24.7.09

***Sidewalk Weekend!***

Sidewalk rating: Suspenseful

Walking on sidewalks is a thrill a minute as storm fronts blow in and out like an asthmatic breathalyzer tester. Get your ticket to raindrops and drizzle and clouds and wind and humid sunshine today on the sidewalks of the Twin Cities!



[Como Park at night. Video fm. MPR]


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This video is one of many on display at the Walker right now in their exhilirating exhibit, The Quick and The Dead...



... It's a Belgian artist named Francis Alÿs pushing ice around the sidewalks of Mexico City, and it shows you one of the many ways in which sidewalk traces can be left behind. It also is the ultimate Sisyphus + pedestrian image.

I highly recommend the show at the Walker! You'll laugh, you'll cry.


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I drove up I-35 to Duluth last weekend, and passed a sign declaring that some orange cones were funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), aka. "the stimulus package".

Despite these occasional headlines, all reports suggest that the vast majority of the federal dollars spent these days are going to 'invest' in technologies that will be increasingly obsolete as gas continues to disappear and we continue to destroy our planet. James Kunstler seems more right every day.


In other words, this video pretty much perfectly illustrates the American way of life:





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This spoof perfectly captures the matter-of-fact bureaucratic tone that is omnipresent in planning and engineering documents.

I'd like to see similar suggestions: the Stone Arch Bridge sold on eBay to cover Minneapolis's budget deficit, Fort Snelling razed for a new Vikings stadium, the Mississippi River covered over and replaced with a new 8-lane freeway?


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This article from a Seattle indie paper is a nice statement of principles about density, and the need for smaller overall projects.

Plan on a smaller scale.

Double the grid density.

Build shorter, narrower buildings with smaller spaces.

Keep the first floors tall (12 feet) and flexible-use, so that they can evolve from residences to shops to offices to garages and back over the years.

Seek diversity.

Make it last.

Cities seem to always want giant complexes that will take up the entire block, huge development projects.

Diversity and intersting places, on the other hand, are far better served by many, many small developments. The same principles applies to big business v. small business. You're far better served by having a diverse economy made of many small, enterprising, and mutually-dependent compaines (San Francisco) than one dependent on a few giant conglomerations (Detroit).


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Trying to communicate while driving a car is inane You only have one horn, and nobody knows if you're honking for peace, Jesus, because you think some girl is attractive, or because you're majorly pissed off.

Much preferred:



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Here's an interesting way to make drivers more aware of pedestrians: make them nervous with crazy road lines on the side of the road.

Complete streets demands increasing the feeling of safety for all types of users. Ironically, increasing safety will mean making the drivers of cars feel more dangerous, and drive with more caution. It's kind of like what's happening with drivers and bicycles all through the TC, apparently.

Is this a paradox?


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Every time I've been to Boston, I've loved to hang out on my friend's back porches. These "three deckers" all seem to have big back porches that open up onto courtyards behind the houses.

It's part of the "vernacular archtiecture" of the Northeast. How can we create a policy landcscape that values keeping original structures around?


[A Boston three-decker. Img. fm. NYTimes.]


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I've talked about desire paths before, but these seem more desperate somehow.


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Marx takes on cars and cities as two sides of the same coin.



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A good bike typography.


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Three photos for you!

1) A crit in Uptown. (Img. CarbonSilver.)



2) New York -- Miles Davis, 32, of 881 10th Avenue, a trumpeter now appearing in Birdland, 52nd Street and Broadway, was arrested after fighting with patrolman Gerald Kilduff, who had ordered him to move from crowded sidewalk. In the scuffle, Davis was hit on the head with a blackjack for which a St. Clare's ambulance had to be called. (1959). (Img. Tsupen.)


3) A sidewalk shack by the art collective Hardland/Heartland, at Franklin and Lyndale. (Img. fm. StuffAboutMinneapolis.)

1 comment:

Alex B. said...

Re: crooked lines - Imagine an experimental DOT! Maybe someday MnDOT will revise its mission from facilitating the profits of real estate speculators to creating a transportation system that functions for all Minnesotans.