Posts Tagged: Cities

Brutalism's Bullies

In late April, the city of Baltimore issued a certificate of demolition for the Morris A. Mechanic Theater, prevailing in a lengthy quest to destroy one of its most unique buildings. With a character somewhere between a stone-age helmet and a concrete cog, the nearly fifty-year-old building’s assertive structure has earned the affection of a small number of enthusiasts who embrace its almost oppressively functional style of architecture—and almost no one else. The theater, designed by the revered and often imperiled architect John Johansen, will be replaced by a condo.

The story of the Mechanic has become overly familiar. Brutalism, a muscular and monumental architectural style [...]


The Dull Rich Death of American Cities

"Now comes plutocratisation: the middle classes and small companies are falling victim to class-cleansing. Global cities are becoming patrician ghettos. In 2009, says [Columbia University's Saskia] Sassen, the top 1 per cent of New York City’s earners got 44 per cent of the compensation paid to its workers. The 'super-prime housing market' keeps rising even when the national economy collapses. After Manhattan, New York’s upper-middle classes are being priced out of Brooklyn. Sassen diagnoses 'gradual destruction.' Global cities are turning into vast gated communities where the one per cent reproduces itself."

This is why I like my theory that "Game of Thrones" is actually set in the future [...]


We'll Die The Way We Lived: The Arcology Dream Is Over

Conservative millionaire entertainer and peddler of conspiracy theories Glenn Beck is building a city-state, "an entirely self-sustaining community called Independence Park." I can't wait to visit, it sounds like it will be very welcoming to all kinds of Americans.

He's on the right track, though. So are the seasteaders. And the gun-hoarding survivalists of all stripes. And those of us who are interested in reviving the New York City Secession Movement. (Our plan is to secede and then, uh, magically raise the city by 30 feet. Still working on details there, do check back.) But yes. The coasts will drown, or the United States will disband, or World [...]


Beirut, "Santa Fe," And The New Movie "Bombay Beach"

Do you like that guy Zach Condon's band Beirut? I sure do. He wrote a very nice new song recently (with especially nice horn parts, as you might expect), and played it in Norfolk, Virginia on Monday. (It's funny that a band named after city makes a song named after a different city. Beirut has done this before, though with a less famous city for the song. Some other band must have done it, too. But can't think of any other examples. Does Boston have a song called "Helsinki?" Did Berlin ever cover Seger's "Katmandu?") Oh, Beirut has a new album coming this summer, which is [...]


Where Money Still Works

According to a government dataset analyzed by Planet Money, "Real Personal Income for States and Metropolitan Areas, 2008-2012," U.S. currency goes further in Danville, Illinois, than in at least three hundred and fifty-five other American cities. Thirty thousand dollars there is more like thirty-five thousand dollars.

Here are some other facts about Danville, Illinois, in case you are considering moving there because ten dollars barely covers cost of a Chipotle steak burrito in New York City these days, and that's not even with guac:


American Cities I'd Prefer To See Get Blown Up In The Movies Instead of New York

30. Providence

29. Little Rock

28. Des Moines

27. Houston

26. Olympia

25. Cincinnati

24. Fargo

23. Omaha

22. Albuquerque

21. Louisville

20. Orlando

19. St. Paul

18. Las Vegas

17. Denver

16. Seattle

15. Memphis


What Do You Mean Atlantis Is Not The Coolest Fictional City?

Is it because Atlantis is not in fact fictional that it is only ranked at no. 25 on Complex's list of the 50 Coolest Fictional Cities? I don't see any other way that that place doesn't crack the top 5. At least! Regardless of my quibbles (also, I would argue that Tupac's "Thugz Mansion" is not a city, but, you know, a mansion) the list is great fun.


America's Top Ten Least Pageview-Garnering Cities

Using a complicated algorithm which takes into account hugely-popular Internet lists like the 10 Worst Places to Live in America and America's Smartest (and Dumbest) Cities and American Cities Ranked by Size of Men's Schlongs, we can determine: which are America's very least interesting, most inoffensive, most averagely endowed, least pageview-garnering cities?


The Tragic Life of Ugly Birds

Outside my third-floor window, in a narrow, leafy lane of Bandra West, a suburb of Mumbai, a crow had got itself stuck in some leftover Christmas decorations that were hanging off a tree. One of its feet was caught in string and the crow was dangling in mid-air. As it became more aware of its situation, it became more frantic, wrapping the string around its foot more securely. I’m not an animal activist and crows are not likable but I could not watch it die a slow, painful, and terrified death.

It was too high up and too far away from my building for me to be able to [...]


Turn On The Dark

Would turning down office and building lights in the city during the evening actually make streets safer? Sure, why the hell not.


Richard Florida's Disclosure List

Richard Florida's academic clients like to call Creative Class a "think tank." But his company, Creative Class, actually calls itself a "global advisory services firm," which is correct. Apart from the corporate clients—Goldman Sachs, Citi Group, IBM—for whom they advise on how to reach the "creative class," there's work geared to developers and real estate folks, corporate services and "talent management." And then there's his other clients: cities and city-states, and their business-development corporations.

Now Florida is the "anchor" for the Atlantic's handsome new Atlantic Cities site, (as well as a senior editor for the Atlantic). So the publication—which looks good! Love that Atlantic!—doesn't have to bother [...]


Corsican Mint!

I became obsessed with Corsican mint a few years ago, after seeing a photograph of a courtyard garden, which-if memory serves-featured little more than ten or twelve large white stepping stones magically hovering above a translucent carpet of the Mentha requienii. While I had no desire to impose this kind of 'modern' aesthetic onto my own garden-which was already packed full of similar obsessions-I began to research. The plant, I quickly learned, has a preference for a 'climate zone' of 6 through 9-fairly warm– and though Washington Heights is technically a zone 6A, I find that plants do best if I treat the neighborhood as a zone 5. What [...]