Category: Social Networking

On Small Step for Social Data?

When swivel.com launched in 2007 I was excited: at last, a company set themselves to creating a user-friendly platform for exploring data. However, something disappointing happened: the core software of the website hasn’t evolved much. The problems I identified in an early blog post, such as not highlighting user-created charts and the limited customization of […]

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Opening the Archive of ‘Fake Omaha’

The online magazine Triple Canopy has published an article by my friend Neil Greenberg about his “Fake Omaha” project. Illustrated with photos of some of the street maps of the fictional city, the article includes “transit schedules, redevelopment reports, internal memoranda, intra-office communications, and remarks prepared for public officials … in order to provide a […]

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Detroit and the Limits to Urban Decline

Since the middle of the 20th Century, no American city has experienced the severe economic shock experienced in Detroit. Analyzing the housing of the city, I found the city’s shrinking housing stock has declined at almost precisely the same amount per year, every year: 1% of the existing stock lost. This underlying regularity, independent apparent […]

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Book Review: Rybczynski’s Last Harvest

Witold Rybczynski’s 2007 book Last Harvest: From Cornfield to New Town is truly a unique book: an accessible, detailed narrative of the process of real estate development. The book describes the construction of a subdivision named New Daleville in southern Chester County in suburban Philadelphia. Or exurban, rather, since the development is over 45 miles […]

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The Paradox of Cheap Parking, in Real Time

Last spring, I heard about an interesting dataset about Ann Arbor, Michigan, where I lived for four years as an undergraduate student. Busy with the flurry of activity leading up to my completion of graduate school, I stored it away to look at later. After all, real-time information on cities is hard enough to come […]

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Searching for Philadelphia’s Trinities

When I visited Philadelphia in April 2007, I stayed with my friend Emily in an improbably tiny house. She had explained that it was off a pedestrian alley off an alley – itself an unusual description – but when I entered I discovered the house had, apparently, just one room. A tiny, twisting staircase led […]

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