Posts tagged "urban development"

The Phallus and the Womb in Chicago Architecture: Prentice Hospital and the Sears Tower

The unfortunate destruction of Prentice Hospital for Women has me thinking about metaphor in Chicago Architecture. What do great buildings tell us about ourselves and about our culture; how is cultural meaning embedded in their design and how does this meaning – whether consciously or not – play out in how we embrace or reject... Read more »

Prentice Hospital for Women Meets the Wrecking Ball

Prentice Hospital for Women Meets the Wrecking Ball
Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Hospital for Women is being demolished. Blair Kamin reported on it with a collection of really sad photographs – the blasting sun and crisp colors an incongruous backdrop for the destruction of this wonderful building. It’s appropriate in a way, because the process that brought us to this has been so marked... Read more »

Self-immolation, Land Use and Public Discourse in rural China

Self-immolation, Land Use and Public Discourse in rural China
Self-immolation is on the increase in rural China. That’s according to a recent article in the New York Times. I was stunned by this news. It set me thinking about land use and public discourse and human connection to place. Would you burn yourself up if they were going to take away your land? That’s... Read more »
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Photographs, Violence and Place: Christmas Lessons for Change Following the Newtown Tragedy

Bandit's Roost (1888) by Jacob Riis, from "How the Other Half Lives". This image is Bandit's Roost at 59½ Mulberry Street, considered the most crime-ridden, dangerous part of New York City.

Riis’ book "How the Other Half Lives" was first published as an article in the 1889 Christmas issue of Scribner's Magazine.
Since the shootings at Sandy Hook elementary in Newtown, CT, I’ve been thinking about photographers who focus on social change in efforts to end suffering and injustice. Since early in its history, photography has intersected with the idea that giving view to tragedy can help prevent it. Photographs can offer evidence – a look into... Read more »

Swimming in the shadow of the nuclear tower

Red car in the driveway, cooling tower in the yard.
I’ve been making the rounds on Lake Michigan this summer; doing a version of the “Circle Tour”… in pieces. Part 4 of the journey took me south to Mt. Baldy Beach in Michigan City, Indiana. This is a great beach, crashing waves, lovely sand, families, dogs … and a looming power plant cooling tower. That... Read more »

Jessica Stockholder's "Color Jam" and Placemaking in Chicago

Artist Jessica Stockholder has created what she calls a '3-dimensional painting' spilling across the surfaces of street and buildings at the intersection of State and Adams in Chicago's loop. The piece is called "Color Jam" and will remain in place through the summer.  In addition to the physical installation, the piece also invites the public to participate in a series of related programs or "JAMS", which include happenings, talks and concerts. Local businesses have invented related products ('color-tinis') and services inspired by the piece.
The concept of “placemaking” has been on my mind these days. The contest by the Metropolitan Planning Council mentioned in my last post has brought it into immediate focus, and lately I realize I’ve been more surrounded by the idea than I had previously thought. (Reminder: if you or anyone you know is engaged in... Read more »
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Transforming Urban Places - A new contest awards creative urban artists and neighborhood organizations

How does a city enliven its public spaces and enrich the lives of residents? One option is to promote ‘placemaking’. That’s a term that seems to cover a lot of ground, but at its most basic expression, involves individuals working creatively to make a place better. A contest recently announced by the the Metropolitan Planning... Read more »

A Short History of America

A Short History of America
In honor of the 4th of July, I offer this, from the great cartoonist R. Crumb. Crumb drew “A Short History of America” in 1979. It shows an urban landscape gradually obliterating a single wilderness scene. Later, Crumb added three possible scenarios to the question posed in the final panel: “What Next?”. He drew a... Read more »