The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

by Yule Heibel on June 3, 2012

  • A really good, must-read post about rethinking the confrontations between Tea Party folk and smart growth urbanists.
    A lot of the talk is about “reframing the message,” which tends to focus too narrowly, I believe, on coming up with new words to say the same thing. Instead, maybe we should be talking about a reframing of perspectives, particularly from liberal handwringers who tend to be of the “why don’t these guys get it?” mindset.

    tags: smartgrowth urbanism urban_planning placeshakers cities growth sprawl outreach

  • David Byrne on bicycling. But I especially found this bit spot on:
    When I finished college, I wanted to live in the city, where the excitement was. Like a lot of other young people, I arrived in the city with no money and lived in glorious squalor; we spent most of our full, busy lives in bookshops, bars, tiny apartments and cheap ethnic restaurants. It was exciting and productive, but it wasn’t easy, and eventually we wanted life to be less of a constant struggle. We saw that people in other urban centers, especially in Europe, were finding ways to live with their cities rather than in spite of them. How could we do that?

    tags: david_byrne cycling bicycles nyc cities nyt

    Be aware of the insidious and unspoken lessons you learned as a child. To thrive in the world outside the classroom, you’re going to have to unlearn them.
    I thought #8 was the most dangerous thing you could learn in school:
    8. Days off are always more fun than sitting in the classroom.
    You are trained from a young age to base your life around dribbles of allocated vacation. Be grateful for them.

    tags: forbes school education socialcritique

  • Delightful: a place to linger.
    Then one day the son came home and said, “Hey Pops, my girlfriend wants to open a bar.” The father considered this gravely, but finally agreed. Bars were stinky and noisy and they sold liquor. But they also attracted people and besides the place was just sitting empty now anyway. The bar was opened, and lo and behold it became a Third Space: a place where poor young hipsters could go and hang their weary heads over cheap beer after a long day of yarn bombing, and also where the local shipping company guys enjoyed the jukebox. Before you knew it, alcohol was flowing freely, and the new locals and old locals were conspiring to illegally convert lofts into residential units and open food co-ops. It wasn’t long before the bar started serving food, and then one day the unthinkable happened – it opened a café next door with really good coffee and quirky flavors of scones….

    Look, I’m not telling this story to glorify bars as the ultimate third space intervention – I’m just trying to point out that bars occupy are particular niche in the place-making ecosystem. They are like the prairie grass after the fire: preparing the way for the scrub, and ending with the deciduous trees and their variegated canopy. They are hardy pioneers, taking root where not much else can sustain life.

    tags: third_places rooflines lingering_index cities vibrancy placemaking

  • Indeed: those attractive downtown neighborhoods aren’t very affordable anymore.
    These neighborhoods are the economic drivers of their cities, often accounting for a disproportionate share of public revenue relative to their land mass. But today, only the wealthiest among us can afford to live in them. That will remain the case until we create many more Dupont Circles – enough to finally bring the supply of walkable urban neighborhoods in line with the demand of all the people who want to live in them.

    These numbers all speak to a fundamental change in demand in our cities.

    “It wasn’t that many years ago that walkable urban places had a price penalty associated with them, not a price premium,” Leinberger says. “That’s the structural shift. And when you have a structural shift, it’s important to change your public policy to take it into consideration.”

    Those “walkable urban places” he’s talking about did not necessarily have people walking around in them 20 years ago (“Maybe they were running around because they were fearful of being mugged,” Leinberger says). These were the inner-city neighborhoods that middle-class city-dwellers abandoned decades ago. Over time, they deteriorated. They became the cheap places to live. And now that trend is reversing.

    tags: atlantic_cities urbanism gentrification affordability

  • Staggering.
    “The first time I was really able to look at all of these images,” he says, “the thing that jumped out at me the most was that the one commonality among almost all of these prisons was that there was a baseball field there. And the baseball field mimicked the form about these buildings as well. There was something very American about it when I first saw it.”

    tags: prison atlantic_cities images

  • Yep.
    In recent months, Dr. Jackson has released another scholarly book, an edited collection on the topic, called Making Healthy Places: Designing and Building for Wealth, Well-Being, and Sustainability (Island Press), and he is also the host of a four-part miniseries called Designing Healthy Communities, which will air on public television starting this week. The series, which features a companion book, is clearly meant to sway public opinion.

    “If we are going to change the way we build our communities, it has got to be done because of the demand of the citizenry—a demand that the average, very busy local political leader can understand,” Dr. Jackson says. “We humans are so adaptable that we look at the world that we are in and we think, It has to be this way. But everything around us was an idea in someone’s head before it was built. In large part, the idea behind the series is to alter what’s in our head.”
    In the mainstream media, the work of Dr. Jackson and researchers with similar interests has been pithily condensed to a variation of this eye-grabbing headline: “Suburbia Makes You Fat.” But his focus in Designing Healthy Communities is actually broader than that, with as much emphasis on our need for social connection and beauty as on our need for physical activity. (…)

    The series also laments the loss of a social contract in America, looking at places like Detroit, Syracuse, and Oakland, Calif., where crushing poverty or pollution have hampered or even dissolved once-thriving communities. (…)

    He also challenges the free-market, individualist ideology that has become popular in recent years. Communities and public health are things we build together, with the help of good planning and effective government, Dr. Jackson contends—even as companies that sell junk food, oil, cars, and sprawl pump money into politics and advertising to try to push society in the other direction.

    “The fundamental paradigm that nobody else matters but me is making us fundamentally unhealthy and unhappy,” he says. “This is a myth that has been foisted upon us by those that profit from this belief system.”

    tags: richard_jackson chronicle_of_higher_education sprawl cities urbanism socialtheory socialcritique

  • Some great ideas here:
    What does a Healing City (or town, or community) look like…and feel like? We propose eight dimensions of a Healing City. Use these as a guide to understanding and exploring the concept, and to assist in the development of your own interpretation of a Healing City.

    tags: cities healing_cities urban_planning

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

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