Category: Technology

Placeblogs and the Nonplace Urban Realm

Communications technologies were supposed to doom urban community. After all, with high-quality, free, instantaneous communication with people from around the world, who cares about talking over the fence with the neighbor, or joining the local bowling league? Ironically, the Internet, the world’s most widely available communications medium, has sparked some of the most narrowly focused […]

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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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