Diigo Bookmarks 08/01/2008 (p.m.)

by Yule Heibel on August 1, 2008

  • At some level — perhaps because this article is about residential architecture in what looks to my eyes like an 80s “Dallas” (TV show) model (i.e., very expensive custom McMansions — emphasis on “custom” and “expensive”) — the article gives me a “yuck” reflex. At the same time, there are some links and points I need to take a closer look at, and try to think about this in terms of urban design vs. in terms of very privileged people having shrink sessions with architects by commanding super-sized SFHs.

    tags: nyt, architecture, residential

  • I posted this to my Facebook “notes” already, but it’s such a great piece it needs to go on Diigo and the blog, too.

    A must-read, especially for “the rest of us,” analysis and commentary from Rebecca MacKinnon on what it was like at the July 08 FutureBrainstorm Tech conference at Half Moon Bay in California…

    Among the things MacKinnon discusses, there’s the question of what might happen to internet freedoms in some (engineered or actual) post i-9/11 “event”.

    And of course there’s the matter of “benevolent dictators,” which her title already alludes to. The “benevolent dictators are the guys currently running the major internet apps / venues. Reading MacKinnon’s article, I was reminded of early “cradle to grave” type paternalistic capitalists — for example, the people who ran Beverly, Mass.’s United Shoe Machinery Corporation, the first-ever company named in anti-trust suits way back in the very early years of the 20th (!!) century. Notably, not all mid- to late-19th and early-20th century capitalists fit the bill of the caricatured “Robber Baron” — some were “benevolent.” (Or paternalistic.) But when push came to shove, it didn’t last.

    Neither will this model?

    tags: rebecca_mackinnon, web_2.0, capitalism, business, democracy, socialcritique

  • H/t @Frymaster on twitter who pointed to this: brief (3+ minute) video clip of a guy describing his purchase on eBay of an old 50s style motel sign, and his outrage (and sadness for the state of our visual / signage world) when he learns what low quality crap will replace the old sign. He is SO right…

    tags: design, signage, visual_pollution

  • Ryan Avent argues a perspective against NIMBYism here, which never occurred to me before: that “the biggest problem with public involvement and development is that some of the biggest beneficiaries of new development have no seat at the table–those who’ll be living at to-be-constructed residences. Even if you bring all neighborhood stakeholders in, educate them, and get their opinion (eliminating squeaky wheel bias), you’re still not getting the views of all interested parties.” He continues as follows:

    “However the planning process addresses public participation, policy should begin with a pro-density bias to reflect that fact that other things equal, developments will always be less dense than is socially optimal. That’s because the people who would like to be residents of an area but aren’t benefit from development but have no political say in the matter.”

    Got that? In ciites, you should plan for optimal density (because that’s ecologically efficient, too), but the NIMBYs will argue against density, and they will make those who want to move into the neighbourhood pay the additional cost of keeping density *below* optimal levels. As Avent puts it, “we need to determine whether the burden is on current homeowners to pay for the right to exclude additional residents, or if the burden is on non-residents to pay for the right to live there. Current policy is de facto the latter.”

    tags: nimbyism, urban_development, density, affordability, the_bellows, ryan_avent

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