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

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

Communication and the City conference: report from Seoul

This past June I was in Seoul, South Korea for the Communication and the City conference. The event was held at Yonsei University and co-sponsored by the Yonsei Communication Research Institute and the Urban Communication Foundation. It was a truly international conference, with participants hailing from around the world. Speakers included academic researchers, architects, urban planners, … Continue reading Communication and the City conference: report from Seoul

The unreal urbanism of Pokémon Go

Earlier this month the mobile-app game Pokémon Go was released in the U.S., and the game has been ubiquitous ever since. Aside from being a sudden pop culture phenomenon, the game's success poses some significant implications. First of all, this is clearly a breakthrough moment for augmented reality. Pokémon Go is not the first augmented reality game, … Continue reading The unreal urbanism of Pokémon Go

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

Wound Culture and Public Space: Mark Seltzer’s concept of the pathological public sphere

Mark Seltzer: Serial Killers (II): The Pathological Public Sphere Critical Inquiry, Vol. 22, No. 1 (Autumn, 1995), pp. 122-149 Seltzer’s essay on serial killers and the pathological public sphere immediately calls J.G. Ballard to mind. Eventually Seltzer does cite Ballard, but it is in reference to Ballard’s Atrocity Exhibition, a selection that renders the author’s omission … Continue reading Wound Culture and Public Space: Mark Seltzer’s concept of the pathological public sphere