<<< Newsflash Friday >>> #23

Sidewalk Rating: Break out the shovel

Well, I'm a day late for Friday, but a nice new coat of snow has fallen and it feels like a fresh start. Last night surely sparkled with The kind of acoustic magic that I was talking about the other day. The quiet the city gathered slowly but with accumulating force until all you could hear was the sound of your own heart beating inside your hat. The glowing lights of downtown diffused into a vague haze, and the cars were gagged and slowed by rings of everywhite snowfall. Today is a day for a booted wander!

[My sidewalk this morning: before and after.]


This is kind of what I'm talking about, as this kid is having way too much fun...

... people can go play in the street and not worry about becoming speed bumps.


Here's a good plan for how to use stimulus money... Srsly!

This massive economic recovery, the journal claims, should not go to banks, who will just squirrel it away in their accounts, never to see the light of day. Artists have no bank accounts, and the money will be immediately be put in play in local art supply stores, musical instruments, studio rentals, PBR purchases, car repairs and bus fares that can generate jobs for coffee shop servers, bar tenders, and other economic stimulators.

This would have to work at least as well as all the TARP BS....


I really like the idea of 'yarnbombing', sneaking out into the city and discretely covering small bits of infrastructure with soft and colorful yarn.

Yarn Bombing is a blog about knit graffiti. It is written by two knitters, Mandy Moore and Leanne Prain, who live in Vancouver, Canada. In 2005, we met at a stitch and bitch. Mandy taught Leanne how to knit short rows and opened up a world of possibilities for her.

It's exactly the kind of small detailed surprise that makes walking around on sidewalks so fun and interesting.


Obama re-opened a federal department of Urban Affairs, and named a NYC planner to head the department. Even though the Federal Gov't has a strong track record for destroying US cities, I can't see how this could be a bad thing.


This Strib story was highly amusing, about a McCoy v. Hatfield situation in the old-school posh Lowry Hill neighborhood. Even though this has the NYT sort of lionize-WASPy kind of feel, it's nice to see a story about vandalism that isn't about the North Side.

In the meantime, bad things were happening to the Fogels. Their front lawn, plantings and a tree died, poisoned by a chemical. Their driveway was stained by a corrosive substance. Their Range Rover was twice scratched by keys. Even the big billboard displaying Jimmy Fogel's face on Hennepin Avenue was shot with a paintball.

Plus, there's this guy in an actual bowtie.


Crazy story about how rats run through cities, and what kind of difference it makes to have different sorts of urban design patterns in different towns.

This image on the right shows rat movement through either Grid (NYC) or 'organic' (New Orleans) cities morphologies.

Accdg to the researchers:

We've found that routes taken by rats and other members of the animal kingdom tend to converge at attractive landmarks, the same way people are attracted, for example, to the Arc de Triumph in Paris," says Prof. David Eilam from TAU’s Department of Zoology. “Our research takes the art used by humans to create their towns and cities and turns it back to the animal world for testing. We can look at how rats will react to a city’s geography to come up with an optimal urban plan.

It's probably not something you want to think much about, but it is another fascinating parallel between social animals and people.


Speaking of ANTs, here's a short bit from Where thinking through cities and science studies philosopher Bruno Latour...


Here's a song about roads and car mentality...

... Convenient Parking by Modest Mouse.


And finally, a photo triptych for you to look at:

1) A woman in a bubble on the streets of Paris -- h/t ffffound

2) Sunset on the Saint Paul campus of the U of MN -- h/t Reid Priedhorsky

3) Some British sidewalks after WWII, where people's sheep flocks comingled with rubble'd cities -- h/t Tom Sutpen

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

great job shoveling your sidewalk!