Posts Tagged ‘urbanism’

Meeting point

November 6, 2009

I love train stations
A micro-cosmos that is alive
It is a city within a city
Ever saw a meeting point sign?
This is where people are supposed to meet. Neat.

meeting point images

Doing eurail during two separate summers made me realize the beauty in rail travel
Into the center of a city, overnight couchette, sleeping with strangers
Mass transit, effecient, a network, clockwork green

Train stations vs airports
Fiat 500 vs cadillac fleetwood

Trains are green
They make cities walking friendly vs parking friendly (is there such a thing?)
The opposite of american sprawl

Grand central in nyc is a landmark
You still see tourists taking a photo in the central hall
A view into the past; But, making a revival.

(in previous post i claimed the city is where you go to see the future. well you can go to the city to see the past, too)


For the best coffee in nyc, go to Joe’s coffee
Opposite track 11 or so, close to the Lexington ave entrance

You will not believe starbucks drink is called coffee, too
Joe’s is located in a small hole
There is most always a long line
And they take cash only

(a bit like the soup nazi)

it’s worth the trip

October 1, 2009

machne jeuhdaa great new restaurant opened up this summers in jerusalem מחניהודה.

finally, for the first time in a long time, there is fresh reason to travel to jerusalem on a summer’s eve

it has a lot of what you want in a restaurant:

  • it is located in the market
  • it has dishes you have never tasted before
  • it is authentic
  • prices are extremely affordable
  • service is friendly
  • the waitresses are different than the ones in telaviv. here you are part of a community, not a post-modern urbanite

here is another review

just go there.


this was supposed to be the end of the post, but wanted to share a few more thoughts about the name and its meaning for me:

  • מחנה-יהודה is actually camp judaea the young Zionist movement in the USA
  • if our state was not called israel, what would it be called? (palestine is taken). i suppose judea, which is also the root of the name for our religion. so we are all in the same camp, camp judea. כל ישראל חברים , or , “כל ישראל ערבים זה לזה”. we lost a bit of that, havn’t we?
  • one of the songs which excites me the most every independence day is שאו ציונה נס ודגל,  which flag? דגל מחנה יהודה
  • i was born in a neighborhood  of Petach Tikva called מחנה יהודה (which by the way had a great footbal team). that’s where my roots are. like it, or not. i like it.

Bangkok, Oriental setting

July 27, 2009

And the city don’t know that the city is getting

sent: Jun 01 2008 – 11:44pm

bankok for 2 nights
Very nice hotel – thanks idan
At this point in time, bankok and I did not connect well

It was too much for me, and no relaxation, and fake, fake fake
Tuk tuk sir? Lady boom boom? Pussy Ping pong?
Haaa much you pay? 650. Ok? 100? Ya clazy?
And you are different, and are small, and many do not talk english, even cab drivers, and negotiation is with out air conditioning and without a smile. The city don’t stop and its a mix, and its amazing, and fake fake fake.

And hard to digest, and street food cooked and the sweat is on and the dirt beneath and a mother with child, on her knees because she see’s you. Can you spare a dime? Is that 10. Baht or 100? Neon, florescent, leds, on-off behind the glass, in the stall, and westerners walking, with beer, and great bodies and electronics and internet cafe and beit habad and 7/11 are really popular here

And the air is dirty, did our tuk tuk. 50 baht, 4 sites, one hour and less than 2$ and the driver waits in each site. It is hot and sticky and the air is dirty.

The city has changed. From gaza to gaza elite. Skytrain and skyways. It is a huge city 10 km from one area to another. And we are popular. And people constantly touch us and want to sell us stuff we don’t need at prices we don’t want. Fake fake fake. And girls of the street think we are cute. And they are small. The butt is tight. Some of their faces are from another world. They touch us and smile at us and sell us beer and clap their hands and laugh with us. We are over-aged over wealthy western men

Some things here are cheap some are expensive. Most are fake fake fake.

I freed 5 birds in a Buddhist temple and a Buddhist monk was collecting money at 2 am as you walk out of a club.Corn? I love corn, not fake. An elephant in the middle of the street. Not fake. A 10 year old girl selling flowers at 3 am in front of a club, not fake..
We bought a camera. Iris needed one. We bought 3. Mbk. Hard to negotiate. Canon sd 1000. Like a cigarette box. Back to basics. Great format, great menu, great shots. All the stores have the same price. And bags and burberry and boss. Luis vitton, prada, lowes bags and jeans, calvin klein. Haa much ya pay? Fake fake fake
Agressive, what you want haa much you pay. Loud music, traffic not moving, taxis waiting, no willing to turn on meter. fake cigrattes, lots of beer too much alcohol.

This is what happens when capitalism meets no rules and very poor people. Too much, not simple, amazing energy, all senses on overload
Like Thai massage at first it hurts, too much and for too long – can you go softer on the muscles? – and then it reaches an equilibrium, and some of it is nice and when it is over you wish you had more

1,2,3 4 stages of an american city

November 20, 2008

new haven and the american city



1st age: geography, community, agriculture, land

2nd age: industrialism urbanization density

3rd age: service, growth, end of urbanism, sprawl, decline of city, technology overcomes time and space. ‘nuclear family’. retail from dime store, general store, to  deparatment store to mall to big box.

transportation, decay of rail in favor of trucking. port cities to river cities to resource cities

4th period,  size matters, american cities are not close to the density and scale of major cities. cities market themselves, tell stories. re-invent themselves.

take a look at global footprint network & sage UW madison data

cities – where we go to see the future

November 19, 2008

fragments of the city

below, larionov, rain


key takeaways:

  • cities are thought of as places of stability, but are a place of change. values, people, lifestyle are often different than trends elsewhere in the USA
  • the street as a project. the city as a memory in image and fantasy of itself. a place of choice and also a place of last resort


cities have been forced to play politics from a weak position

neo primitivism, neo tribialism, schools of art and politics suggesting that human beings have evolved to live in a tribal, as opposed to a modern, society, and thus cannot achieve genuine happiness until some semblance of tribal lifestyles has been re-created or re-embraced.

Neotribalist ideology is rooted in the social philosophies of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and William Kingdon Clifford, who spoke of a “tribal self” thwarted by modern society. The Evolutionary Principle of anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss, which states that a species removed from the environment in which it evolved will become pathological, has been cited by Neotribalists as providing a scientific basis for their beliefs.

Certain aspects of industrial and post-industrial life, including the necessity of living in a society of strangers and interacting with organizations that have memberships far above Dunbar’s number are cited as inherently detrimental to the human mind as it has evolved. In a 1985 paper, “Psychology, Ideology, Utopia, & the Commons,” psychologist Dennis Fox proposed a number around 150 people. Recently some supporters of neo-Tribalism have put forth the argument that their ideas have been scientifically proven by the discipline of evolutionary psychology. This claim has been highly disputed, however.

people’s park

November 18, 2008

urbanism with garvin – public parks

remember vaux-le-vicomte, near melun? garvin commented, ‘the world seemed rational’

think of italian park in the 16th century

french in the 17th century

english in the 18th century

key takeaways:

  • where do people do physical recreation? in private – home or around – in privately owned public spaces (semi private space, e.g. country club), or in open public parks?
  • public park as multi-purpose, multi echelon entity
  • government or municipality can invest in a park. e.g. drying a swamp, and collect rates from real estate around it and concessions within it.
  • trees as part of the public realm
  • interesting to assess planed communities
  • parks are not reserves, they are continuouly eveloving and will reflect differences in nature and society


public parks stated in london in mid 19th century. darby arboretum, birkenhead park. actually started as a consequence of a free day to workers and what to do with it. victoria park in london set up in 1845. fredrick olmsted, a failed farmer, then journalist, visited london and was fascinated with the fact that it is multi class.

his book: Walks and Talks of an American Farmer in England described the beauty of peoples parks

“five minutes of admiration, and a few more spent studying the manner in which art had been employed to obtain from nature so much beauty, and I was ready to admit that in democratic America there was nothing to be thought of as comparable with this People’s Garden”.

Olmsted also commented on the “perfection” of the gardening:

“I cannot undertake to describe the effect of so much taste and skill as had evidently been employed; I will only tell you, that we passed by winding paths, over acres and acres, with a constant varying surface, where on all sides were growing every variety of shrubs and flowers, with more than natural grace, all set in borders of greenest, closest turf, and all kept with consummate neatness”.

avenue fauche, in paris is a ‘parkway’ , brinign the park to the city.

riverside, IL a city designed inside a park.

some keys to public parks success:

  • need a sense of enlarged freedom
  • providing for pysical and mental health
  • fun, available to all

you can always go, down town

October 30, 2008

look at several lenses:

social stratification, the global economy, culture&consumption

key takeaways:

  • revenge of the push cart – in the past dirty, now fun.
  • even art in all the revived downtown are the same – painted cows (started: local, chicago) have become generic. you got to have it if you want to compete. sophisticated, ‘with-it’
  • boston: ‘the big-dig’, from highway to greenway
  • a hierarchy of global cities is forming. a celeb architect helps.
  • in revived festive market places there is a commodization of local knowledge. e.g best restauarants have a branch in tel aviv port.

discussion and terms:

duke ellington, ‘tourist point of view‘, far east suite

check also the song, ‘down town‘ by petula clark

the difference and hierarchy between people who work in highrise and those we clear the waste baskets

a place to stroll. icon of the city.from authentic view of a city, to becoming the same across the globe. e.g. harbor place baltimore md, fisherman’s wharf, SF, CA

a man scaring people tipped by others. if you are frightened, you wait to see another frightened


‘the point’, blue to white colloar, industry to office, rail to road, dirty to clean, hapazard to planned

james rouse, developer, ‘cities are fun’ the festive marketplace. e.g. harbor place baltimore. architect, benjamin thompson, cities are safe, fun. rouse needs to be researched. an admirable figure

fulton fish market, lower manhatten. recently moved to bronx. no longer appropriate city activity. rouse turns it into pier 17

riverfront walk in san antonio, tx.

The other side

the immigrant express, queens new york. you are travelling through worlds, cultures and values to the other side of the city

urban design – fond of extreme

October 29, 2008

alan plattus on urban design and sustainability

key takeaways:

  • urban explosion may be a reason for the plight to suburbia in 1920s -1980s and end of american city. will that be repeated in large urban areas developing outside the US today.
  • ‘fond of extreme’
  • if you think of the american city as an organism, it has done a great job: grow, spawn
  • monofunctional and focus (automobile society) took us a way from the complex, fabric vs fabricated.


explosive rate of urbanization in the 1870-1920, chicago in 1830, 1890 (fire in between)

linked green spaces as a ventilation to industrial cities

riverside IL, planned (holmstead) idealized environment as a repsonse to industial city.

planner were radical. ‘replace the old’. militant language. cure

‘walking city’ when things are wrong, the city moves.

the twilight zone

October 28, 2008

zoning as planing and design

key takeaways:

  • how do you enforce. cost and time. intentional or unintentional and negligent. too late?
  • market needs a helping hand. how? ‘policing power’. mechanism: height, placement, use, density, floor/area ratio,


density – ability of street, to support buildings

height in nyc as multiple of street width. nyc removed height in 1961 for floor area ratio

market needs a helping hand. anti adam smith


  • external dis-economy
  • ignorant, but rational
  • anti social
  • short sighted


  • public good
  • un-happiness with competition on demands
  • alter patterns of consumption
  • ethical society

external dis-economy

your house is burned by a fire in another building. too late. damage has been done. eliminating spread of disease

  • secondary means of egress. 100ft from prime entrance
  • sanitary – window in every room, at leat 30 ft from a wall

ignorant but rational

  • tall bulding on flight path
  • home-icide. designate certain buildings for preservation. historically accurate materials

anti social, but rational

  • double parking of delivery business. vs zone: off street loading and parking

short sight, but rational

  • penn station NYC. company wants to make more money off property. build offices and msg on top. zone: landmarks commission. pan-am building on top of grand central. resell air rights.

public good

  • sunlight on the street, or protect view. result sky exposure plan
  • pedestrian right of way

un-happiness with competition on demands

  • immigrants with stands, push carts on the street, business move away, streets are blocked. result: land-use right

alter patterns of consumption

  • save the creek. common open space, get 15% more housing

ethical society

  • no gambling and sex.

alienation despite proximity (or because of)

October 28, 2008

new haven and the american city

policing public spaces and public life

key takeaways:

  • public spaces do not just exist, they are produced socially by being there
  • right of expression vs privatizing public space. think of 2×2 matrix. x-axis, exclusive, y axis sameness (private club vs downtown street) (diner vs airline business lounge.
  • “It is difficult to design a space that will not attract people. What is remarkable is how often this has been accomplished.”
  • sign saying ‘drug free zone’. ‘do not throw garbage’. a place where information is disbursed and consumed. graffiti. roman forum. internet today. cafe as a ‘third place’ semi private. price of admission is a cup of coffee. open realm, people watching (latest fashion). get a newspaper


design of public realm

e.g. central park NYC. designed for stroll. think victorian stroll, tip of hat. a teaching place for lower classes regarding civil norms in the public realm. individuals engage as public citizens

a man sleeping on a bench by the public library. is he privatizing the public space? a declaration of problems of the homeless.

rockefeller center, public participation. corporate plaza. statues. privately developed public places.

william h whyte . street life project. place-making. places need to be managed? programed (e.g. reading room in bryant park)? does this make them less public? stay off grass vs lay on grass. where and why do people skateboard. is their reason appropriation of space (vs designed skate park?)

book City: Rediscovering the Center (1988). others re urbanism: Is Anybody Listening? (1952), Securing Open Spaces for Urban America (1959), Cluster Development (1964), The Last Landscape (1968; “about the way metropolitan areas look and the way they might look”),The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces (1980), City: Rediscovering the Center (1988).

also wrote a book: 1956  The Organization Man (CEOs and organizations)

modernist public spaces are cold austere? see neoclassist plaza di’italia in neo orleans. yale dean designed. yack

seagram plaza, nyc, where do people get food? sit? kids love getting wet. people look for shade on a sunny day (millinium park, chicago). design matters.

skateboarder as a pivot for policing. not always welcomed. corporate plaza.

polic officer as a leader, mentor. not as reactive to crime. europe is better at this than US or israel. why. just walking the beat. whistling and making circles with the rope of a whistle (hashoter azulai?)

sign saying drug free zone. do not throw garbage. a place where informatiion is disbursed and consumerd. graffiti.