A whole bunch of interesting things to point to today:
- An interesting Smart City Radio program from 2007 explores the rebranding and redevelopment of a historic, and downtrodden, neighborhood in Cincinnati, here. Following that, an interview with a professor at SUNY Buffalo introduces the Tactical Sound Garden, wherein urban space is "overlaid" by audio files chosen to evoke certain feelings in different locations. Thus a place is continually modified through the way it "sounds."
- Speaking of sound, read about one woman's obsessive collecting of songs for the creation of "cinematic moments" for this summer's Olympics. Explore another facet of branding with sound:
When NBC's producers prepare a segment, they use the database to zero in on the exact tone they're looking to set. Producers can search by artist, album, instrumentation, mood, decade, and culture of origin, so when recapping a Norwegian's javelin victory subsequently overturned by a rules violation, they can utilize key words such as "rousing," "Scandinavian," and "moody" to hone their choices.
(via Flickr; that's some curtainwall!)
From Saffron's review:
Ultimately, though, it's the image of the great obelisk, shimmering like mercury in the afternoon sun, that many will remember. They may eventually forgive its vacuous facade, preferring to see the glass expanses as a blank canvas on which the city can project any dream it chooses.
- In Melbourne, a fun video from Streetsblog extols the virtues of the city's laneways and sidewalks, and the public realm that thrives there. The filmmaker writes:
Melbourne is simply wonderful. You can get lost in the nooks and crannies that permeate the city. As you walk you feel like free-flowing air with no impediments to your enjoyment. For a city with nearly four million people, the streets feel much like the hustle and bustle of New York City but without omnipresent danger and stress cars cause.
Related: A fine article from the Toronto Star on "the lost art of strolling:"
And so it is a measure of how far removed we have grown from ourselves that many of us now see walking as extraneous. It is viewed as a kind of hobby, a pastime, a luxury, certainly not essential, and definitely not a means of transportation.
Indeed, we have reached a point where we classify ourselves according to whether we walk or drive. Thus we are either drivers or pedestrians. Because walking is not considered necessary, we give precedence to those who travel in cars and trucks. From their perspective, people who walk are obstacles, in the way.
As the French realized 150 years ago, walking--specifically urban walking--is about much more than getting from one place to another. It is a mode of being, a way of relating, of existing in the world. The mere act of going out onto the street opens up a whole set of possibilities that lie at the heart of urban life.
- Also in Toronto, a couple improves upon what is already a significant undertaking--the demolition of their home and the construction of its replacement--with exhaustive documentation of their process.
With an eye toward creating a resource for other would-be builders, Jeremy Bell shares the ongoing story of 360 Winnett Avenue:
We had originally planned to build a rather traditional home, however at some point along the way our priorities changed. While we still need the extra space, we've come to realize we should be building a smarter home and not just a bigger home. We've also come to appreciate our eco-responsibilities and we felt it was important to document the realities that came with this decision.
So what started as a simple renovation, has blossomed into a true eco-challenge. How "green" can the average family actually be? What sacrifices will need to be made along the way? Is building "green" even worth it? I also think it's important to show people that building green is indeed possible, but doing so requires a change of priorities....
From start to finish, I want to share our experience with complete transparency; finding a contractor, choosing an architect, defining our green strategies and balancing the budget. In the end, I hope the site will stand as a guide for other would-be home builders. Something that will help eliminate the unknown and make a project of this scale more approachable.
More here. (Thanks, Jeremy!)