Hiatus Podcast: Beyond Participation: Insurgent Planning and Justice

While this blog is still on hiatus for a few months as I work on a big project related to it, here’s a podcast I produced for my planning theory course. I discuss a big idea in planning theory: where does justice come from when formal participation doesn’t cut it?

By the way, this was a class project – don’t expect any recurring podcasts in this space, unless this becomes wildly popular. Thanks to Jay Diederich for their help voicing the experts.

It uses the following music:
BLADE INTRO c# by mikepro
Link: https://freesound.org/people/mikepro/sounds/438921/
License: https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/

Terminal by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4478-terminal
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Hiatus: The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs

An ad for The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Credit: pdxcityscape on Flickr.

Written in 1961, The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs is a seminal work in urban planning. The work is a condemnation of orthodox planning, especially that based in the work of Ebenezer Howard and Le Corbusier. These ideas, Jacobs argues, are paternalistic and controlling, and lack any understanding of real cities. She also defines a new paradigm for urban planning, based in people and the complex truth of cities, which she sees as a “problem of organized complexity.” Throughout the work, she argues that solving the problems of urban life requires a more in depth understanding of the interactions of people and the built environment on every scale. Read more

The Farms of Detroit: Urban Agriculture in the Motor City

The Earthworks Farm in Detroit. Credit: Detroitunspun on Flickr.

Detroit has a long history of agriculture, from the French farmers who colonized the area and set up ribbon farms along the river to the Panic of 1893, which prompted Mayor Hazen S. Pingree to open empty lots for farming. With the growth of the auto industry, the city’s agriculture faded into the past. Now, as the city plans for shrinkage, a resurgence in agriculture is making its way through cracks in the urban fabric. Read more

Hiatus: Comparing 3 Smart Cities

Author’s Note: With my finals week closing in, I’ve had to once again push off my next major post. Once summer starts, I’ll start building up a backlog again, and have new posts for the rest of the year. Until then, here’s another piece I wrote for my Smart Cities class.

New Songdo City

New Songdo City, AKA Songdo International Business District (IBD), is a South Korean planned city begun in 2008.  The city was designed by an international partnership, led by two New York companies. The plan covers many distinct and occasionally contradictory goals. First, Songdo aims to be the first  “ubiquitous city,” with technology in every aspect of residents’ lives (Kshetri, Alcantara, & Park, 2014). It was also built near the Incheon International Airport as an aerotropolis, claiming to be “a 3 ½ hour flight to 1/3 of the world’s population” (Songdo IBD, 2015). Songdo’s developers also claim it is a sustainable green city, but it is clear the main goal is to be a hub for international business. Read more

Hiatus: Comparisons of Smart Cities

Author’s Note: Between my trip to Vienna and my general school work, I’ve run a bit behind on writing blog posts, so for this month I’ll be putting up a few things I wrote for my Smart Cities class, taught by Professor Alenka Poplin (from my various Vienna posts).

As smart city programs become more and more common, it is becoming necessary to understand them and recognize their successes and, perhaps more importantly, their failures. Studying any individual city can give some information, but real understanding comes from comparing these projects to each other. However, comparisons of such complex entities are not easy, and a lot of work has gone into finding ways to compare cities to various ends.

There are any number of reasons to compare smart cities: choosing the best place to live or build a business, finding ideas for new programs (and steps not to take), marketing success and revealing opportunities for growth, or just as an opportunity to academically study how these cities perform. Different needs and biases have necessitated differing comparison methods and results, from simple if opaque rankings to complex categorical analysis to individualized qualitative descriptions. Comparisons also vary in their scope, from massive worldwide studies to granular examinations of small categories.

Read more