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Los Angeles Linguistics Part 2: Regional Differences | Eric Brightwell
"Most metropolitan areas — at least the ones I’m familiar with — are divided both into neighborhoods and larger, multi-neighborhood administrative divisions or regions. Paris has its arrondissements, New York City its boroughs, Busan and Seoul have gu (구), Taipei has qū (區), St. Louis and New Orleans both have wards, Mexico City has municipios, and on. Their names vary, then, but the concept is generally the same and in most places the designations seem to be rather formalized and settled upon. In Los Angeles, the capital of informality and unsettlement, this is not the case.

Home to 10.17 million people, Los Angeles is by far the most populous of the US’ 3,007 counties and 64 parishes. It’s also home to a larger population of people than 42 of the 50 states. At 12,310 km2 in size, it also is larger than 37 of the world’s countries and dependencies. It is inevitable, then, that Los Angeles — county, city, and idea — would be divided into some sorts of regions but how depends on who’s doing the dividing. For example, the postal service assigns zip codes, law enforcement has patrol divisions, and the city council its districts. Some Angelenos have adopted those, however unwieldy and regardless of their purpose and are quick to claim authority — usually based on their status as a native — even though no two natives are apparently in agreement and there are, despite claims to the contrary, no official regional divisions.

My focus here is less one which neighborhoods belong to what regions but to how those regions came into being and how they’ve changed. In 1925, for example, English-Angeleno Aldous Huxley famously referred to Los Angeles as “nineteen suburbs in search of a metropolis.” I wonder how he arrived at the number nineteen. 46 years later, another English-Angeleno, Reyner Banham, divided the region into four “ecologies”: Autopia, the Foothills, the Plains of Id, and Surfurbia. As unlikely as it seems, it may’ve been the Los Angeles Times ambitious Mapping L.A. project, which only launched in 2009 (228 years after Los Angeles’s founding) that a serious effort was made to formalize the regional divisions of Los Angeles. Predictably, their valiant efforts (which incorporated input from the public) were not without controversy but for the most part, I am in general agreement with them and have, in the cases in which they apparently created a new designation, adopted them. I have also (when no such designation appears to have existed previously) coined a couple of my own — but only where there was no prior designation or consensus."
ericbrightwell  maps  mapping  losangeles  regions  nyc  paris  seoul  mexicocity  df  mexicodf  stlouis  nola  neworleans  neighborhoods  municipalities  losangelescounty  2018 
september 2018 by robertogreco
Reasons To Be Cheerful
"I’m starting an online project here that is an continuation and extension of some writing and talks I’ve done recently.

The project will be cross-platform—some elements may appear on social media, some on a website and some might manifest as a recording or performance… much of the published material will be collected here.

What is Reasons To Be Cheerful?

I imagine, like a lot of you who look back over the past year, it seems like the world is going to Hell. I wake up in the morning, look at the paper, and go, "Oh no!" Often I’m depressed for half the day. It doesn’t matter how you voted on Brexit, the French elections or the U.S. election—many of us of all persuasions and party affiliations feel remarkably similar.

As a kind of remedy and possibly as a kind of therapy, I started collecting good news that reminded me, "Hey, there's actually some positive stuff going on!" Almost all of these initiatives are local, they come from cities or small regions who have taken it upon themselves to try something that might offer a better alternative than what exits. Hope is often local. Change begins in communities.

I will post thoughts, images and audio relating to this initiative on whichever platform seems suitable and I’ll welcome contributions from others, if they follow the guidelines I’ve set for myself.

These bits of good news tend to fall into a few categories:

Education
Health
Civic Engagement
Science/Tech
Urban/Transportation
Energy
Culture

Culture, music and the arts might include, optimistically, some of my own work and projects, but just as much I hope to promote the work of others that has a proven track record.

Why do I do this? Why take the time? Therapy, I guess, though once in awhile I meet someone who has the connections and skills but might not be aware of some of these initiatives and innovations, so I can pass the information on. I sense that not all of this is widely known.

Emulation of successful models- 4 guidelines

I laid out 4 guidelines as I collected these examples:

1. Most of the good stuff is local. It’s more bottom up, community and individually driven. There are exceptions.

2. Many examples come from all over the world, but despite the geographical and cultural distances in many cases others can adopt these ideas—these initiatives can be utilized by cultures other than where they originated.

3. Very important. All of these examples have been tried and proven to be successful. These are not merely good IDEAS; they’ve been put into practice and have produced results.

4. The examples are not one-off, isolated or human interest, feel-good stories. They’re not stories of one amazing teacher, doctor, musician or activist- they’re about initiatives that can be copied and scaled up.

If it works, copy it

For example, in an area I know something about, there was an innovative bike program in Bogota, and years later, I saw that program become a model for New York and for other places.

The Ciclovia program in Bogota"
davidbyrne  politics  urban  urbanism  bogotá  curitiba  addiction  portugal  colombia  brazil  brasil  jaimelerner  cities  society  policy  qualityoflife  economics  drugs  health  healthcare  crime  ciclovia  bikes  biking  bikesharing  activism  civics  citybike  nyc  medellín  afroreggae  vigariogeral  favelas  obesity  childabuse  education  casamantequilla  harlem  civicengagment  engagement  women'smarch  northcarolina  ingridlafleur  afrotopia  detroit  seattle  citizenuniversity  tishuanajones  sunra  afrofuturism  stlouis  vancouver  britishcolumbia  transportation  publictransit  transit  velib  paris  climatechange  bipartisanship  energy  science  technology  culture  music  art  arts  behavior  medellin 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Why the Economic Fates of America’s Cities Diverged - The Atlantic
"What accounts for these anomalous and unpredicted trends? The first explanation many people cite is the decline of the Rust Belt, and certainly that played a role."



"Another conventional explanation is that the decline of Heartland cities reflects the growing importance of high-end services and rarified consumption."



"Another explanation for the increase in regional inequality is that it reflects the growing demand for “innovation.” A prominent example of this line of thinking comes from the Berkeley economist Enrico Moretti, whose 2012 book, The New Geography of Jobs, explains the increase in regional inequality as the result of two new supposed mega-trends: markets offering far higher rewards to “innovation,” and innovative people increasingly needing and preferring each other’s company."



"What, then, is the missing piece? A major factor that has not received sufficient attention is the role of public policy. Throughout most of the country’s history, American government at all levels has pursued policies designed to preserve local control of businesses and to check the tendency of a few dominant cities to monopolize power over the rest of the country. These efforts moved to the federal level beginning in the late 19th century and reached a climax of enforcement in the 1960s and ’70s. Yet starting shortly thereafter, each of these policy levers were flipped, one after the other, in the opposite direction, usually in the guise of “deregulation.” Understanding this history, largely forgotten today, is essential to turning the problem of inequality around.

Starting with the country’s founding, government policy worked to ensure that specific towns, cities, and regions would not gain an unwarranted competitive advantage. The very structure of the U.S. Senate reflects a compromise among the Founders meant to balance the power of densely and sparsely populated states. Similarly, the Founders, understanding that private enterprise would not by itself provide broadly distributed postal service (because of the high cost of delivering mail to smaller towns and far-flung cities), wrote into the Constitution that a government monopoly would take on the challenge of providing the necessary cross-subsidization.

Throughout most of the 19th century and much of the 20th, generations of Americans similarly struggled with how to keep railroads from engaging in price discrimination against specific areas or otherwise favoring one town or region over another. Many states set up their own bureaucracies to regulate railroad fares—“to the end,” as the head of the Texas Railroad Commission put it, “that our producers, manufacturers, and merchants may be placed on an equal footing with their rivals in other states.” In 1887, the federal government took over the task of regulating railroad rates with the creation of the Interstate Commerce Commission. Railroads came to be regulated much as telegraph, telephone, and power companies would be—as natural monopolies that were allowed to remain in private hands and earn a profit, but only if they did not engage in pricing or service patterns that would add significantly to the competitive advantage of some regions over others.

Passage of the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890 was another watershed moment in the use of public policy to limit regional inequality. The antitrust movement that sprung up during the Populist and Progressive era was very much about checking regional concentrations of wealth and power. Across the Midwest, hard-pressed farmers formed the “Granger” movement and demanded protection from eastern monopolists controlling railroads, wholesale-grain distribution, and the country’s manufacturing base. The South in this era was also, in the words of the historian C. Vann Woodward, in a “revolt against the East” and its attempts to impose a “colonial economy.”"



"By the 1960s, antitrust enforcement grew to proportions never seen before, while at the same time the broad middle class grew and prospered, overall levels of inequality fell dramatically, and midsize metro areas across the South, the Midwest, and the West Coast achieved a standard of living that converged with that of America’s historically richest cites in the East. Of course, antitrust was not the only cause of the increase in regional equality, but it played a much larger role than most people realize today.

To get a flavor of how thoroughly the federal government managed competition throughout the economy in the 1960s, consider the case of Brown Shoe Co., Inc. v. United States, in which the Supreme Court blocked a merger that would have given a single distributor a mere 2 percent share of the national shoe market.

Writing for the majority, Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren explained that the Court was following a clear and long-established desire by Congress to keep many forms of business small and local: “We cannot fail to recognize Congress’ desire to promote competition through the protection of viable, small, locally owned business. Congress appreciated that occasional higher costs and prices might result from the maintenance of fragmented industries and markets. It resolved these competing considerations in favor of decentralization. We must give effect to that decision.”

In 1964, the historian and public intellectual Richard Hofstadter would observe that an “antitrust movement” no longer existed, but only because regulators were managing competition with such effectiveness that monopoly no longer appeared to be a realistic threat. “Today, anybody who knows anything about the conduct of American business,” Hofstadter observed, “knows that the managers of the large corporations do their business with one eye constantly cast over their shoulders at the antitrust division.”

In 1966, the Supreme Court blocked a merger of two supermarket chains in Los Angeles that, had they been allowed to combine, would have controlled just 7.5 percent of the local market. (Today, by contrast there are nearly 40 metro areas in the U.S where Walmart controls half or more of all grocery sales.) Writing for the majority, Justice Harry Blackmun noted the long opposition of Congress and the Court to business combinations that restrained competition “by driving out of business the small dealers and worthy men.”

During this era, other policy levers, large and small, were also pulled in the same direction—such as bank regulation, for example. Since the Great Recession, America has relearned the history of how New Deal legislation such as the Glass-Steagall Act served to contain the risks of financial contagion. Less well remembered is how New Deal-era and subsequent banking regulation long served to contain the growth of banks that were “too big to fail” by pushing power in the banking system out to the hinterland. Into the early 1990s, federal laws severely limited banks headquartered in one state from setting up branches in any other state. State and federal law fostered a dense web of small-scale community banks and locally operated thrifts and credit unions.

Meanwhile, bank mergers, along with mergers of all kinds, faced tough regulatory barriers that included close scrutiny of their effects on the social fabric and political economy of local communities. Lawmakers realized that levels of civic engagement and community trust tended to decline in towns that came under the control of outside ownership, and they resolved not to let that happen in their time.

In other realms, too, federal policy during the New Deal and for several decades afterward pushed strongly to spread regional equality. For example, New Deal programs such as the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Bonneville Power Administration, and the Rural Electrification Administration dramatically improved the infrastructure of the South and West. During and after World War II, federal spending on the military and the space program also tilted heavily in the Sunbelt’s favor.

The government’s role in regulating prices and levels of service in transportation was also a huge factor in promoting regional equality. In 1952, the Interstate Commerce Commission ordered a 10-percent reduction in railroad freight rates for southern shippers, a political decision that played a substantial role in enabling the South’s economic ascent after the war. The ICC and state governments also ordered railroads to run money-losing long-distance and commuter passenger trains to ensure that far-flung towns and villages remained connected to the national economy.

Into the 1970s, the ICC also closely regulated trucking routes and prices so they did not tilt in favor of any one region. Similarly, the Civil Aeronautics Board made sure that passengers flying to and from small and midsize cities paid roughly the same price per mile as those flying to and from the largest cities. It also required airlines to offer service to less populous areas even when such routes were unprofitable.

Meanwhile, massive public investments in the interstate-highway system and other arterial roads added enormously to regional equality. First, it vastly increased the connectivity of rural areas to major population centers. Second, it facilitated the growth of reasonably priced suburban housing around high-wage metro areas such as New York and Los Angeles, thus making it much more possible than it is now for working-class people to move to or remain in those areas.

Beginning in the late 1970s, however, nearly all the policy levers that had been used to push for greater regional income equality suddenly reversed direction. The first major changes came during Jimmy Carter’s administration. Fearful of inflation, and under the spell of policy entrepreneurs such as Alfred Kahn, Carter signed the Airline Deregulation Act in 1978. This abolished the Civil Aeronautics Board, which had worked to offer rough regional parity in airfares and levels of service since 1938… [more]
us  cities  policy  economics  history  inequality  via:robinsonmeyer  2016  philliplongman  regulation  deregulation  capitalism  trusts  antitrustlaw  mergers  competition  markets  banks  finance  ronaldreagan  corporatization  intellectualproperty  patents  law  legal  equality  politics  government  rentseeking  innovation  acquisitions  antitrustenforcement  income  detroit  nyc  siliconvalley  technology  banking  peterganong  danielshoag  1950s  1960s  1970s  1980s  1990s  greatdepression  horacegreely  chicago  denver  cleveland  seattle  atlanta  houston  saltlakecity  stlouis  enricomoretti  shermanantitrustact  1890  cvannwoodward  woodrowwilson  1912  claytonantitrustact  louisbrandeis  federalreserve  minneapolis  kansascity  robinson-patmanact  1920s  1930s  miller-tydingsact  fdr  celler-kefauveract  emanuelceller  huberhumphrey  earlwarren  richardhofstadter  harryblackmun  newdeal  interstatecommercecommission  jimmycarter  alfredkahn  airlinederegulationact  1978  memphis  cincinnati  losangeles  airlines  transportation  rail  railroads  1980  texas  florida  1976  amazon  walmart  r 
march 2016 by robertogreco
How municipalities in St. Louis County, Mo., profit from poverty - The Washington Post
"Until recently, the Florissant court was one of many that had barred outsiders from its proceedings. After critics like the ArchCity Defenders pointed out that this violated the Missouri Constitution, a circuit court judge ordered these towns to change their policies. Defense attorneys say some courts still haven’t gotten the message. But in Florissant, the city council had a particularly odd response to the order. Town officials claimed the old courtroom was too small to accommodate all the defendants and attorneys, plus journalists, families, and observers. In addition to moving its municipal court to a gymnasium, just last week the council voted to add a $10 fee to every ordinance violation to fund a new, larger courthouse.

After all the recent national attention on Ferguson, local attorneys are floored. “It’s just completely tone deaf,” says Khazaeli. “They got caught violating the law. So in response they’re going to build themselves a new courthouse, and they’re going to finance it on the backs of the poor. It’s incredible.”

Harvey says there’s a much easier way to address the crowded courthouse problem. “They could just hold more court sessions. That would easily take care of the overcrowding. It would also make life a little easier for the people who have to come to court. But that would cost the city money. So instead they’re just going to slap a new tax on the poor.”

Still, local attorneys say that even before the rule change, the lines for municipal court sessions in these towns — particularly the poorer towns — could often outside the courthouse doors and wind down sidewalks for blocks.

Florissant is one of the larger towns in the county, with a population of about 52,000. It’s also a bit more affluent, which an average household income above the state average, although its employment rate is slightly lower. Last year the town issued 29,072 tickets for traffic offenses. Florissant collected about $3 million in fines and court costs in fiscal year 2013, about 13 percent of its 2013 revenue. As of June of last year, Florissant’s municipal court also held more than 11,000 outstanding arrest warrants.

For comparison, consider Lee’s Summit, a suburb of Kansas City in Jackson County with a population of 92,000. Yet despite being nearly twice Florissant’s size, in 2013 Lee’s Summit issued a third as many traffic tickets (9,651), and collected less than half as much revenue from its municipal court ($1.44 million) as Florissant. As of June of last year, Lee’s Summit held 2,872 outstanding arrest warrants, only one fourth as many as Florissant.

There are many towns in St. Louis County where the number of outstanding arrest warrants can exceed the number of residents, sometimes several times over. No town in Jackson County comes close to that: The highest ratios are in the towns of Grandview (about one warrant for every 3.7 residents), Independence (one warrant for every 3.5 residents), and Kansas City itself (one warrant for every 1.8 residents).

Just inside the courthouse/gymnasium door in Florissant, two police officers and a court clerk check people in. In the middle of the gym, about 200 chairs sit neatly aligned in rows. Court has been in session for over an hour now, but most of the seats are still occupied. About 80 percent of the people in the gym tonight are black, even though blacks make up just 27 percent of the town. According to statistics compiled by Missouri’s attorney general’s office, 71 percent of the people pulled over by Florissant police in 2013 were black. The search and arrest rates for blacks were also twice as high as those rates for whites, even though whites were more likely to be found with contraband, a contradiction that has also been widely reported in Ferguson.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, blacks make up less than eight percent of the Florissant police force. The judge and both prosecutors are white. In nearly all the towns in St. Louis County, the prosecutors and judges in these courts are part-time positions, and are not elected, but appointed by the mayor, town council, or city manager. According to a recent white paper published by the ArchCity Defenders, the chief prosecutor in Florissant Municipal Court makes $56,060 per year. It’s a position that requires him to work 12 court sessions per year, at about three hours per session. The Florissant prosecutor is Ronald Brockmeyer, who also has a criminal defense practice in St. Charles County, and who is also the chief municipal prosecutor for the towns of Vinita Park and Dellwood. He is also the judge – yes, the judge — in both Ferguson and Breckenridge Hills. Brockmeyer isn’t alone: Several other attorneys serve as prosecutor in one town and judge in another. And at least one St. Louis County assistant district attorney is also a municipal court judge.

“I had a felony criminal case in state court a few weeks ago,” says a local defense attorney, who asked not to be quoted by name. “Sometimes criminal cases can get contentious. You have to do everything you can to defend your client, and sometime your interaction with a prosecutor can get combative. A few days later, I was representing a client who had a few warrants in a municipal court where the same prosecutor I was just battling with is now the judge. Is my client is going to get a fair hearing? You hope so. But it sure looks like a conflict to me.”"

Florissant is one of the larger towns in the county, with a population of about 52,000. It’s also a bit more affluent, which an average household income above the state average, although its employment rate is slightly lower. Last year the town issued 29,072 tickets for traffic offenses. Florissant collected about $3 million in fines and court costs in fiscal year 2013, about 13 percent of its 2013 revenue. As of June of last year, Florissant’s municipal court also held more than 11,000 outstanding arrest warrants.

For comparison, consider Lee’s Summit, a suburb of Kansas City in Jackson County with a population of 92,000. Yet despite being nearly twice Florissant’s size, in 2013 Lee’s Summit issued a third as many traffic tickets (9,651), and collected less than half as much revenue from its municipal court ($1.44 million) as Florissant. As of June of last year, Lee’s Summit held 2,872 outstanding arrest warrants, only one fourth as many as Florissant.

There are many towns in St. Louis County where the number of outstanding arrest warrants can exceed the number of residents, sometimes several times over. No town in Jackson County comes close to that: The highest ratios are in the towns of Grandview (about one warrant for every 3.7 residents), Independence (one warrant for every 3.5 residents), and Kansas City itself (one warrant for every 1.8 residents).

Just inside the courthouse/gymnasium door in Florissant, two police officers and a court clerk check people in. In the middle of the gym, about 200 chairs sit neatly aligned in rows. Court has been in session for over an hour now, but most of the seats are still occupied. About 80 percent of the people in the gym tonight are black, even though blacks make up just 27 percent of the town. According to statistics compiled by Missouri’s attorney general’s office, 71 percent of the people pulled over by Florissant police in 2013 were black. The search and arrest rates for blacks were also twice as high as those rates for whites, even though whites were more likely to be found with contraband, a contradiction that has also been widely reported in Ferguson.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, blacks make up less than eight percent of the Florissant police force. The judge and both prosecutors are white. In nearly all the towns in St. Louis County, the prosecutors and judges in these courts are part-time positions, and are not elected, but appointed by the mayor, town council, or city manager. According to a recent white paper published by the ArchCity Defenders, the chief prosecutor in Florissant Municipal Court makes $56,060 per year. It’s a position that requires him to work 12 court sessions per year, at about three hours per session. The Florissant prosecutor is Ronald Brockmeyer, who also has a criminal defense practice in St. Charles County, and who is also the chief municipal prosecutor for the towns of Vinita Park and Dellwood. He is also the judge – yes, the judge — in both Ferguson and Breckenridge Hills. Brockmeyer isn’t alone: Several other attorneys serve as prosecutor in one town and judge in another. And at least one St. Louis County assistant district attorney is also a municipal court judge.

“I had a felony criminal case in state court a few weeks ago,” says a local defense attorney, who asked not to be quoted by name. “Sometimes criminal cases can get contentious. You have to do everything you can to defend your client, and sometime your interaction with a prosecutor can get combative. A few days later, I was representing a client who had a few warrants in a municipal court where the same prosecutor I was just battling with is now the judge. Is my client is going to get a fair hearing? You hope so. But it sure looks like a conflict to me.”

Many of the appointed judges and prosecutors not only don’t reside in the jurisdictions they serve, they have very little in common with the people who do. For example, in the tony town of Clayton, there’s a sheen office building on South Bemiston Avenue with darkened, opaque windows. On the second floor, behind a grand oak door, is the law firm of Curtis, Heinz, Garret, & O’Keefe. The firm employs several attorneys who serve as either prosecutor or assistant prosecutor for at least nine different municipalities. One of the firm’s attorneys, Keith Cheung, is the municipal prosecutor for the towns of Velda City, Hazelwood, and St. Ann, and is also the municipal judge for the city of Ladue. The firm also includes attorneys who serve as the official city attorney in several more … [more]
law  legal  poverty  inequaliity  politics  2014  ferguson  stlouis  race  corruption  courts  lawyers 
september 2014 by robertogreco
The North Campus - St. Louis, MO
"North Campus is a community centered around education. Located in north St. Louis City, North Campus includes the O’Fallon neighborhood and sections of the Penrose and College Hill neighborhoods (See our map here: www.northcampus.org/map). Our goal is to build a pipeline of success from birth through college graduation for all the children living in our boundaries.

We presently are doing in-school tutoring and after-school tutoring and enrichment programs for 3rd-8th graders living or attending school on-campus. Our partners include St. Louis Public Schools, Teach For America, the Incarnate Word Foundation, the YMCA, the Boys & Girls Club, the St. Louis Dream Center, the Fathers Support Center, the North Newstead Association, the St. Louis Chess Club, and student groups from St. Louis University and Washington University in St. Louis.

Our Mission is to coordinate an expansive network of partnerships working together for a common goal: providing the children of the North Campus with a world-class education and an enriching childhood experience so that they will ultimately lift themselves and their families out of poverty."
stlouis  education  lcproject  openstudioproject  antoniofrench  community 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Rebuild Foundation
"Rebuild Foundation catalyzes neighborhood revitalization through artistic practices, individual empowerment and community engagement. We accomplish this by:

Activating underutilized spaces in the community with arts and cultural programming.

Providing opportunities and spaces for neighbors to come together and engage in meaningful exchanges that spark collaborative action.

Empowering artists and creative individuals to realize their potential as community change agents.

Investing in the development of the skills and talents of local residents to catalyze entrepreneurial efforts."



"Rebuild Foundation, a not-for-profit creative engine focused on cultural-driven redevelopment and affordable space initiatives in under-resourced communities, currently manages projects in Chicago, St. Louis and Omaha. Our programs enlist teams of artists, architects, developers, educators, community activists, and residents who work together to integrate the arts, apprenticeship trade training and creative entrepreneurship into a community-driven process of neighborhood transformation. Rebuild engages an artistic practice which uses as its medium the urban fabric of under-resourced districts, bridging the creation of art with adaptive reuse of abandoned spaces and community-driven initiatives for neighborhood revitalization.

Rebuild Foundation is the creation of Chicago native, artist, urban planner, and Wall Street Journal 2012 Innovator of the Year, Theaster Gates, Jr. who has conducted innovative renovation of unused spaces and community service activities through his art practice since 2005. Rebuild received its official 501©3 status in December 2010, and immediately continued Gates’ work leveraging creative community resources to build thriving neighborhoods. We act as a catalyst in local economies by integrating arts and cultural programming, workforce enhancement, creative entrepreneurial investment, hands-on education, and artistic intervention. Rebuild began creating cultural programming in Gates' renovated and repurposed buildings first in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood of Chicago’s South Side. Next, Rebuild established operations in the Hyde Park neighborhood of St. Louis, activating two residential spaces of Gates'. Soon after, Rebuild entered a partnership with Beyond Housing to establish a programming hub from one of their neighborhood spaces in the north St. Louis community of Pagedale. Also in 2011, Rebuild began a partnership with the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha to activate a derelict bank building with renovation, arts programming, and the incubation of a local small business.

Rebuild hosted the 2012 Bruner Loeb Forum "The Art of Placemaking" conference and will break ground on the Dorchester Artist Housing Collaborative in 2013 with the Chicago Housing Authority, transforming an empty housing project into a 36-unit complex with mixed income housing and a community arts center for programming, performance, and arts exhibition.

Rebuild Foundation has received funding support from ArtPlace, Creative Capital Foundation, JB and MK Pritzker Foundation, Kanter Family Foundation, Kresge Foundation, Surdna Foundation, Leveraging Investments in Creativity, W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation, University of Chicago, and others."
chicago  art  artists  theastergates  rebuildfoundation  revitalization  community  participatory  neighborhoods  activism  collaboration  omaha  stlouis  place  placemaking 
july 2014 by robertogreco
The Commonspace > June 2004 > Expatriates
"There are, as far as I have been able to discover, three cities in the world that share the name Saint Louis: the dilapidated colonial ruins on an island off the northern coast of Brazil, in the state of Maranhão; our sister city — the dilapidated colonial ruins on a fluvial island near the edge of the Sahara desert, in Senegal; and ours, the dilapidated colonial ruins that lie along the banks of the Mississippi. All once great. All once golden. Today, all lie in ruin.

I love our ruin. I have to. I am a product of that ruin, for better or for worse. To me, the ruins are completely surreal. They exist on a different physical plane, in a different time. Monuments to Indian burial mounds. Tenement complexes overgrown with vines. Vast expanses of natural grasses, where entire blocks once stood. Snoots and tips. Blues, jazz, and soul being played to almost empty clubs. Arson.

I have always suffered ridicule for being from Saint Louis, especially from East coasters who are fond of making comments like, "If you are not living in New York you are just camping out." But I know that Saint Louis, along with Memphis and New Orleans — the crowning gems of the American Nile — form the true cradle of American culture. We are the cultural standard-bearers of the nation, despite the fact the little credit is ever given, and despite the fact that Saint Louisans themselves rarely do their part to improve our image.

I should clarify that Saint Louis to me is just the part east of Skinker. The suburbs, the sprawl, and the people that contribute to them, are my real enemies. I think we ought to build a Great Wall around the City and charge toll for the suburbanites to visit the Arch, the stadium, the zoo, the museums, the parks, and the other marvelous public resources the City offers for free to all. Let's see where the suburbanites will draw their inspiration and cultural identities from when their access has been cut off. When I lived in Saint Louis I made a vow never to stray west of Skinker, on principle.

I have lived in Brazil for many years now, because I found that I am freer in Brazil than in the USA. Free of the Puritanism and false morality in the States; the sexual repression; the obsession with consumerism and material goods, and work, work, work, at the cost of friendships, family and quality of life; free of the terrible diet of fast food, processed food, industrialized, over-packaged food, and over-packaged lifestyles; free of the cold winters; and most importantly, free of the racism. Brazil may be a classist country, but it has at least recognized and embraced its African influences. Saint Louis, and the rest of the United States, owes a tremendous debt to the cultural contribution of African-Americans, a debt that can never be repaid. Yet no one wants to acknowledge this debt. In fact, Saint Louis continues to adhere to a social regime tantamount to apartheid. This makes me feel true shame.

I grew up near Delmar Blvd., at a time when that street practically divided the City in two halves — blacks to the north, whites to the south. Today, with "white flight" at its most expressive levels in decades, and with Saint Peters the fastest growing city in the state, the south side has taken on a more diverse character, but the dichotomy between white and black continues strong as ever. No contact between the races. I am not even surprised any more when I hear whites in Saint Louis say they have never heard of the St. Louis American.

I moved back to Saint Louis from Brazil in 1995, because I had decided to wanted to spearhead an urban pioneer movement, to repopulate abandoned areas of the city. Tax abatements, neighborhood associations and marketing campaigns only go so far. The war is won on an individual level. Someone has to move to the City and become an example, convincing others to follow. Someone has to dispel the myths of crime and hatred. Someone has to take action. So I bought an abandoned smokehouse from the LRA (Land Reutilization Authority) on Iowa, with a friend of mine, and without any financial resources to speak of we started fixing it up with our own four hands. The crack dealers on the block burned it to the ground, but we were relentless in our commitment. We traded the ashes for another building — squatting in the second without electricity for many months — until we had it back up to habitable conditions. It served as my home for several years. I made lasting friendships with neighbors that most Saint Louisans would never give themselves the chance to meet.

In fact, my friends from the suburbs continued intransigent in their stance. It was like high school all over again: attending the Priory, I was one of a handful of boys that lived in the City. My friends were not allowed to visit my home. Their parents thought I lived in the jungle, and that their children would be robbed, raped, or murdered if they left West County. In college, when I lived near Crown Candy, I convinced a few to visit. It was like taking them to a foreign country. They had never even driven through north city. They didn't even know it existed! Living in my LRA property I discovered that nothing had changed years later. People were still unable to overcome their prejudice and fear. They actually liked hiding out in Saint Peters. And so, recognizing that we live in a cultural democracy, where people vote with their feet, I accepted the defeat of my pioneer efforts and returned to Brazil.

I miss a lot of things about Saint Louis, especially the radio. When I was growing up there were more than five or six full-time jazz stations: KBIL, KWMU, WSIE, KATZ (on the prowl). Webster University had a real funky one, too, but I don't remember the call letters. There was even a smooth jazz station, though I never liked it much. Add all these to KDHX, and its eclectic array of programming, and man, we were in a really privileged position musically. That was a fact. I got hooked on funk, soul, R&B, jazz, blues, reggae, rap, African. You name it. If it had roots in the diaspora of African music, it got played on Saint Louis radio. Saint Louis is a deeply funky place, but so many people are unable to tap into the vibe.

I do not consider myself a patriotic person. I don't care much for the USA as a whole, but I have deep, unseverable ties to Saint Louis. And the reason for this is that Saint Louis is a very unique place. I just can't figure out why people are so self-denigrating, why they can't define and give value to what makes them so special. I have a different vision, but it doesn't seem like many people share it with me, so it has just remained a daydream that I indulge in moments of homesickness. Maybe my Saint Louis will only ever exist in my mind."
stlouis  2004  tomkarsten  friends  missouri  maranhão  mississippiriver  ruins  midwest  us  patriotism  brazil  brasil  race  class  society  segregation 
april 2014 by robertogreco
CITY MUSEUM
"Welcome to City Museum, where the imagination runs wild!

Housed in the 600,000 square-foot former International Shoe Company, the museum is an eclectic mixture of children’s playground, funhouse, surrealistic pavilion, and architectural marvel made out of unique, found objects. The brainchild of internationally acclaimed artist Bob Cassilly, a classically trained sculptor and serial entrepreneur, the museum opened for visitors in 1997 to the riotous approval of young and old alike.

Cassilly and his longtime crew of 20 artisans have constructed the museum from the very stuff of the city; and, as a result, it has urban roots deeper than any other institutions’. Reaching no farther than municipal borders for its reclaimed building materials, City Museum boasts features such as old chimneys, salvaged bridges, construction cranes, miles of tile, and even two abandoned planes!

“City Museum makes you want to know,” says Cassilly. “The point is not to learn every fact, but to say, ‘Wow, that’s wonderful.’ And if it’s wonderful, it’s worth preserving.”"
stlouis  museums  childrensmuseums  bobcassilly  tosee  missouri 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Penn South and Pruitt-Igoe, Starkly Different Housing Tales - NYTimes.com
"Penn South is a cooperative in affluent, 21st-century Manhattan past which chic crowds hustle every day to and from nearby Chelsea’s art galleries, apparently oblivious to it. It thrives within a dense, diverse neighborhood of the sort that makes NY special. Pruitt-Igoe, segregated de facto, isolated & impoverished, collapsed along w/ the industrial city around it.

But they’re both classic examples of modern architecture, the kind Mr. Jencks, among countless others, left for dead: superblocks of brick & concrete high rises scattered across grassy plots, so-called towers in the park, descended from Le Corbusier’s “Radiant City.” The words “housing project” instantly conjure them up.

Alienating, penitential breeding grounds for vandalism & violence: that became the tower in the park’s epitaph. But Penn South, with its stolid redbrick, concrete-slab housing stock, is clearly a safe, successful place. In this case the architecture works. In St. Louis, where the architectural scheme…"
2012  urbanism  urban  design  comparison  nyc  stlouis  lecorbusier  architecture  pruitt-igoe 
january 2012 by robertogreco
The Disruption Department
"First, the disruption department will pull together essential learning tools like computers, video cameras, internet, etc. and put them in the hands of students and teachers who need them. The department itself will own equipment that can be used temporarily in classrooms throughout the city.  Teachers can check-out this equipment, which will then be delivered to each classroom with relevant training and planning so these tools can be used to the highest potential. Additionally, the department will act as a source for finding funders, business with computers to donate, and fundraising websites so that necessary resources can be utilized by students and teachers throughout the city. These objects will be permanent fixtures in the classrooms of the teachers who partner with the department to locate these resources."
lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  stlouis  education  empowerment  studioclassroom  learning  tcsnmy 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Stan Cohen - Diary: The gradual anarchist | New Humanist
"late 60s…heady years for libertarian left…new generation of radicals had gone through rapid education that skipped orthodox Marxism & traditional anarchism, plunging straight into dialectics of liberation, Fanonism, International Situationism & more. Under this influence group of us…had begun to question assumptions & boundaries of our academic discipline…looked for links to anarchist tradition &…flirted w/ late 19th-century idea of criminal as crypto-revolutionary hero.

What attracted us to anarchism?…3 obvious affinities:…distrust of all authority…undermining of professional power (Illich-style de-schooling, anti-psychiatry…critique of state, especially its power to criminalise & punish.

These standard anarchist concerns always informed Colin’s agenda…had little time for “apocalyptic” or “insurrectionary” anarchism. His approach was pragmatic, gradualist, even reformist…His anarchism was not a glorification of chaos & disorder but encouragement of special form of order…"
politics  activism  anarchism  obituary  colinward  situationist  marxism  pragmatism  1960s  2010  hierarchy  creativity  individuality  socialspaces  architecture  criminology  insurrection  apocalypse  chaos  disorder  deschooling  ivanillich  anti-psychiatry  criminalization  behavior  society  fanonism  liberation  freedom  cities  urban  urbanism  defensiblespaces  space  place  housing  state  pruitt-igoe  stlouis  hopefulness  patience  insecurity  victimization  crime  housingprojects  oscarnewman 
march 2011 by robertogreco
The Pruitt-Igoe Myth – a Documentary
[available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKgZM8y3hso ]

"It began as a housing marvel. Two decades later, it ended in rubble. But what happened to those caught in between?

The Pruitt-Igoe Myth tells the story of the transformation of the American city in the decades after World War II, through the lens of the infamous Pruitt-Igoe housing development and the St. Louis residents who called it home.

At the film’s historical center is an analysis of the massive impact of the national urban renewal program of the 1950s and 1960s, which prompted the process of mass suburbanization and emptied American cities of their residents, businesses, and industries.

Those left behind in the city faced a destitute, rapidly de-industrializing St. Louis , parceled out to downtown interests and increasingly segregated by class and race."
documentary  architecture  housing  publichousing  urban  urbanism  urbanplanning  history  stlouis  pruitt-igoe 
january 2011 by robertogreco
Historic St. Louis Schools Face Uncertain Future : NPR
"The city of St. Louis is trying to decide what will become of many of its historic school buildings and the neighborhoods that they anchor.
stlouis  schools  buildings  realestate  history 
april 2009 by robertogreco
STLtoday - News - Education: Mayor Slay pushes system of charter schools
"groundwork for new system of hand-picked public charter schools, to rival the city's sinking school district, draw families back to city...will send roughly 70 letters to local educators, nonprofit education groups, big charter school companies across th
stlouis  education  schools  policy  choice  competition  lcproject 
november 2007 by robertogreco

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