The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

by Yule Heibel on February 1, 2009

  • Christopher Hume asks if Torontonians (living along the largest river in Egypt?) can learn to love it – winter, that is. What I find particularly useful are the suggestions for …urban winter stations (for want of a better name). See highlighted bits.

    tags: thestar, christopher_hume, toronto, winter, urban_amenities

  • Mark Gorton, software entrepreneur, turns to urban planning (transportation, specifically), using opensource to revolutionize planning.
    You might call it a “P2P-to-people” initiative — these efforts to make cities more people-friendly are partly funded by people sharing files.

    That’s not the only connection between open-source software and Gorton’s vision for livable cities. The top-down culture of public planning stands to benefit by employing methods he’s lifting from the world of open-source software: crowdsourced development, freely-accessible data libraries, and web forums, as well as actual open-source software with which city planners can map transportation designs to people’s needs. Such modeling software and data existed in the past, but it was closed to citizens.

    Gorton’s open-source model would have a positive impact on urban planning by opening up the process to a wider audience, says Thomas K. Wright, executive director of the Regional Plan Association, an organization that deals with urban planning issues in the New York metropolitan area.

    “99 percent of planning in the United States is volunteer citizens on Tuesday nights in a high school gym,” Wright says. “Creating a software that can reach into that dynamic would be very profound, and open it up, and shine light on the decision-making. Right now, it becomes competing experts trying to out-credential each other in front of these citizen and volunteer boards… [Gorton] could actually change the whole playing field.”

    tags: wired_magazine, mark_gorton, open_source, local_government, urbanplanning, cities, limewire, transportation

  • Interesting docu-project by Richard Howe: photographing every street *corner* in New York City.

    tags: nyc, photography, richard_howe, street_scape, usage

  • Excellent resource on urban forests, benefits thereof.

    tags: rubbersidewalks, trees, urban_forest, reference

  • Article about American Solutions, “a national grassroots group based in Washington, DC, that was founded by former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich but describes its Internet effort as nonpartisan, is preparing to launch a site that will, at first, allow people to enter basic contact information on all local officials. Then future users can enter their full nine-digit zip code to find the local officials who represent them.”

    tags: wiki, local_government, open_source, politics, mit_techreview, american_solutions

  • Danteworlds, an integrated multimedia journey–combining artistic images, textual commentary, and audio recordings–through the three realms of the afterlife (Inferno, Purgatory, Paradise) presented in Dante’s Divine Comedy. The site is structured around a visual representation of Dante’s worlds: it shows who and what appear where.

    tags: literature, dante, multimedia, classics, learning, texas_university

  • From Wallflower dispatches.

    Note: no overhead power lines. Yay. (And this photo is from 1927…!) Also: no trees or plants on boulevard …hm. Not so yay?

    *But* – people put flower pots and plant baskets on their window sills. (Not visible in this picture, because it’s obviously not spring or summer; the subject is wearing winter clothes.)

    Greenery in the city: did the individual “green” her city first?

  • I was born in Duesseldorf’s Altstadt (Old Town), at home in an apartment house that looks like any one of the ones pictured here. There is a park across the street from 1 Bergerallee, and the Rhine flows nearby, flanked by a promenade/ park. But Bergerallee also has no trees or greenery, except for what residents provide in pots. It’s nonetheless more than tolerable.Note the wide, wide boulevards, perfect for summertime street furniture, cafes, children playing. How did Sander catch the city so deserted-looking, I wonder…?

    tags: photography, memoir, duesseldorf, berlin, august_sander

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

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kerstin February 2, 2009 at 11:40 am

Hi Yule,

thank you for your link to Wallflower Dispatches. By sheer coincidence, I grew up in Duesseldorf, too…

Sander worked mostly in Cologne and surrounding areas; if you research his photos more thoroughly, it’s surprising how often the old-fashioned faces are reminiscent of those you can still see today.

Enjoyed reading about your other finds.



Yule February 2, 2009 at 3:08 pm

Thanks for stopping by, Kerstin – I changed the link to refer back to your actual post (also added link to your site in the reference to Wallflower Dispatches). When I bookmarked the picture, I did it mostly because I’m familiar with Sanders’ work, but also because I was working on an article about the urban forest in Victoria, BC (where I live) – and the photo was a kind of “make me think” image, mainly because there is absolutely no vegetation in that streetscape at all! Quite amazing, really. (Someone should photoshop a flower onto the subject’s lapel…)
I’ve been following your blog because our mutual friend Betsy Burke told me about it – and I saw the interview you did with Betsy (very nice!), which I “twittered” and “facebooked,” too. (Betsy on the other hand did not put it on her facebook page – she’s too shy, maybe?)
You’re from Duesseldorf? Nice coincidence – it’s a beautiful city (imo), although I moved away when I was 3 1/2 (and the Altstadt, when I was born there, was kind of a seedy place, but I understand it’s totally gentrified now!). By the time I was 8, my parents, one of my sisters, and I had emigrated to Canada. I actually grew up in Victoria, and went to high school (Oak Bay) with Betsy, which is how we know one another.
Speaking of high school, I am in the process of leaving a long comment on your post, How to evaluate a child, which pushed all my buttons. I dislike most things about education “system.”

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