Another round of Siftings from the past couple of days. Starting off with a couple of Occupy-related posts, including a great article from Saskia Sassen and Hans Haacke from Artforum entitled ‘Imminent Domain‘. The first sentence – “OCCUPYING IS NOT THE SAME as demonstrating…” points out a recent and annoying trend of calling any sort of protest an occupation. It diminishes the act of occupying to do so. Worth reading, but a snippet I will include:
“To occupy is to remake, even if temporarily, territory’s embedded and often deeply undemocratic logics of power, and to redefine the role of citizens, mostly weakened and fatigued after decades of growing inequality and injustice. Indeed, the occupations have revealed to what extent the reality of territory goes beyond its dominant meaning throughout the twentieth century, when the term was flattened to denote national sovereign territory.”
The National discusses a competition for Egypt’s Tahrir Square, particularly to provide a monument that is a “memorial competition to commemorate the actions of the revolution.” Particularly, the article mentions, is to remember the estimated 846 people who died in the protests (yes, that was a real occupation). It points out also, that while in the US, we can claim public space, and also claim a measure of shared atrocity with the liberal use of baton and pepper spray to disperse crowds, we’re still along way from bullets and grenades as a typical strategy, as is found in many parts of the world.
On a different note, Richard Florida, if anyone is still listening to him, has an article in the Atlantic on ‘How the Crash Will Reshape America’ which is worth a read, along with an interesting exploration on ‘The Case for Congestion‘ – which argues for some slow-ness, but perhaps not to the degree of the scenarios that imagined a “City Without Its Public Transportation” and what that would mean for automobile gridlock.
An article from the NY Times ‘Taking Parking Lots Seriously, as Public Spaces‘ includes some study from Eran Ben-Joseph, including some startling stats, such as that there are: “…500 million parking spaces in the country, occupying some 3,590 square miles, or an area larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined.”
The article and slideshow (thanks NY Times for not allowing pic downloads!!!) – also yielded a gem from Lewis Mumford, which has definitely made the rounds on Twitter and Facebook:
““As the critic Lewis Mumford wrote half a century ago, ‘The right to have access to every building in the city by private motorcar in an age when everyone possesses such a vehicle is the right to destroy the city.’”
And finally, from ‘Growing Your Greens’, an interesting Incredible Edible Public Garden in Irvine, California (with apologies for the host yelling all the time)… The title is a bit misleading, as it would be quite a feat to feed 200k of people with 7.5 acres. Enjoy.