Saturday, February 16, 2008

Cities Under The Microscope and From A Balloon

There have been a number of articles on cities passing my screen lately, but from varying perspectives. Another of the approaches of this weblog is to combine those different concepts together. The concepts in this post go from the technical to the artistic and from the abstract to the personal.

Science Magazine takes a special look at cities in February.
Science, Volume 319, Issue 5864, Cities dated February 8 2008, is now available:

Video Special: Cities
Cities VideoSee a special video introduction to this week's special issue on the science of cities and

Science Podcast Join host Robert Frederick for interviews and stories on the environmental costs of biofuels development; the 2009 U.S. science budget; reproducing in cities; good monitoring relationships;

In this week's issue of Science: SPECIAL ISSUE:
Reimagining Cities by Caroline Ash, Barbara R. Jasny, Leslie Roberts, Richard Stone, and Andrew M. Sugden

The TEDBlog on the other hand introduces us to Jaime Lerner , who has a maverick flair and a strategist's disdain for accepted wisdom and who re-invented urban space in his native Curitiba, Brazil.

He talks about how to revolutionize bus transit, awaken green consciousness in a populace accustomed to litter and blight, and change the way city planners and bureaucrats worldwide conceive what's possible within the tangled structure of the metropolitan landscape.

It is David Macaulay of The Way Things Work fame, who, in his TED Talk, provides a personal connection with one city in particular:

His love and fascination for Rome dates to his days as an architecture student, but found the path to his book Rome Antics took some unusual (and frustrating) turns. Through failed pop-up designs, scribbled-out title possibilities, surreal sketchbook pages (think "Piranesi meets Escher"), and rambling storylines, Macaulay details each step of his winding journey toward completion of his illustrated homage to the city.

Excepts from -David Macaulay: All roads lead to Rome Antics

I draw to better understand things. Sometimes I make a lot of drawings, and I still don’t understand what it is I’m drawing.

I also make drawings to help people understand things. Things that I want them to believe that I understand. And that’s what I do as an illustrator. That’s my job.

So I’m going to show you some pictures of Rome. I’ve made a lot of drawings of Rome over the years. These are just drawings of Rome. I get back as often as possible. I need to. All different materials, all different styles, all different times, drawings from sketchbooks, looking at the details of Rome. Part of the reason I’m showing you these is that it sort of helps illustrate part of what I go through with trying to figure out what I feel about Rome and why I feel it.

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