Diigo Bookmarks 07/18/2008 (a.m.)

July 17, 2008 at 5:33 pm | In architecture, links | Comments Off on Diigo Bookmarks 07/18/2008 (a.m.)
  • Fascinating essay by Kazys Varnelis, which takes as its jumping off point the potential discrepancy between designing for “hard” stuff (whether factories, industrial production, or …architecture/buildings) vs. designing for networked stuff and software and mobile technologies. After this initial set-up, Varnelis then quickly goes into describing some very specific site- and urban-intervention type projects that subvert the “hard” aspects of planning & building via software/ new technologies. The former points are not that difficult to address, using predictable interventions and affordances (see my notes/ annotations), but the latter are mind-blowing and difficult to contain within predictability.

    tags: varnelis.net, futurismo, architecture, urban_design, portals

Diigo Bookmarks 07/17/2008 (a.m.)

July 16, 2008 at 5:32 pm | In comments, newspapers | Comments Off on Diigo Bookmarks 07/17/2008 (a.m.)
  • Much to think on in this great interview by James Bash with Douglas McLennan, the founder of ArtsJournal. “Curation” is definitely my word du jour — I’ve seen it come up again and again recently, in relation to *very* different products and businesses (clothing & retail, for example).

    It leads me to think that “curation” is something that’s evolving out of “filtering,” which in turn was something that sort of / kind of evolved out of (or related to) “gatekeeping.”

    The latter always struck me as something almost hateful, in the sense that gatekeepers protected the various walled gardens to which access was limited or even forbidden. Gatekeepers weren’t there for me, they were there for “them.”

    Filtering in turn proposed the notion that users (me, we) should set their own parameters — it’s potentially democratic, anyway, provided we don’t let overlords filter for us. DIY filtering can be smart, letting us develop efficiencies in how we access and consume information. But filtering done by censors is bad.

    Curation can be equally two-edged (like filtering), but it now introduces another aspect: perhaps trust? Some sort of acknowledgement of expertise, or sophistication? Good curation, however, done on a digital platform, is open, accessible, democratic, and transparent.

    Perhaps curation is an open, acknowledged re-insertion of the human aspect — which “filtering” can strive to eliminate via automatic settings and controls.

    tags: crosscut, artsjournal, douglas_mclennan, blogging, business, curating, curation, filtering, hyper_local

Diigo Bookmarks 07/16/2008 (p.m.)

July 16, 2008 at 5:30 am | In canada, cities, links, urbanism | Comments Off on Diigo Bookmarks 07/16/2008 (p.m.)
  • Well, don’t say I didn’t tell you so:
    “Politically,” Miller continues, “cities in Canada don’t exist, especially at the federal level. As far as I know, this is virtually unique in the world. Throughout the world, federal and national governments invest in cities, but we don’t see that here. All cities in Canada are suffering from lack of federal spending.”
    This is so distressing, from where I’m sitting — because Victoria has the additional burden of being one of 13 municipalities in an urban conglomeration (the CRD), and has the additional burden of being a “lefty” NDP hold-out in BC Liberal Party-land. It shouldn’t BE this partisan, and yet it seems to be…

    tags: christopher_hume, thestar, cities, municipal_funding

Roland Tanglao blogs about his Fido questions, I left a comment

July 15, 2008 at 11:49 pm | In business, canada, cities, comments | Comments Off on Roland Tanglao blogs about his Fido questions, I left a comment

Ok, so I ranted (again) about the state of wireless in Canada, and how (to my mind) it connects with the urban development issues (and even public transit issues!) I feel strongly about.  But today was a bad day to get me on cell phone issues, since I just got a $60 bill for basically bupkes.  “Surfing” in a Walled Garden of WAP makes a goldfish bowl look extravagant.

Go read Roland’s post: Ordered my 16GB iPhone 3G today from Fido, will receive it in August | Roland Tanglao’s Weblog.  My comment is attached.

Diigo Bookmarks 07/14/2008 (p.m.)

July 14, 2008 at 5:32 am | In links, urbanism | Comments Off on Diigo Bookmarks 07/14/2008 (p.m.)
  • Have had this article open in a browser tab for days now — time to bookmark. Along with posts by CEOs for Cities, or Richard Florida, this article too points to the effect that gasoline prices are having on suburban housing, and on the “sudden” desirability of urban living. (Well, I say “sudden” because I’ve *NEVER* understood why anyone would want to live in suburbs instead of living in cities/ densely packed neighbourhoods where you just have to walk a block or two, or less, to find social activity…)

    From the article, QUOTE:
    “Expensive oil is going to transform the American culture as radically as cheap oil did,” predicts David Mogavero, a Sacramento-based architect and smart-growth proponent.
    Even though the area’s housing market has been wracked by price drops of 25% in the last year and one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country, Mr. Friedman says he already has sold nine of 28 town houses near downtown that he recently completed, and three more are under contract, “which is not bad considering the dismal state of the Sacramento real-estate market.”

    Mr. Morris, the developer, says the housing downturn is hurting the places that have the “dumbest growth. Smart growth works when the rest of it doesn’t.”

    tags: smartgrowth, wsj_opinion, urbanplanning, cities, suburbia, gasoline, cost_of_living

  • Article about the “Broadway Boulevard” project, which will take some of current automobile lanes and turn them into public seating/ parks and bike paths. The project stresses the importance of wresting public space back from cars, for public/ pedestrian/ non-vehicular use.

    “Broadway is not famous because there are a gazillion cars going through it,” she said. “We’re trying to have the public space match the name.”

    tags: nyt, nyc, broadway, traffi_calming, public_space, urban_parks, urban_design

FOCUS Magazine articles now up-to-date

July 13, 2008 at 6:18 pm | In DemoCampVictoria, FOCUS_Magazine, victoria, writing | 1 Comment

Yay me, and Scribd to the rescue…

The remaining three FOCUS Magazine articles are up. They are, in order:

  • Overdue: rethinking the library (May 2008) The February to March lockout exposed library board dysfunction. But perhaps it’s about time we thought about a new building, as well.
  • Let’s demo co-development (June 2008) The synergistic power of providing physical space for the airing of new ideas helps nurture the type of economic development advocated by Jane Jacobs.
  • Why a bowling green makes sense (July 2008) One of the key downtown blocks is being re-envisioned — unfortunately without a unique and quirky landmark.

The April 2008 FOCUS Magazine article is up

July 12, 2008 at 5:32 pm | In architecture, FOCUS_Magazine, victoria, writing | Comments Off on The April 2008 FOCUS Magazine article is up

Scribd works like a charm — it’s just I who am slow in getting these print articles scanned and then formatted into a single document for uploading!

Without further ado (but a bow to Richard Florida for title inspiration), here’s my April 2008 FOCUS Magazine article, Who’s your heritage?, which argues that even for heritage architecture, buildings need to earn their keep, not just look pretty.

Trying out Scribd.com, and getting my print articles online

July 12, 2008 at 4:56 pm | In FOCUS_Magazine, victoria, writing | 2 Comments

Ok, one down — or “up(loaded),” actually — and four to go…

Via the fabulous and easy-to-use Scribd, here’s an online PDF of my March 2008 article, published in FOCUS Magazine, Victorian Fables: Does Victoria have an urban planning blindspot?

I’m going to take another day or two to get the others up, alas.  First I have figure out how merge two separatly scanned pages into one document before uploading to Scribd.

Sometimes the simplest challenges manage to knock me sideways…

Hey, Canada (and Canadian telcoms), get your head around this: How Mobile Boosts Productivity

July 9, 2008 at 2:11 pm | In business, canada | Comments Off on Hey, Canada (and Canadian telcoms), get your head around this: How Mobile Boosts Productivity

PSFK’s Piers Fawkes points to a great link in this short blog post, How Mobile Boosts Productivity | PSFK – Trends, Ideas & Inspiration.  He writes:

Tech consultancy Ovum has produced a report that looks at the wireless industry’s impact on American productivity They say that by 2016 the value of the combined mobile wireless voice and broadband productivity gains to the US economy will equal $427 billion per year – a figure that would exceed productivity from today’s motor vehicle manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries combined.

Big winners will be healthcare and small business. The report has several case-studies about how mobile technology has improved productivity form companies like BMW and GE.

The report he’s referring to is a PDF called The Increasingly Important Impact of Wireless Broadband Technology and Services on the U.S. Economy, which covers a lot of ground with hard data, securing the case that wireless technology boosts productivity and is great for the economy.  The document deals with the U.S. economy, but obviously has implications for Canada — and obviously Canada should learn from this.

In particular, take a look at sections 1.2, 2.1, and 2.3.  Given how much of our economy depends on small businesses, it’s especially crucial that service plans in this country smarten up and start offering much more competitive rates.

If they don’t, it wouldn’t be inaccurate to say that Canadian telcoms are actually hurting this country.

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