Monthly Archives: May 2008

Real Life Monopoly

This, spotted in Chicago, is probably meant to be a critique on the gentry moving in, but some have seen it as a statement on the unjust taxes on the wealthy.

What does it say to you?

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Are you living the Charter?

I came across this CNU quiz to determine whether you are living in accordance with the Charter for New Urbanism. I got an 86/100, but there are a few questions that could go either way.

Does anyone else feel like they are taking one of the quizzes found in those tween magazines?

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The Islands of LA Nat’l Park

Here is another great project from LA. I came across this article in the LA Times that describes Ari Kletzky’s public art project, the Islands of LA National Park. The artist says that the project is intended to “generate discussion to explore use of public space by turning islands into a work of art”.

This is the function that I think all public art should have. It should be generative, not just in terms of discussion, but also action. This project seems really interesting because it is multifaceted. It engages the general public, but also specific groups to think about, discuss and implement ideas in public spaces that otherwise receive no attention.

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Filed under Elsewheres, Imaging, public art, public space

I actually like your stuff

But please don’t use guerrilla tactics to advertise to me. I saw this at the exit to the fountain sq. garage today and can’t help but wonder a couple of things. First, is it from a street team, and if so is there any enforcement? As an admirer of street art and the like I have to be offended. I understand that corporations have rights and even that their ability to co-opt these things in some way legitimizes them.

Still, it is against the law and it just seems wrong for corporate interest to appropriate tactics used by individuals because much the same corporate interest have reduced their power. I guess it goes both ways, corporations appropriate individuals’ tactics as much as is the case here (in one of the 3CDC’s brand colors, no less). But what gives individuals the power to resist the corporate dominance of public space, particularly through advertising in this case, is that individuals often can’t be traced back to a corporate entity and don’t really receive any personal gain from it. The risk is the same, but the payoff is much higher for corporations. Shouldn’t the punishment fit the extent of the benefit gained through illegal means.

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Filed under Cincinnati, public space

More OTR Street Art

Here is a great instance of the same design that I posted earlier. This time it is complete and it has a little (plump) friend too.

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Community Living Rooms

Community Living Rooms are something that I first came across this article in DESIGNER/builder Magazine, but this article in the NY Times caught my eye. I am glad to see that they have caught on, and in LA of all places. I think that it interesting how they were done in collaboration with the transit authority, but still retain their original intent

The idea is to “build an outdoor living room that included a couch and end tables (a bench flanked by planter boxes), ottomans (sitting boxes that could be moved around to create space on the sidewalk), and other seating (three- or four-step stoops that didn’t lead to doors but sat up against walls or fences).

There is a strong intention to make these spaces domesticated public spaces that encourage people to use public space for living. Rather than create some officially designated park space they build off the existing needs and spaces in a community.

The original efforts in Oakland were done illegally and were intended as an anti-gentrification statement as well as a functional solution to a design problem. Despite the dirty g-word the logic makes sense to me and if you read the DB article it might help place it in context.

For those that think that gentrification is not a problem, or inevitable I hope this begins to illustrate that it is not a simple process that is universally bad, or good. It is not about black and white, but shades of gray that should be accepted, but not un-mediated. Community Living Rooms are one intervention that I think helps to mediate the differences in social, economic and cultural uses of public space. It is an innovative design solution that doesn’t just solve a functional issue, but is confronts a social reality.

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Filed under Elsewheres, planning, public space, urban design

OTR Swooning

I guess these have been there for a while, probably since this show in 2004, but I’d never taken photos until yesterday. For those that aren’t familiar with swoon you are missing out. Check out the audio tour of her work in the right hand column of this NY Times article.

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Filed under DIY urbanism, Imaging, OTR, public art, public space