🏛 Stoas near [[@agora/2023 01 18]]
📚 Node [[2023-01-18]]
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- Finished reading Neom and moving on to Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
- Why You Should Pay Attention to WebAssembly Steve O’Grady Redmonk #Wasm
- RIP, Passwords. Here’s What’s Coming Next. New York Times #Passkeys
13:50 public vs. private
TODO: Fix the writeroom-mode font configuration. I need a decent non-monospace font on this machine for Emacs to default to for writing things like this; I like the idea of summoning a focused environment.
Some rough ideas of public and private spaces, and America's shift towards private works.
Context: I'm flying from Portland to Austin, thinking about how beautiful and fit for its environment the Phoenix (layover) airport is despite its intent to be incredibly functional, thinking about what makes a city beautiful and worth living in as I evaluate my options and decide where to settle down and how and why, and why not Portland and why not Boston, etc… about monuments, and beautiful architectural works, and why they matter.
Building monuments used to be a role of great states. Societies, having accumulated some level of self-governance, power, wealth, and prestige, set out to establish beautiful foundations for their cities. DC nor Rome were built in a day, but of course both Hadrian and Jefferson dreamed of lived environments that could represent the development of seats of empires; Napoleon reconstructed Paris to be rebuilt in a wonderfully liveable and consistent fashion. None of these cities were built in a day; they have been built and rebuilt to last, through fires and
Where are our great works today?
Most American work in the last 100 years - aside from a few chance sponsorships of modernist architecture and establishing functional, critical infrastructure - has operated outside of government. The last highly orchestrated works of public architecture in the US, I believe, are in Chicago; their wonderful opportunity to reclaim and reconstruct the majority of their lakefront property aligned beautifully with globalization efforts like the World's Fair, spawning great works of architecture built for people; built to impress and help experience.
We spend the 1950s suburbanizing and building buildings not to serve the best needs of the people, but to advantage conglomerates and industry; to incentivize suburbanization as the final step towards colonizing America everywhere (How far can you drive on a given highway today without passing a subdivision?), to create career aspiration for people, and to continue to foster industry. The interesting phenomena here are the globalization/homogenization of the nation and American experience (pushing suburbs often pushed families apart, turning rich cultural backgrounds into grandma's recipes and making burgers and high schools and football the true "American culture", and with this came more rampant redistricting and erasure of minority spaces by white people, of course), this sentence needs to be shorter. The rise of mass media, and with it advertising, emerge to distribute and manufacture demand - there is likely a good Oglivy quote to throw in here - and sell people promises of higher-quality lifestyles than their upbringing through the depression or pre-immigration, and of course this all becomes tied to your benefits or health insurance package or credit score or mortgage and it turns out that the suburb you live in is selected by the company you work for, and we start to see a new kind of industrial town form, one that's not necessitated by mining or creating of natural resources but actually artificially contrived to be a town for a specific industry, like Sweetwater's suburb. [For better or for worse, city sensationalism and individualism has killed most of these job towns, with the internet accelerating their downfall and ubiquitous remote work putting the nail in the coffin for many].
But our cities work the same way, now; we've privatized so much infrastructure that there is no escaping these monopolies of telecom, of heat and water and gas and electric, of Hudson Yards and the killing of the NYC Metro card, of the Citizen app and all of this.
Today, most development in America seems to be the result of large, private companies. These can be great works - Hudson Yards finished the high line with a level of coordination I don't think NYC would have been able to muster themselves - but their incentives often don't align with the needs of the people, all of the people, who inhabit these public spaces, and often have some monopolistic interest in privatizing nominally public physical space. They can refuse service to anyone, and suddenly most of the city bathrooms are behind cafes and paywalls and there is ever more room for discrimination.
The rest of the essay:
- The decline of American infrastructure as a result of this 50s boom I describe
- How have other countries (i.e. Singapore) continued this tradition of building monumental architecture?
- Is the privatization of our cities an overall good?
- Where do we go from here? What should we aspire to build, as independent, altruistic people who want to create figures? I'll have to learn more about historical ways of building and make some claim myself; a persuasive piece would be more valuable than an overview.
- Analysis of 'More Monuments', 'The Neighborhood', 'CityDAO', 'CoverBuild', 'The Sidewalk' or whatever that development is in Tuscon, and third spaces deliberately funded for community, and where they fall
- Maybe out of scope, but could discuss libraries' rough transition to the digital world? This might be better fit for another piece.
- Maybe I should use cool words to describe the 'fabric' of cities, or the patterns we choose, or what makes things beautiful or not beautiful in the first place; I don't know if monuments and statues are beautiful, but I do believe that libraries are - and why else would every president have one?
I need a way for wakatime to log time locally, then update the server. I need better time tracking ubilt into the WM in general.