The City, a State of Mind?

“The city is a state of mind,” writes Robert Park in 1915. If this is true, can we assume the city is no longer confined to geography, and thus able to exist in any location? The city isn’t the only state of mind. According to rapper Clyde Carson, California is also state of mind. Although … Continue reading

A Funny Thing Happened to Me on the Way to Taramani

A funny thing happened to me on the way to Taramani. I lost my research focus, met up with a bunch of film producers, and then re-found my theoretical direction! Over the past three months, I’ve been looking at the history and development of Taramani, a sum 2,000 acres of quasi-public land in South Chennai. … Continue reading

Iconic Secular Traffic Calming

It is dusk and the full moon gives a quiet glow to the street. The daytime noise of vehicle traffic is replaced by the gentle chaos of pedestrians feeding into the street to converse with neighbors. We are on an architectural walk through the streets of Velachery. At the junction of two residential streets is … 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

Victorian Seaside Kitcsh Revival

As Bloomberg sets out to make Coney Island a year-round attraction through capital investments (, 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” (, I would argue that it was Coney Island’s combination of carnival seediness  and … Continue reading

Detroit: Is that you, friend? [Part III, Dequindre Cut]

Since NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan has come into office, more than 200 miles of bike lanes have been installed (, a particularly daunting task considering the city’s density and street congestion. Detroit on the other hand has miles of open space for pedestrian-friendly walkways and bike lanes. But Detroit is the Motor City, and … Continue reading

Detroit: Is that you, friend? [Part II, Heidelberg Project]

If Detroit has any tourist destinations, Heidelberg is one. What began as an attempt to address the socio-geographic reality of Detroit through artistic means has since become a cultural commodity. In 1986 Tyree Guyton chose to comment on the ever increasing racial segregation, abandonment, and poverty that characterized his street (Heidelberg) for over 18 years. … Continue reading