicultural  losangeles  lax  toronto  society  identity  writing  books  globalism  ethnicity  human  cities  airports  homes  belonging  future  work  cosmopolitanism 
march 2007 by robertogreco
Anarchist U - Anarchist Free University (Toronto)
"The Anarchist U is a volunteer-run collective which organizes a variety of courses on arts and sciences. Most courses run for ten weeks, and meet once a week; there are no admission fees. The Anarchist U follows the tradition of free schools in that it i
activism  learning  education  free  future  innovation  networks  toronto  howto  alternative  altgdp  lcproject  universities  colleges  self 
january 2007 by robertogreco
velo-city
velo-city is a sustainable rapid mobility system for the City of Toronto.
cities  future  urban  transportation  bikes  planning  architecture  space  canada  toronto 
january 2006 by robertogreco
them.ca
"Them.ca, the flagship of the Foundation for Advancement of Young Urban Artists was founded in 1997 and has grown to over 30 emerging to established artists."
art  design  toronto  canada  community  web  internet  society  collaborative 
october 2005 by robertogreco
CULTURE HOLE - Popculture Links and Articles
"One guy named Mr. X runs around Toronto’s transit system in a bright yellow shirt, while three or more guys in red shirts try to find him using the clues he gives at every third stop he makes. The three detectives are coordinated by dispatchers who tel
communication  games  social  play  toronto  transportation  technology  gadgets 
september 2005 by robertogreco

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