The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

March 25, 2012 at 10:55 am | In links | Comments Off
  • I agree with Bruce Michael Conforth here:
    QUOTE
    The sociologist Robert Jay Lifton has written about the “Protean Man” who is more comfortable with images than with words and with fragmentation than with wholes. This, of course, is nothing more than the fruition of McLuhan’s “the medium is the message.” It is our mediums that have become the driving forces in our culture and society, not the ideas they transmit. The Internet is reshaping not just the way we communicate but reprogramming our neurological makeup in ways we can’t even yet imagine. We want, indeed NEED, tiny instantaneous fragments of information: sound bytes, word bytes, info bytes, image bites… the instantaneously and ever changing visual imagery ushered in by things like MTV, computer screens, split screens, virtual reality, etc. And the speed by which things appear, go viral, and then are gone almost precludes the possibility of there being a subculture that lasts anywhere nearly as long as ones in the past have.

    And do you know what made the Beats, Hippies, and Punks possible more than anything else? There were no distractions. There were three television networks, no cable or satellite. There were only a few radio stations, and they still featured live, local djs. There were no video games, nothing digital, no iPods or mp3 players… there weren’t even cassette players for most of those times. There were no VHS tapes or DVDs or CDs… you wanted to see a movie you had to go to the theater. No Internet of course. No computers of any kind. There were no ATMs or credit cards… no cell phones… there weren’t even xerox machines until the 1970s. The only things we had were each other. The only things we could do was hang out together, talk, have sex, do drugs, and make our own music and art. Yes, there were all the cultural influences I mentioned earlier but the only way to share them all was face to face real human interaction.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: flavorwire hipsters trends futurismo

  • Learned about Openwear via this article.
    QUOTE
    Long before Silicon Valley began dominating the innovation landscape with its ambitious, creative engineers and designers, there was, of course, the Italian Renaissance. A recent event in Italy, World Wide Rome, placed the rich history of Italian design ingenuity in a contemporary context. It focused on start-ups and entrepreneurs with new business models based on digital fabrication and open-source production–and with the do-it-yourself trend of today’s “makers movement” in mind.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: inspiration italy design

  • Not sure I’m ready for this…
    QUOTE
    The built environment, Boltuch and his colleagues believe, is in need of a social network of its own. So today they’re launching one – called Honest Buildings – that could connect people to the physical spaces where we live and work, the landlords (or companies) that own them, and the tuck-pointing guys and architecture firms who want to compete for our business.

    The scope of the site is a bit mindboggling; as of this morning, you can type in any address in America on Honest Buildings and generate a page devoted to it. Imagine, in other words, if Facebook came pre-loaded with a basic profile for every name in the phone book.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: socialmedia buildings architecture cities atlantic_cities technology honest_buildings

  • Some great ideas for public seating here:
    QUOTE
    The boring benches installed in urban areas around the world are purely functional: you take a seat for a little while, and then you leave. But why shouldn’t public furniture be visually interesting, comfortable and even interactive as well? These 14 chairs, benches, loungers, tables and more often double as art objects, with designs that consider a wide range of needs.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: public_space seating benches urban_design cities furniture

  • I want smart windows on my house. I want a smart house.
    QUOTE
    On Thursday, New Energy Technologies announced a new complementary conductive wiring system that will transport electricity over glass windows laid out in a fine grid-like pattern that’s virtually transparent. United States Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) scientists collaborated on the technology.

    Architectural glass has can be found on many modern buildings. Apple has become renowned for encapsulating its stores in massive glass panels, and large glass windows have shrouded skyscrapers for decades. The business concept behind New Energy’s system is to retrofit these conventional glass structures.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: smartplanet windows solar_power energy glass

  • Amazing. It was news when British Columbia allowed 6-story wood-*frame* construction a couple of years ago. But *30* stories? Interesting, that this is coming out of Vancouver.
    QUOTE
    Architect Michael Green is designing a 30 story building constructed with wood in Vancouver and advocates for more tall wood buildings…
    UNQUOTE

    tags: architecture high_rise wood_frame_construction vancouver

  • The endangered middle class…
    QUOTE
    Several thousand years ago, Socrates and Plato warned that citizens who loved money above all would divide into rich and poor, with class war and mob rule the unhappy result. That’s a message Republicans still have a chance to deliver this election cycle. But it’ll take a change in the way they think about cultural politics to do it.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: atlantic_cities class_distinctions class politics cities

  • I think I knew this already. ;-)
    QUOTE
    People tend to think of specific individuals as having performance anxiety, but it may actually be a whole gender.

    A new study show that men’s cognitive performance declines if they will be told a woman will watch them. And that’s it. The woman doesn’t actually have to watch them and they don’t even need to see her for their cognitive functioning to suffer.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: psychology smartplanet gender women

  • This is fantastically interesting, especially in light of the recent fiascos around Mike Daisey and Malcolm Gladwell, both of whom seem to think that disrespecting journalism and factuality is somehow ok.
    QUOTE
    The book is a reprint of an essay about a suicide in Las Vegas that D’Agata submitted to the Believer along with text from the wildly extended and heated argument that then ensued between him and Fingal, his fact checker at the magazine. Things started off poorly. The now-infamous first sentence alone was riddled with errors. Here’s just one of them: D’Agata writes that there were “34 licensed strip clubs” in Vegas at the time of the suicide. Fingal’s research suggests there were only 31, and he asks D’Agata how he got 34. “Because the rhythm of ’34′ works better in that sentence than the rhythm of ’31,’” D’Agata replies, as if this were a fiction workshop. Things degenerate from there.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: atlantic_monthly fact_checking david_zweig journalism

  • As an aside: actually, there are people working on the idea of users owning their data – and selling it to companies.
    QUOTE
    The bad news is that people haven’t taken control of the data that’s being collected and traded about them. The good news is that — in a quite literal sense — simply thinking differently about this advertising business can change the way that it works. After all, if you take these companies at their word, they exist to serve users as much as to serve their clients.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: atlantic_cities privacy advertising

  • Article about popularise.com – sounds intriguing:
    QUOTE
    “We found a lot of the answers people were putting out were not directly answering our question, which is what do you want here?” Miller says. “It was ‘what do I want in my neighborhood?’”

    But this isn’t a bad result. If anything, the flood of random ideas reflects the fact that no one has been asking these people what they want at all. It’s like they’ve just been waiting to plead for a fitness center, and these are the first folks to come along remotely broaching the topic.

    Miller says one of the Popularise front-runners – a local bar manager who wants to open his own spot – was even offered a property two blocks down the street and $150,000 in build-out capital by another developer in the neighborhood, thanks to the display of enthusiasm on the site.

    “When we saw that it was like, ‘OK, this is not a zero-sum game on our property,” Miller says. “We should rethink of it as what do people want in their neighborhood?”
    UNQUOTE

    tags: atlantic_cities real_estate urban_development

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

March 18, 2012 at 5:50 pm | In links | 2 Comments
  • Corporate brand imagery as kudzu. Great points.
    QUOTE
    The logo-ing of our cities and neighborhoods is this process in reverse. Instead of borrowing the ambiance and associations of a place, the product infests it with its own characterless generica, diminishing and voiding out its authentic qualities. The omnipresent logos, like a kind of corporate kudzu, cover and conquer all.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: richard_florida atlantic_cities branding marketing cities advertising

  • I too have to admit that I don’t get the benefit allegedly bestowed by this donut (or “whitewall motorcycle tire”), either. In downtown Portland, Apple may tear down an existing retail building across from Pioneer Square and build in its place a one-story Apple Store. Downtown. Why, Apple, why?
    QUOTE
    While communities all up and down the Silicon Valley are trying to repair sprawl by replacing it with smart growth, Apple is actually taking a site that is now parking lots and low-rise boxes and making it worse for the community. Yes, it will be iconic, assuming you think a building shaped like a whitewall motorcycle tire is iconic, but it will reduce current street connectivity, seal off potential walking routes and, as I wrote some time back, essentially turn its back on its community. With a parking garage designed to hold over ten thousand cars, by the way.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: apple architecture atlantic_cities kaid_benfield corporatism

  • Fascinating article about how we perceive scale, the scale of the cities we live in:
    QUOTE
    We often have a certain sense of cities’ importance and size, but this is too often founded on a fairly parochial context; our perceptions of cities are based on other cities we are familiar with or that are around it, and we neglect to recognize how big or small cities really are.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: cities atlantic_cities scale

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

March 11, 2012 at 5:00 pm | In links | Comments Off
  • Dwight D Eisenhower’s interstate freeway plan did not intend for freeways to run through cities. Too bad that memo was ignored…
    QUOTE
    But Eisenhower never intended that the Interstates be built through densely populated cities. A memorandum of a 1960 meeting in the Oval Office, available in the archives of Eisenhower’s presidency, makes this crystal-clear:

    [The President] went on to say that the matter of running Interstate routes through the congested parts of the cities was entirely against his original concept and wishes; that he never anticipated that the program would turn out this way . . . and that he was certainly not aware of any concept of using the program to build up an extensive intra-city route network as part of the program he sponsored. He added that those who had not advised him that such was being done, and those who steered the program in such a direction, had not followed his wishes.

    The Secretary of Commerce and head of the Federal Highway Administration were in the room. (Thanks to urban transportation whiz Rick Hall for finding this memo.)
    UNQUOTE

    tags: atlantic_cities freeways highways eisenhower kaid_benfield transportation

  • An undoubtedly frightening article (or rather: an article reporting a frightening reality).
    QUOTE
    “The whole face of homelessness is changing, and a lot of that has to do with unemployment,” says Craig Billman, who was Michele’s case manager when she arrived at Maple Street and is now associate program director at the facility. “People from the professional ranks are becoming more prevalent. You’re seeing more first-time homeless than ever before.”

    That this is happening here, in the crucible of high-tech affluence, is a testament to the fact that it is happening almost everywhere in the country, part of a wave of suburban poverty that began in the 1990s and has accelerated since the beginning of the Great Recession.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: silicon_valley homelessness unemployment economy depression usa recession

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

March 4, 2012 at 9:30 am | In links | Comments Off
  • Brilliant “rant” (not really a rant, more like good old common sense)!
    QUOTE
    I am over members of my community putting pre-pubescent girls in a hijab when they are not even old enough to understand or give consent to this. I am over the fact that so many parents don’t understand that they are sexually objectifying their own daughter since the intention of the hijab is predominantly to conceal the sexual attraction of women from men.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: the_opinionista fundamentalism islamism opinion feminism britain muslim

  • Been following Susan Cain’s work for a while – this is a lovely TED presentation she gave in Feb.2012.
    QUOTE
    In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: ted_conference susan_cain introversion introverts

  • Brilliant article about Steve Jobs and Apple, by Evgeny Morozov. Here’s something to think about: Jobs as Henry Ford, radically changing the landscape (or: the internet) with his inventions and innovations…
    QUOTE
    On the surface, the car analogy seems flawless: both technologies allowed customers to do what they wanted, and boosted their autonomy, and gave them more choices about how to live their lives. But as any environmentalist, urbanplanning activist, or committed cyclist can attest, liberation was only one part of the impact that the automobile had on how we live, especially in America. Congestion, pollution, suburban sprawl, the decline of public transportation, the destruction of public space in the name of building more highways—these are only some of the less discussed effects of the automobile. Of course, the automobile did not have the same effects everywhere—compare how easy and pleasant it is to get around without a car in Portland versus Dallas—so simple appeals to technological determinism, or to the zeitgeist, or to the canonical myths about how the automobile would transform and liberate our culture, do not explain very much. Some cities and communities simply approached the automobile with the kind of philosophical sensibility that Jobs applied to his washing machine, and others did not.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: evgeny_morozov steve_jobs apple innovation

  • Fascinating history and analysis of the politics that have made Paris the political entity it is today. Conclusion:
    QUOTE
    We know from history that any institutional change in the governance of cities is a long and difficult process. Today, the issue is clear, the potential solutions are limited, and the months following the presidential election are a rare political window of opportunity. It will be fascinating to see if Greater Paris is able to organize itself to meet its challenges, if it will give itself a government appropriate to the ambition it needs to have for the future, or if it will continue to wallow in the gridlock of individual interests being put before those of the metropolis.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: paris stephane_kirkland amalgamation politics cities

  • Who would have thunk? Interesting video.
    QUOTE
    A city’s typeface. It’s not the first thing I think of when I imagine ways to make a city great, but in Chattanooga, Tenn. they make a strong case for the importance of having a custom typeface for the city.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: chattanooga typeface design urban_design branding smartplanet

  • Must-see.
    QUOTE
    The film, “Thinking Cities,” focuses on how cities are using Information Communications Technology (ICT) to start to come up with these solutions. It highlights interesting projects in cities like Boston, Seattle, and Stockholm where ICT is being used right now to address issues like waste, energy use, and civic engagement.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: cities geoffrey_west urbanization smartplanet

  • Not surprised, actually:
    QUOTE
    …this week, scientists revealed that adult women have ovarian stem cells that are capable of becoming eggs.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: smartplanet fertility women

  • 2009 article about Ziba’s (then-new) HQ, which I visited recently when I attended GOOD Ideas for Cities. It’s a knock-out space and building, very beautiful. I found the following passage intriguing, given the interest in ‘pinning’…
    QUOTE
    The workstations are situated amid an interlocking sequence of podlike meeting rooms connected by sliding doors. It’s in these rooms that teams spend most of the workday, pinning their inspirations and ideas to the walls. “At first they were looking at one big room for everything,” says Jeff Stuhr, one of Holst’s two founders. “But we suggested a sequence of intimate spaces that you could journey through.”
    UNQUOTE

    tags: pinning ziba metropolis_magazine brian_libby portland architecture design

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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