WEEKEND READING: April 14-20, 2007
First item on today's Weekend Reading: I can be kind of absentminded sometimes. For example: forgetting that yesterday was Friday. There I sat in a wifi cafe in the Loop, waiting for friends, and trying to figure out what to blog about. Weekend Reading never even crossed my mind. Like I said: absentminded. So anyway, my apologies for the delay. And now:
Google Earth has added what they're calling a "Global Awareness Layer" that incudes features like An Atlas of Our Changing World (check out the Las Vegas overlays!) and the well-publicized interactive history of the Conflict in Darfur. This is a great example of how electronic mapping technology can be used to educate people about conflicts going on around the world--or in their own communities. Neighborhood action maps could be used to indicate dangerous areas in need of increased police presence, damaged or deteriorating infrastructure, empty lots and other community problems. This is considerably more small-scale than the Darfur map, but just consider the possibilities that tech like this has for empowering individual citizens. If you don't already have it, you can download Google Earth, free, HERE.
Speaking of Earth, tomorrow is Earth Day. Yay, Earth. (Image from www.msss.com)
And here's a link to a Wikipedia article about the "Triple bottom line" business philosophy. Sounds like a great way to incorporate the ideas of the market economy and the humane metropolis.
BLDGBLOG is, of course, one of the most delightfully cerebral blogs on the web. This week saw one of my favorite posts yet; focusing on an old interview with Paul Virilio, it draws a subtle parallel between Europe's post-WWII lanscape of fear and today's. The post is accompanied by haunting images of crumbling bunkers and, just in case you're not interested yet, includes this line: "War, in Virilio's formulation, was thus a kind of terrestrial reorganization – a reshaping of the Earth's surface; it was, among other things, landscape architecture pursued by other means." That's good stuff.
Brand Avenue featured a rather lovely essay on architectural context in the urban environment, using a striking City Hall extention in Cork as a sort of case study for how to properly insert modern architecture into an area not rich in the style.
I love benches. Theirs is probably the most egregious absence in American cityscapes. No matter where you go, there's nowhere to sit and relax or people watch...hell, most bus stops in the cities I've visited are bench-free. Here in Chicago, L platforms with more than one or two benches are a rarity. This article from Treehugger brings to our attention "guerilla benchers" in London, who do...well, after the intro there, probably exactly what you think they do. Now if we could just get those guys to start doing "installations" across the pond...
Everyone's favorite random links blog, Growabrain, features a post today entitled Architects in film. There are plenty of architecture/planning-related links to help you justify taking a lazy afternoon, including Mark Luthringer’s fascinating Ridgemont Typologies e-xhibit.
And finally, a short'n'sweet op-ed from the International Herald-Tribune about the important role that cities will be playing in the coming push to create a sustainable global community. Check that out here.