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Urban writer and author Jane Jacobs

Jane Jacobs Video

I was so pleased to come across this video recently on the website Grist—a nearly ten-minute film about creating healthy neighborhoods, narrated by the late, great urban writer and activist Jane Jacobs and produced by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. I've read Jacobs before (she is best known for her classic tome The Death and Life of Great American Cities) but I've never heard her speak. Here, in her later years, she endearingly discusses the impact on automobiles on neighborhoods and our health; how to create dignified places where people will be proud to live (and how to do it affordably); and why cities should provide places for skateboarders "to do their weird skateboarding thing."
April 30, 2012
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"Sustainism": the New Modernism?

Honestly, when the book Sustainism is the New Modernism: A Cultural Manifesto for the Sustainist Era (D.A.P. / Distributed Art Publishers, New York) first crossed my desk, I wasn't sure how to react. The book's graphic aesthetic was a bit cluttered but the concept of the book was intriguing—the authors Michiel Schwarz and Joost Elffers propose that "Sustainism" (a term they've coined to describe a new cultural movement related to sustainability)—is the "new ecology of our networked world." "Sustainism in the twenty-first century will be what Modernism was in the last," the authors state. It's "the confluence of globalization, the web, climate change, localism, media democracy, open source, environmentalism, and more," and "a collective worldview that stresses the interdependence among cultural and natural environments." The rallying cry is "do more with less"—in contrast to Modernism's ubiquitous "less is more." Here, Schwarz and Elffers talk about Sustainism (the book, and the concept) and why they think it's the way forward.
April 4, 2011
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Bunker Archaeology

Paul Virilio's classic book of wartime architectural history, Bunker Archeology, is finally back in print with a fantastic new edition from Princeton Architectural Press. The book had taken on the feel of something like an urban legend—something of which many had heard but few had directly experienced—so it's good to get our hands on a copy.
December 22, 2008
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