The Fair City part 2: Aesthetics of Urban Order and Disorder

Urban agglomerations have taken many forms and been understood in a variety of ways, but density and difference have long been understood as definitive aspects of cities. From the earliest urban settlements and historical cities, the urban condition has been contrasted with rural settlements as sites of man-made chaos opposed to natural harmony. In his … Continue reading The Fair City part 2: Aesthetics of Urban Order and Disorder

The Fair City part 1: Aesthetics of Urban Order and Justice

In his book The Uses of Disorder, Richard Sennett valorizes the uncontrolled events and heterogeneous populations of cities as creating environmental conditions necessary for healthy personal development and the maturation of open and engaged worldviews. Published in 1970, the then 25-year-old Sennett was writing in the immediate wake of urban riots following the assassination of … Continue reading The Fair City part 1: Aesthetics of Urban Order and Justice

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

Hiroki Azuma’s General Will 2.0 and Urban Planning

The Japanese cultural critic Hiroki Azuma has contributed some of the most inventive contemporary propositions for the use of information and communication technologies for democratic practice. In General Will 2.0 (2014), Azuma argues that democratic ideals should be “updated on the basis of the realities of information society” (p. iii). Simply stated, the proliferation of … Continue reading Hiroki Azuma’s General Will 2.0 and Urban Planning

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

Community engagement: setting a standard

I used to live one street over from the Penn Plaza apartments, one of the last affordable housing complexes in Pittsburgh's East Liberty neighborhood. The other low income rental units and high rise housing towers, built as part of sweeping urban renewal projects starting in the 1960s, have all been demolished and replaced with market-rate apartments … Continue reading Community engagement: setting a standard

Transit transitions: Thanking the bus driver

Last week two topics seemed to predominate in my news browsing: end-of-the-year "best of" film lists, and the Pittsburgh Port Authority's bus service changes. I didn't see many new films this year, so most of the titles on the critics' top ten lists were unknown to me. One film title that kept appearing on the year-end … Continue reading Transit transitions: Thanking the bus driver

Songdo U-city: a smart city visit

While in Seoul, South Korea this summer I had the opportunity to visit Songdo City, one of the most comprehensive smart city developments in existence. Located about an hour-long train ride from Seoul, Songdo is located in the Incheon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ) near Incheon Airport. As part of a Korean Free Economic Zone, Songdo … Continue reading Songdo U-city: a smart city visit

Trump and the rhetoric of urban order

I rarely weigh in on national politics on this blog, and this post is not intended as an endorsement or a denunciation of any candidate. Although this post responds to recent remarks made by Donald Trump, I'm not interested in joining the pile-on critiquing his overall rhetorical style or campaign message, which seems overly easy … Continue reading Trump and the rhetoric of urban order