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Internet: an Equalizer of Places

In A Sense of Place, SOP 2.0 by Jonathan1 Comment

You can access the Internet from virtually anywhere. As the number of online services grow and Internet users become increasingly dependent on the World Wide Web in everyday function, the value of a place depends less and less on the unique resources available in the area, but more on the accessibility of resources through the Internet—the same resources that can be used …

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Border Control

In A Sense of Place, Cosmopolitan by Jonathan1 Comment

Though we now live in a world of increasing mobility, it seems like more than ever that that mobility is being restricted, especially with the recent focus on borders and policing them—from Donald Trump’s insistence on building walls around America to make it great again to the scrutiny (some of us more than others, depending on the color of our …

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Tent Cities: Reappropriation by Placemaking

In A Sense of Place, Placemaking by Jonathan1 Comment

While writing Monday’s post, I stumbled on some articles about “tent cities” that had popped up all over the United States. Congregations of just a few to hundreds of homeless living in tents under unoccupied, placeless highway overpasses. The occurrence of these semi-permanent but often evanescent colonies is two-fold: rising housing prices and sentiments against public services for the poor and the …

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Trolls under the Bridge

In Placelessness, A Sense of Place by JonathanLeave a Comment

As Americans drive more miles every year, more highways, more junctions, and more ramps are built. More highways means more travel and faster commutes (right?) to the places that matter. Unfortunately, with highways come the undesirable spaces around them. Roads are destructive: sources of air pollution, noise pollution, and even light pollution, and the construction of higher-volume freeways in existing places often calls for the …

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Community Gardens

In Landscape, A Sense of Place by JonathanLeave a Comment

In a city where so much is planned, designed, and created to be impressive, valuable, and profitable, there remains little space for places that rise out of the necessity or the capability of the people who use it. In today’s urban landscape, spaces shaped by human living are largely influenced by the aesthetic of designers and architects: distinctly “polite” and …

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Suburbs, but not all Suburbia

In Suburbia, A Sense of Place by Jonathan1 Comment

The San Francisco Bay Area ranks second only to New York City as one of the least sprawling regions in the entire United States. Only the 13th densest metropolitan area of the country, Bay Area combines nine counties and is home to one of the most extensive public transportation systems, again losing only to New York City. I grew up in Fremont, the biggest suburb …

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Ordos City: a modernist experiment

In Architecture, A Sense of Place by Jonathan1 Comment

Since the turn of the century, China’s urban population has skyrocketed, with a population greater than that of the entire United States moving into metropolitan areas. Anticipating overwhelming amounts of pollution, overcrowding, congestion, and market imbalances, the Chinese government has responded by building up massive cities from the ground: an ultimate experiment for the modernist ideal of “starting from zero”. …

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On the Virtue of Solitude

In News by JonathanLeave a Comment

Jane Jacobs’s utopia is a downtown perpetually crowded with strangers and neighbors, bustling with commerce, chit chat, and people-watching. People, like in William Whyte’s plazas, are walking, talking, working, stopping, or just watching. “The more strangers the merrier,” writes Jacobs. She cites a memory of a reluctant daughter resisting her father—pedestrians and store-owners all around paused with suspicion—to give credit to the …

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Re-envisioning Washington Mews

In Social life, A Sense of Place by Jonathan2 Comments

Washington Mews is a small, gated street just north of Washington Square between University Place and 5th Avenue. According to Wikipedia, it was once part of a Lenape trail that connected the East and Hudson rivers. It certainly does not any longer, as buildings now bookend the only privately-owned street in downtown New York City. Two sets of wrought iron gates, …

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A Spirit among Spirits

In Spirit, A Sense of Place by Jonathan3 Comments

What gives a bar a “type”? What is it that makes our favorite liquor-licensed establishments “divey”, “seedy”, “upscale”, or even “craft”—what gives a bar its “spirit”? It’s Thursday night. Thousands of New Yorkers are leaving their Village offices, dorm rooms, and apartments, some already drunk, and others excited to be. Pick your poison. Where do you go? If you are …

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Experiencing the Road on Two Wheels

In Experience, A Sense of Place by Jonathan3 Comments

Most people learn to ride a bicycle years before they learn to drive a car. Perhaps when you took your first ride, they didn’t make bikes your size—so you rode a toy tricycle instead. You may recall memories of a parent or older sibling carefully guiding you by the handlebars, even though you knew your shiny new training wheels would catch you …