Moving forward in Pittsburgh

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

Anthropocene Imaginaries: Climate Fiction as Communication Infrastructure

Early reviews for Adam McKay’s new film Don’t Look Up are out, and they are decidedly mixed. This new movie seems to continue McKay’s trend of real-world-oriented comedies that engage with current socio-political events. McKay has transitioned from broad comedies including notable collaborations with Will Ferrell to a series of based-on-a-true-story/ripped-from-the-headlines entertainments. His films adopt … Continue reading Anthropocene Imaginaries: Climate Fiction as Communication Infrastructure

Metaverse Madness

Late last month Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company was changing its name to Meta Platforms Inc., or simply Meta for short. The timing of the announcement led many commentators to interpret the re-branding as an attempt by Facebook leadership to direct attention away from the leaked documents and whistleblower testimony that were … Continue reading Metaverse Madness

OpenStreetsPGH 2021 Hazelwood

Since 2015 OpenStreetsPGH has closed selected Pittsburgh streets off to vehicle traffic several times each summer. Organized by Bike Pittsburgh, the events are sort of outdoor festivals that open up a few miles of city streets for walking, cycling, and other forms of non-motorized transit. I’ve always wanted to attend, but during each of the … Continue reading OpenStreetsPGH 2021 Hazelwood

Smoke Signals: Buda’s Wagon and Infrastructure Terrorism in Nashville

“The car bomb, in other words, suddenly became a semi-strategic weapon that under certain circumstances was comparable to air-power in its ability to knock out critical urban nodes and headquarters as well as terrorize populations of entire cities. [...] It is the car bombers’ incessant blasting-away at the moral and physical shell of the city, … Continue reading Smoke Signals: Buda’s Wagon and Infrastructure Terrorism in Nashville

Urban Change and Moving Images in London

I've recently returned from London where I attended a workshop on Urban Change and Moving Images hosted by the Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image. It was intellectually gratifying to engage with scholars of film, media, and cities over several days, as well as personally refreshing to indulge my lifelong passion for cinema. In addition to … Continue reading Urban Change and Moving Images in London

Public space, the public sphere, and the urban as public realm

This essay was originally written as part of my PhD comprehensive examinations. It was written to address connections between theories of the public sphere and concerns about public space, and to conceptualize the urban environment as a public realm.  Introduction Questions of space have always been implicated with the concept of the public sphere, but … Continue reading Public space, the public sphere, and the urban as public realm

Columbus wins DOT Smart City Challenge

The Department of Transportation has selected Columbus, Ohio as the winner of the Smart City Challenge. The winning city will receive a $50 million grant to fund the development and implementation of networked and "smart" transportation infrastructure. From the Columbus Dispatch: Columbus’ application includes several other transportation innovations, including an autonomous vehicle test fleet at … Continue reading Columbus wins DOT Smart City Challenge

Urban Comm roundup: Smart cities, hostile architecture, and placemaking

Smart Cities Writing for Forbes, Rich Karlgaard reports on the smart-city champions, i.e. the countries and companies poised to benefit from the smart city boom: I see three categories of winners. The first will be suppliers of digital technology, from high-speed telecom, cloud services and digital security to apps, for example, like Uber’s and Airbnb’s … Continue reading Urban Comm roundup: Smart cities, hostile architecture, and placemaking

Pittsburgh: driving transportation innovation

"Ride-sharing" service Uber recently announced a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University to establish a research center in Pittsburgh. As the Post-Gazette reported: Uber, a San Francisco-based ride-sharing company, announced a joint venture with CMU on Monday creating a robotics research lab and technology center at the RIDC Chocolate Factory along 43rd Street that is already … Continue reading Pittsburgh: driving transportation innovation