ur weekly roundup of the most intriguing articles about cities and urbanism we've come across in the past seven days. Share your favorites on Twitter with #cityreads.
"'Salvage City' and the Rust Belt Frontier Myth St. Louis," Michael R. Allen, Next City
The term “Rust Belt” itself exaggerates the physical decay and isolates the identity of many cities in static matter. Advocates, journalists and scholars have popularized the term, often endearingly, while perpetuating the emphasis on what makes these places frontiers of decline. Narratives of the Rust Belt are still focused on loss, rife with a cynical nostalgia and a nagging refusal to cast in with wealthier and less damaged cities. The singularity of the conditions of places like St. Louis and Detroit remains mythic fodder for would-be heroes of public policy, architectural design and public art. There are many Daniel Boones of the legacy cities.
"Modern-Day Flâneur," William Helmreich, Aeon Magazine
A round-up of our favorite reads.When I was nine, my father found a new form of entertainment for me. Whenever our schedules were free, we took the subway from Manhattan’s Upper West Side to the end of the line and walked around, exploring the neighbourhood. We saw swampy marshes in Canarsie, Brooklyn, public housing projects in Astoria, Queens, and beautiful, forested Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. One time, my father poked his head into a pub and everyone scattered. We never found out why.
In this way, I learned to love New York City. I still do.
"For Urban Design, Menino Era Scores Highs and Lows," Robert Campbell, The Boston Globe
In his 20-plus years in office, Mayor Thomas M. Menino began as the healer of Boston’s neighborhoods. Over time, he morphed into the commander of downtown development. Of course I’m simplifying. But I think that’s the short story people will remember about this mayor and his impact on the architecture of the city.
"In Blue-Collar Toledo, Ohio, a Windfall of Chinese Investments," Timothy Williams, New York Times
The realization was as surprising as it was momentous. Toledo, long known as Glass City, needed glass, and it could no longer be manufactured here quickly enough.
So Toledo turned to China to make the 360 panels, 1,300 pounds each, needed for an extension to the Toledo Museum of Art. Some here resented the move after China supplanted the United States as the world’s top glass producer. But in the process, city leaders began an improbable and remarkable relationship.
Over the past seven years since the museum project was completed, ties between Toledo and China have grown numerous. Chinese companies have paid more than $10 million in cash for two local hotels, a restaurant complex and a 69-acre waterfront property. Mayor Michael P. Bell has taken four trips to China in four years in search of investors. His business cards are double-sided, in English and Chinese.
"Scientific Proof That Cars and Cities Just Don't Mix," Shane Phillips, Planetizen
Cities aren't meant to be experienced from behind the wheel of a car. Researchers at the University of Surrey found that drivers perceive exactly the same things more negatively than those who walk, bike, or take transit, confirming the anecdotal experience of literally every person that's ever tried to find parking in an urban downtown.