"“All great art is born of the metropolis.” - Ezra Pound
A great little snapshot on urban serendipity from the NY Times that looks at the accidental 'curation' of spaces that the urban environment yields, such as the framed view from the subway to the Brooklyn Bridge. Perhaps the uniformity of the grid is part of the magic, as the NYT also talks about the 200th Anniversary of the Manhattan Grid, along with the exhibition at the Museum of the City. And speaking of paving here in Portland, local group Depave got some nice coverage on OPB for their continued work on rolling back pavement in the city. As for making money on the urban agriculture and gardens - a study in Vancouver, BC finds that it is still a challenge to make a living wage farming, even in the city. Perhaps we can lobby for urban farm subsidies?
Nate Berg at the Atlantic Cities sums up Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne's year-long project to explore his city through its literature, and some of his conclusions on where we stand. As quoted in the Atlantic article:
"“What the books have suggested to me,” Hawthorne argues, “is that we really don’t have – and need – a new framework for understanding the city at this moment in its history as it undergoes this transition.”A review of his most recent reading of 'Los Angeles Plaza: Sacred and Contested Space' can be found here - which is an interested exploration of the role of space, and the role of social status, on the way we interpret urban histories. Related, and probably not big news, but people are less enamored with the suburbs, and are re-urbanizing, in this case, Philadelphia along with living in more dense types of housing.
More on Occupy, with the recent flurry of Global and US occupations bringing into question the 'limits' of how public spaces are. As mentioned in the story:
"The Occupy Wall Street movement showed there are often limits to how long one can stay in the town square of a “free” state to express one’s opinion. Various kinds of force were used to get people out of New York’s Zuccotti Park."An interesting article from The Dirt on the $50 million!!!!! dollars of planning documents and designs for the Orange County Great Park, which has failed to yield much in terms of output. It brings into question the time-scale on these massive endeavors, and how much needs to happen to create a 'park' in a traditional sense to satisfy some - while allowing space (and budgets) to evolve over decades.
Finally, a new competition from the Land Art Generator Initiative asks how renewable energy can be beautiful with a planned site at the Freshkills Park - which has a similar time-scale to the Great Park above. And Freshkills may be an apt model for Mexico City, who is planning to close their massive landfill... And for the squeamish, a new report from the National Research Council changes the tune of reclaimed wastewater (aka toilet to tap) from a 'option of last resort' to a viable strategy that poses no more health risks than other sources. Drink up!