Archive for the ‘cities’ Category

Requiem for the American Dream

Monday, July 4th, 2016

Someone has uploaded a copy of the film Requiem for the American Dream. In it Noam Chomsky explains the process by which wealth inequality destroys democracy, how fantastic riches are not just intense concentration of wealth but of power, which then further speeds up the cycle of returning ever greater wealth to the rich through the deregulation of the economy that the rich demand.

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Condo as colonialism redux – again

Monday, April 11th, 2016
Venue Surrey - Brownsville pioneers

Here’s yet another condo development framed as a modern repeat of Canada’s 19th C colonial pioneer era. It’s called “Venue” and it’s in Whalley, a small town centre within Surrey, a large, racially mixed Vancouver suburb mostly known for farming. Of all the marketing means at their disposal, Venue has decided to frame its target market as “adventurers and entrepreneurs” and it makes an explicit link between these potential buyers and prior white “adventurers” who apparently “settled” Whalley.

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Have we learned nothing from the 60s UK demolitions?

Friday, November 20th, 2015

The urban planning disasters of the 1960s in Britain. We think we have learned from them, but have we?

Start watching the video at 14:00 if you don’t want to watch the whole documentary, which is a sort of myth-busting look at the 60s in England. There’s a fantastic segment on brutalism, the influence of le Corbusier, and the question of who benefited from the wholesale destruction of English towns and cities in the 60s.

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Harvey Molotch’s “The City as Growth Machine”

Thursday, November 12th, 2015


This is sociologist Harvey Molotch: like a handsomer Munch from Homicide: Life on the Street
“A city and, more generally, any locality, is conceived as the areal expression of the interests of some land-based elite.”

Harvey Molotch‘s seminal 1976 article “The City as Growth Machine”—which is still applicable today—just happened to be published the same year of the UN Habitat Conference on Settlements that took place in Vancouver (and is the subject of my upcoming book).

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The Tudor house, colonialism, white gold and toothache

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

“This is why we love the Tudor period so much, because it’s the age of discovery, and there’s a sense that anything was possible.”

“Discovery”? That’s one way of talking about colonialism.  This BBC documentary, Hidden Killers of the Tudor Home, outlines how the sudden change in house architecture and lifestyle in the Tudor era for the middling rich—merchants and yeoman farmers—was made possible by merchant trade with conquered colonies.

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Keep it in the ground! Guardian animation on solar power

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

Short animation by the Guardian on solar power, as part of their “Keep it in the ground” campaign against fossil fuels. The price of solar panels has come down by 75% since 2009, and other interesting facts.

This is part 2 of the Guardian’s fight against fossil fuels and climate change, focusing on the switch to solar and hope.

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