Our weekly roundup of the most intriguing articles about cities and urbanism we've come across in the past seven days.
"Brookyln Bar Has a Part of Its History Stolen," Michael Wilson, New York Times
Maybe another person would call the police. Not Pepe Montero. What in the world will he tell them? He doesn’t even know what day the thing was stolen. And they will ask him what it is worth.
“Absolutely no monetary value whatsoever,” Mr. Montero, 66, said.
Much has been written about the bar his parents opened in the 1940s, Montero Bar and Grill, a waterfront museum with alcohol. There are so many model ships, vintage photographs and old life preservers around that no one noticed right away when a single hook on the wall held, for the first time in about 17 years, nothing.
"In and Out of LOVE," Roman Mars, 99 Percent Invisible
LOVE Park may have become the Mecca of skateboarding, but skateboarding was never a legal activity there. Police chased (and still chase) away skateboarders, and can issue fines or even confiscate boards. And as the city gentrified, the grip on skating in LOVE Park tightened, and the city announced that the park would undergo a $1 million redesign to make the park unskateable.
"Beyond Code in the Tomorrow City," Nancy Scola, Next City
Since 2009, the San Francisco-based non-profit Code for America has embedded its budding techies in one-year fellowships with city halls around the country. The goal: To build apps that make city governments run more effectively and bolster engagement between citizens and civil servants. But even Code founder Jennifer Pahlka — who hatched the idea for her organization over beers in Flagstaff, Ariz. and will soon take a year off herself to serve as a White House chief technology officer — admits that apps alone can’t solve the world’s problems. That might explain why the group’s mission is in flux, with hard questions and new projects pushing the increasingly high-profile group into its own 2.0 moment.
"Urban Future, Urban Church," Aaron M. Renn, Urbanophile
Christianity is at a minimum tacitly urban skeptical in the US. (Judaism seems fairly urban-friendly but I don’t know enough about other religions to address their urban orientation). Thus there’s lessons to be seen in how they try to make the urban case to skeptical crowd, even if you don’t believe the faith message yourself.
"A Better Climate Change Model, Built By You," Stan Alcorn, Fast Company
Hyperlocal emission data is important for climate models, because climate change isn’t all about what’s happening in the sky. “We get a helping hand from the biosphere and land, because they’re kind of soaking up half of what we’re putting in the atmosphere,” says Gurney. “The concern is that that’s going to stop.” Mashing up satellite data and better location-specific emission data will hopefully help scientists like Gurney get to the bottom of exactly how vegetation is soaking up fossil fuel emissions, and if and when that process might halt.
"Epic Shanty Towns From Around the World," David Rosenberg, Slate
In 2009 photographer Noah Addis began working on a series titled “Future Cities” about squatter communities in densely populated cities around the world. Addis first became aware of the issue of informal urban development while traveling to Lagos, Nigeria, for his first foreign assignment as a newspaper photographer in 1999.
“I remember passing by miles and miles of these communities on my way from the airport into town,” Addis wrote via email. “At the time I was unaware that so many people in the world live on land they don’t own with no land tenure and no real security.”
Fourteen years later, Addis has traveled and photographed squatter communities in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro; Lima, Peru; Mexico City; Mumbai, India; Cairo; and Dhaka, Bangladesh. Addis said that originally he was more serendipitous with the project, “running around with a small camera and sort of looking for moments.” As the project progressed, he became interested in focusing on the architecture and landscape of the areas, examining the almost organic way the communities develop in conjunction with the needs of the inhabitants.