The word heritage use to make me yawn. I associated it with visiting my grandparent’s house as a child where the perfectly preserved 1950s interior was equally dull as it was formal. Almost all socializing took place in the dimly lit front living room; I’d stare out the window, to the street, and wonder how … Continue reading

Work Means Liberity!

Reading Mark Kingwell’s essay, “The Language of Work,” in last month’s Harper’s Magazine is an opportunity to break from the complexities of our current global crisis and return to a more simple argument. The purpose of his essay is to get at the essence of work, what it is, and why we should resist it. … Continue reading

Bad Architecture

Today while doing my transit research for the Miami TriRail System I came across Opa-Locka station. Interesting name, I thought as I zoomed into the station on Google Earth. Checking first for handicap accessible egresseses, I found an escalator concealed within a hideous concrete turret and an outer wall of paste-y, pastel-striped patterns. Meanwhile, the … Continue reading

Performing the Rehearsal: The Strip Tease of Modernity

Hegel changed the course of modern philosophy when he asserted that history, driven by changes in the ideals and values of a given people, is  contradictory by nature. Yet modernity for Hegel was characterized by a sense of universality, thus lending itself to a certain idealism which was soon shattered by Marx, who used Hegelian … Continue reading

Deep Sea Sovereignty

Sovereignty is about power, boundaries, and sight. To possess we must define what it is we are possessing, to define we must see. How can one truly govern what one cannot see? 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a story about one man’s attempt to possess the unpossessible, which, on a surface level, is all … Continue reading

Simulated History: Sidewalks and Streetscapes

One of my favorite moments of urban life is walking down a quiet street and listening to my shoes hit the pavement. The sound is a softer version of the clop clop I associate with horses and I’m inevitably transported to the 19th century; I imagine walking on down an uneven, dimly lit sidewalk that … Continue reading

Totalitarian Zoning for Public Health

  The relationship between city zoning and public health has historical origins in the slums of 19th century industrial cities. Although planning’s preoccupation with physical health was dormant for much of the later part of the 20th century, recent  discussions surrounding food security, supermarket deserts, and access to better food has caused many planners to … Continue reading

The (Vulgar) Global Subject

“Imperialist expansion is not just differentiated but differentiating; the calculation of “difference” is part and parcel of the strategies of imperial expansion.” In his chapter on “Toward a Vulgar Theory of Imperialism,” architectural historian Arindam Dutta examines the various spokes that comprised Britain’s wheel of imperialism. His argument: nothing is inconsequential. Even the simple act … Continue reading

Chennai Subway

The Chennai subway runs roughly from the Northeast Chennai Beach Station to the Southwest area of Guindy. But to call it a subway is misleading; there’s nothing underground. The sun passes through the train car and settles on the dust of vintage ceiling fans. This tired train service moves throughout the city like a good … Continue reading

Victorian Seaside Kitcsh Revival

As Bloomberg sets out to make Coney Island a year-round attraction through capital investments (www.economist.com), many worry that the original character will be lost. Known for its historic cultural kitsch, or what Coney Island non-profit calls the “democratic cultural golden age” (www.coneyisland.com), I would argue that it was Coney Island’s combination of carnival seediness  and … Continue reading