Local Cities, Global Problems: Jane Jacobs in an Age of Global Change

Jacobs fought modernist urban planning’s “dishonest mask of pretended order,” and what concerns me today about cities is a corollary: Call it the dishonest mask of pretended localism.

Olafur Eliasson is Playing With Your Mind (Wired News)

Weather Project Artist Eliasson Brings Techie Installations to U.S. (link) For Take Your Time, a major new exhibition that opened September 8 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the internationally-celebrated artist Olafur Eliasson changed out the gallery lights, put mirrors on the ceilings, created a small fog bank, filled a room with a […]

The Dream Life of Toronto

Places may seem like physical things, but they come to life only when imbued with meaning and memories.

Living On the Network (Metropolis)

Objects should celebrate our connection to the digital world, not minimize it. (link) The week in January when Apple announced the iPhone, I went from an ecstatic reverie of secular futurism to feeling pretty let down. The problem wasn’t what the iPhone didn’t do, the “features” it lacked. The thing was thrilling—a beautiful object, crystalline […]

Rare Bird (The New Yorker)

For all its eccentricities, bird-watching is a respectable hobby, practiced by psychiatrists, kings, and forty-six million Americans. But plane spotting—which also entails tramping around swamps to watch flying objects—somehow lacks the same cachet.

Workers of the World, Unite! (Popular Science)

Realistic videoconferencing is the single most important development in the future of the workplace, and it’s already begun to arrive. Prepare to face the boss.

IDEO’s Urban Pre-Planning (Metropolis)

IDEO’s approach could be seen to further erode the idea of city-building as a democratic process (if it ever was) because of the way it applies the shiny language of marketing to the gritty mixed-up world of the city.

Radical Craft (Metropolis)

A Few Stories (and Podcasts) from the SourceMetropolis captures the conference that explored the craft in architecture, technology, fashion, science, and more. (link) “Radical” means edgy, out there on the fringe, but it can also mean root, or even effecting fundamental changes in current practices. Over two days in March at the Radical Craft conference […]

Videoconferencing Gets Real (BusinessWeek)

With the “Halo Room,” DreamWorks Animation and HP have taken virtual meetings into a new world of high-definition shared space

Suicide Watch

The New York Times, Arts & Leisure, 3/20/2005Timeline The board of directors of the Golden Gate Bridge recently voted to explore installing a barrier that would jeopardize the bridge’s least welcome claim to fame: its status as the world’s most popular place to commit suicide. That decision was the result of a distinctively San Francisco […]

House Keeping (Saturday Night)

At Heritage Estates in Markham, Ontario, Historic Homes Find New Life In A Subsidized Postmodern Subdivision. Their Rescuers May Save A Few Bucks — But Are They Really Saving the Past? Markham, Ontario, used to be an agricultural community. Now it grows subdivisions. They shoot up from the fields like corn in July — old […]

Hybrid Place: The Experience of the Local and Remote

“Why do precisely these objects which we behold make a world?” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden (A research paper submitted to the Graduate Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto.) 1.  Phenomenological Beginnings Discussions about place in geography often begin with the notion of here, and this one is no exception. Here, […]