Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Suburban Tourists

Fantasies of European communities seem to be guiding the design of new suburbs in Shanghai. New suburban "towns" built to resemble such appealing sites as Venice (complete with canals) or Barcelona are being touted as a way to relocate residents and draw tourists out of the city. NPR has profiled Thames Town, Shanghai's version of the quaint English village, with Tudor architecture, red-uniformed security guards and the controversial reproduction of two existing Lyme businesses (the Rock Point Inn and Cob Gate Fish Bar). Of course, American suburbs have long been designed to invoke such fantasies of British life, but they usually stop short of the statue of Winston Churchill . . .

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Tokyo Show Windows

Fruit Crate Label Museum

In a continuing effort to expand the contours of urban communication, here is link to an online musuem of fruit crate labels, which were at one time a cutting-edge technology for branding in a particular social context.

"Back in the days of our grandparents and their parents, people did their produce-shopping at markets that were more like a farmer’s market than today’s grocery stores. The fruit and vegetables would be displayed in their shipping crates somewhere near the railroad tracks, probably under a big shed. Each crate would have a label (up to a foot square) showing the name of the packer, and a colorful design to differentiate the brand."

These labels continue to say a lot about typography, iconography, and long-lived cultural narratives of ethnic identity, consumption, freedom, and gender.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Metapolis - Micro - Urbanism

This event is coming up this Saturday in San Francisco. It explores the relationship between technology and the sidewalk.