Category Archives: cities

Do You Need a Space 10 Growroom?

I am rather confident that your immediate answer will be “no”. But wait! Check it out!

The Growroom

You have to admit that it is funky! And while you might not be drooling to build one of these yourself, it is cool that IKEA is paying designers to think of how urban gardening might look in the future.

This one looks a bit more my size

Image result for IKEA growroom

BTw, you cannot buy this, but you can build one yourself.

This is very cool! But will it fit into the living room?



Re.Thinking Governance

CityLab offers an interesting piece today about the various ways cities will react to more populist national policies. They may

  • need to  replace national funding with local funding
  • rally opposition to protectionist policies
  • pursue their own progressive policy agendas
  • advance their own strategies to build prosperity leveraging local resources
  • network between cities to upgrade policy

This idea jumped out at me

The power of cities lies in the fact that they are not governments, but rather networks of public, private, civic, university, and community institutions. Governments can be hijacked by partisanship; networks, by contrast, reward pragmatic action.

This point applies to cites, but not just to cities. The underlying idea is that building prosperity depends on the power of the networks we join. That applies to us individually, and it applies to the place where we live. As we are able to achieve more through the networks that are available to us, the need for formal governance structures to lead the way diminishes. We will still need governance, but we will need less leadership from government.

That is the dream. Will it happen? Stay tuned. You are living that story.


Remembering Robert Moses

He shaped modern New York as no other individual did, and he did it in radical ways. From CityLab

n 1936, Robert Moses gave a 30-day eviction notice to the people of Brooklyn’s Barren Island: A bridge would be built where their homes stood. Protests did not prevail. Over the years, the remains of their bulldozed homes, and of other New York “slums” cleared by the controversial parks-commissioner-turned-chief-of-all-construction, were deposited into a shoreline landfill called Dead Horse Bay.

Artist Lena Henke is obsessed with Moses. Check out the above link to listen to her describe why.


Nietzsche in Venice!

Venice is full of history. Here is a tidbit

The German philosopher (Friedrich Nietzsche) lived in the 1600-built Palazzo Berlendis—set on the Fondamente Nuove by the feet of the Mendicanti bridge on the northern border of the city—between 1880 and 1887 and penned Thus Spoke Zarathustra here.

Yes, it appears that this unit is for sale. The exterior is a bit stern

Image result for palazzo Berlendis

A peek inside

There is a terrace

and it has a vew

The Fondamente Nuove has been depicted in art

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And the  Mendicanti bridge is nice – Nietszche’s palazzo is on the right one building in

Image result for Mendicanti bridge Venice

Not so bad for a mere philosopher. What do you think?


US Slowly Embraces High Speed Rail

It became obvious a while back that high speed rail links between cities has distinct advantages over air travel. But upgrading rail requires government planning and investment, two things that are difficult to accomplish in a divisive political climate.  So high speed rail projects have languished in the US.

But that does not mean that they have vanished from the scene altogether. CityLab offers a nice overview of projects that are inching forward.

A Global Partnership of Mayors

Ben Barber writes for CityLab

On the weekend of the 15th anniversary of 9/11, the launch of an extraordinary new global governance project took place in The Hague. With 70 cities and two-dozen urban networks in attendance, Mayor Jozias van Aartsen of The Hague hosted a convening of the inaugural Global Parliament of Mayors. This was an event three years in the making, and it resulted in the formation of an entirely new governance body for, by, and of mayors, designed to give cities a powerful global voice as well as an innovative platform for common urban action.

It remains to be seen whether this “parliament” will offer constructive input in improving city governance around the globe. But given where we are, it can’t hurt.