The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

by Yule Heibel on February 12, 2012

  • Lovely essay from 2006, Paul Goldberger on Jane Jacobs:
    Jacobs was never as eager as Mumford for acolytes, though she ended up with plenty of them, and she saw right through many of the things that were presented as consistent with her views. She didn’t even have much patience with the New Urbanists, whose philosophy of returning to pedestrian-oriented cities would seem to owe a lot to Jacobs. But she found the New Urbanists hopelessly suburban, and once said to me, with a rhyming cadence worthy of Muhammad Ali, “They only create what they say they hate.”

    What Jane Jacobs really taught wasn’t that every place should look like Greenwich Village, but instead that we should look at places and figure out their essences, that we should try to understand what makes cities work organically and to think of them as natural systems that should be nurtured, not stymied. I think of her less as showing us a physical model for cities that we need to copy and more as providing a model for skepticism.

    tags: paul_goldberger jjacobs urbanism american_scholar

  • Interesting piece by Karrie Jacobs on the word urban’s changing meaning(s) …in Austin, Texas.
    Up until recently, I hadn’t taken “lifestyle centers” seriously as places or as proto-cities. But on this trip to outermost Austin, my attitude changed. I’m not sure whether it was the perceptual magic worked by Dresher, Benedikt, and Rotondi, who literally turned my point of view around, or the shock of returning to the Aloft late on a sunny Saturday afternoon and encountering Dogtoberfest, a full-scale street fair for dogs with booths selling artisanal biscuits and doggie portraits, and a costume parade. I showed up just as hoards of people were leaving with their tutu-wearing pets. Suddenly, I understood what I was seeing. While The Domain and its ilk are not replacements for real cities, they are genuine urban places. They’re a conscious remix of the twentieth-century mall and the postwar subdivision, for a generation that wants absolutely nothing to do with either.

    tags: metropolis_magazine karrie_jacobs urbanism austin_tx

  • John Maeda on Twitter.
    Q: You’re very active on Twitter. In fact, you’ve said that your new book, Redesigning Leadership, is based on some of the “micro-posts” you’ve Tweeted about leadership and innovation. Why did you decide to start using Twitter?

    A: First and foremost, I think of myself as an artist and designer, and I’m also the president of a college. Being the president of a college, your role is to be the authoritative leader. I own that and I embrace that fully, but at the same time, as an artist, I want to express my creativity in some shape or form. I can have a show once a year somewhere in the world and that’s okay, but every day I have to make art somehow, and making art is about taking emotion and making it into something. I found that using Twitter gives me the chance to have a gallery online where I can share different thoughts that I’m forming and thinking and struggling with. Also, I have very little time, so I use little micro-minutes to just summarize something and put it out there.

    tags: john_maeda risd creativity smartplanet interview

  • Interesting Jan.2012 op-ed by Jeff Jahn in the Portland Tribune. Jahn is an independent curator and critic.
    Since the mid-’90s, artists and designers have emigrated to or stayed in Portland for very specific and often moral reasons. In a nutshell, it is because Portland is the first U.S. city to grow out of the adolescent attitudes of America in the second half of the 20th century. The laundry list: non-car-reliant transportation, green thinking, proximity to nature, a very non-1 percent-centric civic attitude, high-tech savvy and a permissive attitude that was essentially humanistic rather than purely capitalistic.

    In other words, the original Occupy Portland started around the mid-’90s by artists and has only gathered steam since. Think of artists as canaries in the coal mine of civilization — it is a tough job, but it’s very important to watch what they do. Artists bring immense cultural cache, even jobs. Ultimately, they redirect our attention, giving us a new aesthetic and conceptual compass. Then they export those ideas in distilled, compact creative endeavors.

    No city owns its artists, but a city can choose to (either) support or take its artists for granted.

    To be overly simplistic, Portland became a 21st-century leader because it rejected both of the 20th century’s main models: Manhattan’s top-down corporate verticality and LA’s car-driven suburban sprawl. Instead, as a more 19th century-style city of shopkeepers and artists (defined by our citizens more than institutions), we should own the title and take care to not become complacent.

    tags: portland jeff_jahn artculture socialcritique

  • Introduction to Jarrett Walker’s book, Human Transit: How Clearer Thinking About Public Transit Can Enrich Our Communities and Our Lives. Excellent points. Eg.:
    Transit debates also suffer from the fact that today, in most of our cities, most of our decision makers are motorists. No matter how much you support transit, driving a car every day can shape your thinking in powerful subconscious ways. For example, in most debates about proposed rapid transit lines, the speed of the proposed service gets more political attention than how frequently it runs, even though frequency, which determines waiting time, often matters more than vehicle speed in determining the total time a transit trip will require. Your commuter train system will advertise that it can whisk you into the city in thirty-nine minutes, but if the train comes only once every two hours and you’ve just missed one, your travel time will be two hours and thirty-nine minutes, so it may be faster to drive or even walk.

    tags: human_transit jarrett_walker transportation planning portland

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

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Canada February 14, 2012 at 5:13 am

I think that Human Transit is going to be soon a problem in some places in the world, because there are fat too many people at one spot, such as Japan or China.

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