Torre Metafórico

Originally posted on Let's Go LA:

Atlas Obscura has a fascinating look at the Torre de David in Caracas. This is a 45-story skyscraper that was originally intended to be finance industry office space, but construction was abandoned in 1994. Squatters moved in and today it’s the world’s tallest slum. Here’s the documentary:

Rest assured, a copy of that book is now making its way from Switzerland to the Southland. Shipping is free, so it only cost 45 euros (whatever the hell that is). If the current going price for City of Darkness on Amazon is any indication, maybe you should pick up a couple extra copies as an investment.

I bring up City of Darkness because the KowloonWalledCity came to mind as an obvious comparison, as another “vertical slum”. If you read City of Darkness, you’ll notice a striking similarity in the way that residents describe their community and the way that…

View original 737 more words

001 – Valencia/Bilbao/Barcelona – Vilaseca on Street Art in Spain – Urban Cultural Studies Podcast

UCS 001 Stephen Vilaseca on Street Art in Barcelona Valencia and Bilbao Spain (28 June 2013)   Conversational interview inspired by scholar Stephen Vilaseca‘s recent article “From Graffiti to Street Art: How Urban Artists Are Democratizing Spanish City Centers and Streets,” originally published in the journal Transitions: Journal of Franco-Iberian Studies (8, 2012). Topics include: public space, graffiti vs. street art, artists Escif, Frágil and Dr. Case, Valencia, Bilbao, and Barcelona. [LINK TO ORIGINAL PUBLISHER]

Wallhunters: The Slumlord Project (Baltimore)

WallHunters: The Slumlord Project

a89b757230f34a1283fa92c

[Watch the 5 minute video here]

[this post follows up on previous posts on artist Gaia posted on this blog]

The project will install 15 large street art pieces with posted info that reveals/publicizes the ownership of dilapidated vacant houses.

Using radical methods, our project will unite three forces to catalyze discussion of Baltimore’s vacancy problem and how to solve it:

  • Wall Hunters Inc, a recently  created, street  artist run non profit organization
  • Baltimore Slumlord Watch
  • a film being made that gives voice to the ignored on the topic of vacancy and the power of street art.

In short, the project will bring together 15 artists from around the country, each of whom will install a large piece on a dilapidated vacant house. QR codes and text detailing the ownership information that is uncovered by Slumlord Watch will accompany the art. Voices of the people who live in these neglected areas of town, will be heard Continue reading

Grand Opening Party for the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space

Grand Opening Party for MoRUS (Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space) History Museum Saturday, November 17th, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.
MoRUS’s Storefront in C-Squat 155 Avenue C, NYC (on the west side of the street between 9th and 10th Streets)
Come help us celebrate the opening of our very own community history museum with a party on Saturday, November 17th. We will be opening to the public at 3:00pm on Saturday the 17th and having events throughout the day, including a chain-cutting ceremony, tours, slide-shows by Seth Tobocman, and presentations by community organizers. Later in the evening, we will have music, dancing, Marching bands, food, and drinks to kick-off the opening of this innovative museum. Please spread the word and come join us at our grand opening party!
About the Museum:
The Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space (MoRUS) is a living archive of urban activism. The Museum chronicles the East Village community’s history and grassroots activism. It celebrates local activists who transformed abandoned buildings and vacant lots into vibrant community spaces and community gardens. Many of these innovative, sustainable concepts and designs have since pulsed out to the rest of the city and beyond.
The Museum provides access to an often untold version of NYC’s history through photography, videography, and authentic artifacts and documents. Committed to a mission of open community-based action, the museum is an all volunteer-run organization. With the space, we invite visitors to learn about and engage in grassroots activism of the past, present, and future.
In addition to our space in C-Squat, the Museum will be offering sustainable community workshops throughout the City and daily neighborhood tours accenting our rich activist history.
Press link: http//www.morusnyc.org/about-us/press
Visit the website at: http://www.morusnyc.org/

CFP-edited book on Marxism and Urban Culture

CFP-edited book on Marxism and Urban Culture

Submissions are invited for an edited book on Marxism and Urban Culture that has received initial interest from an international publisher known for their strength in Marxian-themed series and titles.

While all abstracts using a Marxian framework to approach culture in urban contexts are welcome, it is anticipated that submissions will conform to one of two subtypes reflecting the division of the book into Continue reading

CFP–new Journal of Urban Cultural Studies launched

Visit the new Journal of Urban Cultural Studies site here.

Call for Papers

The Journal of Urban Cultural Studies is a new peer-reviewed publication cutting across both the humanities and the social sciences in order to better understand the culture(s) of cities. The journal is open to studies that deal with culture, urban spaces and forms of urbanized consciousness the world over.

Although we embrace a broad definition of urban cultural studies, we are particularly interested in submissions that give equal weight to: a) one or more aspects of urban studies (everyday life, built environment, architecture, city planning, identity formation, transportation…) and b) analysis of one or more specific forms of cultural/textual production (literature, film, graphic novels, music, art, graffiti, videogames, online or virtual space…) in relation to a given urban space or spaces.

Essays of 7,000-10,000 words (including works cited and notes) should be sent by attachment to the Editor at urbanculturalstudies@gmail.com. JUCS is also open to proposals of special issues by guest editors working individually or in teams of two. All citations in other languages should be translated into English for the journal’s international reading public, in addition to including the original text.

While the journal does not publish book reviews, we do publish review essays—which should discuss 3-5 recent books on a shared topic or theme (or place) and run from 2,500 to 4,000 words. Review essays of urban-themed installations or other works of art are also welcome. These essays will be reviewed in house. Given our visual focus, we are interested in original, unpublished artwork on the topic of cities and in publishing articles accompanied by images where appropriate.

We encourage a variety of approaches to the urban phenomenon—the strengths of the editorial board run from urban geography to literature and film, photography and videogames, gender and sexuality, creative economy, popular music, Marxist approaches, fashion, urban planning, anthropology, sociology, Deaf culture, built environment, philosophy, architecture, detective fiction and noir, and more…

Sharon Zukin: The Cultures of Cities (1995)

Take note of the way in which Zukin’s work plays with the (much) earlier title by Lewis Mumford’s 1938 text.

In the preface, Zukin writes that hers are “very different concerns from those that animated Lewis Mumford’s classic work The Culture of Cities, whose title inspired mine. Though his book and mine are both concerned with urban design, democracy, and the market economy, for me the very concept of culture has become more explicit and problematic.”

The two books share many commonalities–as Zukin points out, even if only at a general level–but also differ fundamentally. This is true in terms of both content and perhaps more importantly, method. The content of Mumford’s book harkens back tot he medieval city as a way of gradually approaching more contemporary problems–namely, the way in which capitalist industrialization scarred the nineteenth-century city. And he is right to point out that the legacy of this formative role of industrialization on city planning has been disastrous. But Zukin focuses on more contemporary realities (museums, restaurants, theme parks, public spaces, etc.) and on a pluralist and more problematic notion of culture, asking “How do we connect what we experience in public space with ideologies and rhetorics of public culture?”

In the end, if culture for Mumford is a generalized reflection of the state of humanity’s civilization/barbarity, for Zukin, it is some else–something intimately connected to issues of power. Culture–while a “powerful means of controlling cities,” a “source of images and memories,” a “set of architectural themes,” the “unique competitive edge of cities” and the fuel for “the city’s symbolic economy”–is also a “dialogue” (heterogeneous and fluid), involving “material inequalities” and necessarily rooted in place.

Lewis Mumford: The Culture of Cities (1938)

Lewis Mumford’s The Culture of Cities is a classic: the editors of The City Reader (3rd edition) go so far as to say that, “Lewis Mumford’s magisterial The Culture of Cities (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1938) was the first and remains the best book on the culture of cities” (2005, 10). Yes and no.

Mumford advocated ‘decentralization’ and earned a reputation for hating large cities. Jane Jacobs, for example, had a different opinion. In her Death and Life of Great American Cities, in a discussion of “orthodox modern city planning and city architectural design” she directs readers to Mumford for “a sympathetic account which mine is not” (1992, 17). On Mumford’s The Culture of Cities, specifically, Jacobs writes that it “was largely a morbid and biased catalog of ills. The great city [for Mumford and others] was Megalopolis, Tyrannopolis, Nekropolis, a monstrosity, a tyranny, a living death. It must go” (Jacobs 1992, 20-21; also 207). The notion of “culture” invoked throughout Mumford’s book–despite earning a place int he title–is somewhat simplistic and vague–amounting to a generalized sign of human prosperity… e.g. Mumford speaks of a “non-metropolitan culture,” “human culture,” “advanced cultures,” “cultural impoverishment.”

While it remains a classic–a valuable and detailed exploration of the way cities were influenced by nineteenth-century industry (which he calls the “paleotechnic” era)–it seems insufficient if we are to understand how “The Culture of Cities” changes over the course of the twentieth century (and twenty-first), particularly given the postwar shifts described by Lefebvre in his Critique of Everyday Life…

more on this anon…

Lefebvrebot on the city (2) Rhythms

A robot possessing the urban knowledge of French philosopher and spatial theorist Henri Lefebvre (1901-1991) explores the multidimensional nature of the city. (part 2) This episode draws from Lefebvre’s work on Rhythmanalysis.