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

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

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

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

City space and emotion: Affect as urban infrastructure

For a change of pace this week, I thought I’d write about affect in relation to the urban condition. Specifically I am going to focus on Nigel Thrift’s chapters on spatialities of feeling from his book Non-representational Theory: Space, Politics, Affect. Thrift begins the first chapter by characterizing cities as “maelstroms of affect,” and asserting … Continue reading City space and emotion: Affect as urban infrastructure

Fantasy Lands: 5 urban truths I learned at Disneyland

“This book … intends to establish Manhattan as the product of an unformulated theory, Manhattanism, whose program – to exist in a world totally fabricated by man, i.e. to live inside fantasy – was so ambitious that to be realized, it could never be openly stated.” – Rem Koolhaas, Delirious New York On July 17, … Continue reading Fantasy Lands: 5 urban truths I learned at Disneyland