Category Archives: Rants

Today’s Moment of Idealistic Naivete: Wikileaks

{image source} All the talking heads scrutinizing the whole wikileaks “scandal” are, to me, missing the point, as well as an incredible opportunity. What’s my naive, idealistic solution? Don’t say anything behind closed doors you aren’t willing to say in … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, How We Live, How We Think, Josh Grigsby, policy, Rants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The City of the Future?

We humans love to plot our existence on time lines. Make the world linear. Everything has a beginning, a middle, an end. The universe in vectors. But how often does reality comply? It seems to me that no geometric figure can accurately represent the dynamism of civilization. Sometimes a vector may well be appropriate. Other times, a triangle or a step pyramid. The closest model to my mind, however, is a helix, or rather multiple helices. Some are bent, some wrap around others, some are vertical, some aren’t. All, however, are roughly orbital. A new development (such as the automobile) creates a new ring, the course of action spurred on by that development plays out, and eventually things come back around to a new approximation of where they began.
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Posted in architecture, Culture, History, human scale, Josh Grigsby, Rants, technology, thinking, Uncategorized, urban design, urban planning, vernacular architecture, walkable, What if? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Impressive GDP, Quality of Life, and Sustainability: Pick Two out of Three?

In the most simplistic statistical reading—higher GDP per capita means higher tax revenue means better funded schools means better education—there seems to be some legitimacy to the story’s thesis. I don’t think real life is so simple, however. Unqualified as I am to provide an in-depth critique of the significance of GDP or the relative educational histories of Caribbean nations, I won’t attempt to here. Besides, those things aren’t what interest me. Without questioning the intelligence, honesty, or diligence of the author, I was struck by what I perceived to be a fine example of stuck-in-system thinking.
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Posted in Climate Change, Culture, Josh Grigsby, Rants, Response Pieces, Sustainability, thinking, Uncategorized, urban design, urban planning, What if? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Thoughts on Private Property: Or, Have I Got a Bridge in Brooklyn to Sell You

Yesterday’s post got me thinking—how has the American notion of private property shaped our culture? How has it shaped our cities? Our transportation networks? Our communities? Our ability to respond to climate change and environmental concerns? I remember reading a caption on a wall mural while waiting in line at Ikea that said Sweden doesn’t view land as private property, so one can walk anywhere one desires in Sweden and not worry about trespassing. The outdoor world most Americans experience is mostly limited to roads, sidewalks, parks, and a small number of backyards. Do away with private land ownership and the way we interact with the land changes fundamentally. I don’t know how true the Ikea caption is or how absolutely it is practiced, but I don’t imagine the Swedes have an epidemic of peeping toms or home invasions.
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Posted in Culture, Josh Grigsby, Livability, Neighbors, Placemaking, Rants, Response Pieces, Sustainability, What if? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why Negative Capability is Relevant to Planologie

Poet John Keats defined negative capability as the ability to be “in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts without any irritable reaching after fact & reason.” If this doesn’t sound especially profound or relevant to planologie, well, it is both. In yesterday’s post, Santi Tafarella linked negative capability with empathy, with attentive listening, and with the ability to sublimate one’s existential angst into larger mysteries of being. All admirable qualities. But what might it mean for an urban planner to practice negative capability? Or for the general populous? Or the city itself?
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Posted in architecture, Culture, Josh Grigsby, Placemaking, Rants, Response Pieces, Sustainability, Uncategorized, urban design, urban planning, What if? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment