The New Year started with a boom in Pittsburgh, and this period of calenderial transition portends more changes than usual. When I returned to Pittsburgh this past summer after an extended absence I had to steel myself for the changes wrought by the pandemic. It seemed unfathomable that a popular nightlife spot like Brillobox would … Continue reading Moving forward in Pittsburgh
On November 2nd Pittsburghers will elect a new mayor. Whatever the results, it will mark a post-Peduto era for the first time since I’ve lived in the city. I was completely caught off guard when Ed Gainey won the democratic nomination earlier this year. I had assumed that Peduto was a shoo-in for a third … Continue reading Pittsburgh 2021 Mayoral Elections
The following explores how notions of urban aesthetics and urban justice are implicated in contemporary concerns with gentrification and “equitable development.” The term “gentrification” was introduced by sociologist Ruth Glass in her 1964 book London: Aspects of Change. Glass coined the term from the English title “landed gentry,” denoting the land owning social class, to … Continue reading The Fair City part 4: Equitable Development & Urban Justice
In Urban Media Ecology news, several recent studies reported correlations between characteristics of the built environment and human health. A study from the University of Kansas (in my birthplace of Lawrence) found that "neighborhoods that motivate walking can stave off cognitive decline in older adults": The researcher judged walkability using geographic information systems — essentially … Continue reading Urban Communication: media ecology & infrastructure, neighborhood narratives, rhetoric & rebranding, and more
Writing for The Washington Post, Emily Badger argues that "it's time to give up the most loaded, least understood word in urban policy: gentrification": The definition matters, in other words, not purely for linguistic nit-picking, but because we seldom talk about gentrification in isolation. More often, we're talking about its effects: who it displaces, … Continue reading Gentrification: What’s in a name?
In a post at the Jacobin blog, Anthony Galluzzo considers how the mainstream media's "fucking hipster" show mocks hipsters in the service of capital: [Marxist geographer Neil] Smith offers a dry, but emphatically structural account of this process, which he first theorized in the late eighties with Soho and the Lower East Side in mind. … Continue reading Gentrification and ‘the fucking hipster show’; hostile architercure and defensive urban design
Following last month's post of David Graeber's views on "bullshit jobs," this Salon interview with Graeber discusses the failed forecast of universal leisure time: Right after my original bullshit jobs piece came out, I used to think that if I wanted, I could start a whole career in job counseling – because so many people … Continue reading Graeber on labor and leisure; the perils of hipster economics; and the educational value of MOOCs