- First up is a link provided me by reader Caitlin, a radio program called Radiolab out of WNYC in New York that deals with emergence, or the way in which interactions of individuals create a higher order structure cognitively independent of any particular mind. The example most often used to talk about emergence is ant colonies, the way in which the colony forms a larger 'organism' based on interacting behavior of individual ants, independent of any ant 'mastermind'. Like the makers of this program, I'm of the mind that emergence is also a great way to understand cities. For example, this radio show talks about the way in which flowershops congregate together in cities. ("Traffic is everything.") Though its a bit depressing to think of ourselves as tiny ants running around willy nilly...
- My favorite sociologist Robert Putnam (Bowling Alone guy) has a new article talking about 'the downside to diversity.' His argument, as far as I can tell, is that homogenous neighborhoods are more likely to foster social capital then ones with a great deal of diversity, which seems pretty common sense to me. I live in a very diverse neighborhood, and people around here tend to 'turtle' (as Putnam says), and not talk to each other as much as people in more lily white places like St. Anthony Park or wherever. But, what I'm not reading enough is how segregation can also be bad for society as a whole.
- A nice link showing some maps of how the T.C. looked before they put the interstates in during the 60's and 70's.
- The ISLR had a nice op-ed in the Strib on how locally owned energy (ethanol, windmills) is better for local economies.
- On the other side of the river, the PiPress had some coverage of the St Paul Port Authority, and how it's been quietly redeveloping unused industrial land all throughout the city. Despite my reservations about Robert Moses, whose tool of choice was also the port authority, I've been a fan of most of the SPPA's work. For example, the recent Great Northern Railyard developmeny in my neighborhood.
- Urban sprawl is nothing new, according to this article on Angkor Wat.
- Two articles in the Strib on local urban bidness... First, the need for more benches for sitting... Second, are big box stores doing anything (anything substantial?) to fit in better to their neighborhoods? Judging by the Walmart on South Robert Street, I think not... I guess its better than an enema? (T.C. Bonus Question: Once you take away the fireworks and philanthropy, is Target really any better than Walmart? I keep saying 'no.')
- What Google Maps looked like one hundred years ago...
- Duluth rocks, and apparently someone finally noticed.
- This incredibly awesome event is happening today. Get thee to Nicollet Mall. (Guerrilla marketing at work...)
- And a friend of mine is launching a new wiki intended to produce a wiki-what-should-be, called Humane Earth. Feel free to edit it, vendettas and all.
- And finally, this is one of my favorite things to listen to lately: Okeh's Laughing Record. Check it out.
*** News Flash ***
I'm re-starting a previously recurring feature of Twin City Sidewalks, mostly due to laziness. It's called ***News Flash***, and involves me linking to things with varying degrees of pith.