After Catenary pointed out a quote from Kennedy, I got curious and found the snippet of his first major campaign speech on March 18, 1968. The original post in AlterNet.org “Robert F. Kennedy Challenges Gross Domestic Product” contains a small video illustrating his words:
Too much and too long, we seem to have surrendered community excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our Gross National Product, now, is over eight hundred billion dollars a year, but that GNP — if we judge the United States of America by that — counts air pollution and cigarette advertising and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead, and armored cars for police who fight riots in our cities. It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.
Yet the Gross National Product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of [...]
Via the BLDGBLOG I’m learning that the Liverpool Biennial is running an international exhibition entitled MADE UP, celebrating the power of artistic imagination. As part of its catalog Geoff Manaugh wrote an essay on the notion of made-up cities, challenging the assumption that everyone who lives in a city knows what it is like to be urban. His post is a brilliant collection of arguments about what constitutes a city.
If Urville, the ultimate example of urban fantasy lives up to the architectural standards of most modern metropolis but is completely devoid of character, can a truly urban experience be architected without the need for a massive agglomeration of buildings? Understanding of these two extreme exercises may lead to better ideas on how to design the cities of the future. Certainly it would seem this exercise is important as we are making important mistakes in building current cities:
…we have perfected the art of the anti-city—that we have made up anything but truly urban environments. Dubai, for instance, is famously difficult to navigate on foot, requiring a ten minute car ride down six-lane motorways, complete with frequently lethal U-turns, simply to get to the hotel [...]
When I posted the living city back in January I had only read a journalistic interpretation from the original research. Thanks to Allison Pinto for pointing me to the original paper: Growth, innovation, scaling, and the pace of life in cities. While the notion of cities having a certain metabolism resembling that of living organisms is a key aspect, there are other important elements of the research that deserve further discussion:
When it comes to infrastructure, cities tend to follow a similar metabolic rate of biological organisms (power law scaling ~0.8). This is in fact the only area where a commonality with living organisms can be found.
But for many of the processes taking place within a city, the scaling follows the law of increasing returns, something unheard of in the living world. And this is true for many processes that would not be related to each other in any way. They are processes that speak of the social nature of cities.
These findings about how processes follow a certain scaling are not limited to positive indicators of urbanization: innovation, growth of domestic product, wages, but also to negative ones such [...]
Via The Human Rights Action Center a very visual and abridged version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, soon to be 60 years old.
Bringing the world together through its diversity
With the ultimate objective of documenting all the cultures of the world in a collection of documentaries, the project Cultures on Film states its mission as:
Diffuse hatred and prejudice through documentary films that expose viewers to unrealized elements of cultures from every country in order to encourage each other to expand our horizons and challenge ourselves to discover the oneness of life and the interdependence of all beings.
One of their current global projects “The Human Experience” focuses on countries that are currently in conflict or poses under-represented cultures in the mainstream media such as Iran, Cuba, Rwanda, Cyprus, Romania, Indonesia and a few others.
Anyone knows of a similar project? Leave a comment.
Last week the Nobel Foundation awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences to Paul Krugman for his analysis of trade patterns and location of economic activity. A good summary of his work can be found in the post About the work in The New York Times. In his own words the New Trade Theory explains patterns of trade:
…the broad pattern of what countries produce is determined by things like resources and climate, but there’s a lot of additional specialization due to economies of scale, and there’s much more trade, especially between similar countries, than you would expect from a purely resource-based theory.
And on the impact of mobility of labor and capital:
Think of Henry Ford and his Model T. He could have established many factories, spread across the country, to be close to his customers. Instead, however, he found that it was worth incurring extra shipping costs to achieve the economies of scale of one big factory in Michigan.
And once you’re concentrating production in a limited number of locations, which locations will you choose? Locations where there’s a large market – which will be locations where lots of other producers have also chosen to concentrate their production.
Via Joi Ito’s blog: The Creative Commons people produced the video “A Shared Culture” which aside of being a great introduction to the idea behind the organization makes some great quotes such as
What does it mean to be human if we don’t have a shared culture and what does a shared culture mean if you can’t share it.
A Share Culture by Jesse Dylan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike (CC BY-NC-SA) license.
Oh, and this made me realize that at some point during one of the redesigns of this blog, I lost my original CC licensing widget. So, there: all the content in this blog is also licensed under a Creative Commons license (see sidebar).