Friday, March 30, 2007

Participatory Urbanism

The Internet is crawling with social networking projects like Facebook, Myspace, and countless others that are organized around common interests. As Cass Sunstein, Lawrence Lessig and others have pointed out, to the extent that these projects allow individuals to focus on only the things of interest to themsleves, these kinds of social sites may lead to a diminished sense of connection with a broader public.

Eric Paulos (Intel Research Berkeley), Ian Smith (Intel Research Seattle), and RJ Honicky (UC Berkeley) recently announced an initative aimed at reconnecting individuals to the public they inhabit: "In the spirit of Urban Computing, Participatory Urbanism is the open authoring, sharing, and remixing of new or existing urban technologies marked by, requiring, or involving participation, especially affording the opportunity for individual citizen participation, sharing, and voice. Participatory Urbanism builds upon a large body of related projects where citizens act as agents of change. There is a long history of such movements from grassroot neighborhood watch campaigns to political revolutions. It is not a disconnected personal phone application, a domestic networked appliance, a mobile route planning application, an office scheduling tool, or a social networking service."

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

What Makes a City Smart?

For Carol Coletta, CEO and president of the nonprofit group CEOS for Cities and host of Smart City Radio, one of the four most important drivers of innovation and competitiveness is the Connective City.


Edward Ruscha's painting works on many levels as an exploration of the relationships among representation and life. The painting plays with the impossibility of representing sound in visual terms, the elements that affect communication, the role of commercial art and vernacular culture, and the blurring of sign and image. And some days can be best captured by OOF.

All Grown Up

The blog Brand Avenue had a recent post that brought together a variety of analysts who ponder the lessons of the gentrification of the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn.

On the Street

This blog offers a quirky view on street life in Japan.

The City is Here for You to Use

Proponents and enthusiasts argue that no domain of human behavior will be untouched by this transformation, but relatively little thought has been given to specifically how these changes might unfold at the scale of the city. How will the advent of a truly ubiquitous computing change our urban places - both the way they’re built, and the way we live them? In this new talk, Everyware author Adam Greenfield tries to wrap his head around this dynamic set of conditions, to clarify what’s at stake and to offer some potential frameworks for building humane and livable cities in the age of ambient informatics.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Andres Duany Gave Quite a Talk

A speech given by Andres Duany in 2002 has motivated business, political, and civic leaders in Atlanta to develop a proposal to spend $1 billion over the next trwenty years to bring life back to Peachtree Street. The proposal would create a street car system, bike lanes and a string of parks to create a world-class corridor similar to Michigan Avenue in Chicago. The funds would come from a special tax district. It is wonderful to see this kind of transformative vision, but the success of this kind of project always depends upon public input and striking the right balance between the interests of developers and residents of the city as a whole.