Delicious morning city planning read of the day. Moss, a culture critic in NYC, criticizes the High Line’s economic effects while mourning the loss of Chelsea’s gritty “charm.”
It’s a great piece, my favorite in weeks. Moss forgets three things. First, the real-estate boom was not just located in his precious little piece of the world. It burned like wildfire, scorching economies around the world. Second, did Moss hang out there before the High Line was built? I severely doubt it. He shows that this section of town was once called gasoline alley, due to all the auto repair shops and other mechanical industries. Why is Moss, or anyone for that matter, nostalgic for that? Third, and important to me as thinker of city infrastructure, what about the nearly 20 years of community outreach done by the city’s non-profits, architects, students, PhD researchers, city planners, artists, economists, and econ-dev folks (among countless others)? Neighbors, developers, and business owners wanted revitalization. They wanted a large, effective redevelopment project. And they got the High Line. Chelsea got what it wanted.
Jeremiah Moss pans the Times Squarification of West Chelsea as the outgrowth of the High Line, and the loss of the neighborhood of working class residents and light industry.In his view it’s part of the quick march to Disneyland On The Hudson than Bloomberg and developers are interested in capitalizing on.
The aid industry has just been Biebered. Invisible Children’s hundreds of thousands of donor / activist – they were invisible to us. Kids. That’s the target and that’s the message. If you think the aid world depends on gray haired HNWIs (High Net Worth Individuals, aka rich folk), wait and see what IC does with its pubescent legions.
My advice to the aid industry? First, get over it. Then, get on the boat. Invisible Children has more than an audience, more than loyal donors. They’ve built a repository of faithusiasm that will make change happen.”
Derrick and I decided to create this book after discussing Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth. We agreed that the film presented the problem of global warming in a compelling, appropriately urgent way. But when it came time to guide people to action, it was worse than inadequate—it was misleading. Gore’s list of “10 Things You Can Do” (and countless other lists like it) directs the audience’s attention away from the source of the problem, industrialization, and it attempts to convince us to blame ourselves instead. It asserts that if we modify our behavior as “consumers” (change our light bulbs, adjust our thermostats), then we can save the planet. This is a lie.
What this list didn’t show was the math. We did. If every person in the United States did everything that Al Gore recommends at the end of the film, there would be a one-time reduction of CO2 emissions of 21%. Obviously that’s not going to put much of a dent in the problem. More importantly, it leaves the worst polluters, big corporations, off the hook. Exxon-Mobil alone is responsible for 5% of all global CO2 emissions. The US military consumes 395,000 barrels of oil a day. Do you think dismantling that might be more effective than obsessing about not leaving our refrigerator doors open? Yet the latter is what we are told to focus on. We are told, over and over, that the only power we have is over our own lifestyles, and specifically as “consumers”—how very conveeeeenient for those who profit from the murder of our planet and then profit again from selling us “green” products.
“America, despite its wealth and strength, often seems to be falling apart.” The Economist nails it, showing that a major drag on the US economic outlook is poor condition of our infrastructure, placing blame on the politicians who are an, “embarrassment” “puzzling” “stingy” “calamitous” “inadequate.”
American cities have suffered a rash of recent infrastructure calamities, from the failure of the New Orleans levees to the collapse of a highway bridge in Minneapolis, to a fatal crash on Washington, DC’s (generally impressive) metro system. But just as striking are the common shortcomings. America’s civil engineers routinely give its transport structures poor marks, rating roads, rails and bridges as deficient or functionally obsolete. And according to a World Economic Forum study America’s infrastructure has got worse, by comparison with other countries, over the past decade. In the WEF 2010 league table America now ranks 23rd for overall infrastructure quality, between Spain and Chile. Its roads, railways, ports and air-transport infrastructure are all judged mediocre against networks in northern Europe.