A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘psychogeography

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait looks at the dusty spiral of galaxy M81, here.
  • Crooked Timber reacts positively to the Astra Taylor short film What Is Democracy?
  • D-Brief notes that, in the South Atlantic, one humpback whale population has grown from 440 individuals to 25 thousand, nearly completing its recovery from whaling-era lows.
  • Dangerous Minds looks at The Iguanas, first band of Iggy Pop.
  • The Dragon’s Tales looks at consideration in South Korea at building an aircraft carrier.
  • Todd Schoepflin at the Everyday Sociology Blog looks at the division of labour within his family.
  • Far Outliers looks at 17th century clashes between England and Barbary Pirates.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at how antibiotics are getting everywhere, contaminating food chains worldwide.
  • Victor Mair at Language Log looks at the evidence not only for an ancient Greek presence in Central Asia, but for these Greeks’ contact with China.
  • Dan Nexon at Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that the attempt by Trump to get Ukraine to spy on his enemies was driven by what Russia and Hungary alleged about corruption in Ukraine.
  • The LRB Blog looks at the transnational criminal network of the Hernandez brothers in Honduras, a source of a refugee diaspora.
  • Marginal Revolution shares an argument suggesting that marriage is useful for, among other things, encouraging integration between genders.
  • Sean Marshall looks at how the death of the Shoppers World in Brampton heralds a new urbanist push in that city.
  • At the NYR Daily, Helen Joyce talks of her therapeutic experiences with psychedelic drugs.
  • Drew Rowsome reviews the Toronto play The Particulars.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel considers if inflation came before, or after, the Big Bang.
  • John Scalzi at Whatever has a short discussion about Marvel films that concludes they are perfectly valid.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests that central Ukraine has emerged as a political force in post-1914 Ukraine.
  • Arnold Zwicky considers the Indian pickle.

[URBAN NOTE] Five Toronto links: housing & ODSP, Crystal Papineau, Y&E Brooke Lynn Hites, loneliness

  • Justin Haynes writes at NOW Toronto about the exceptional difficulty of finding affordable housing in Toronto for people on ODSP.
  • CBC Toronto reports on the life of Crystal Papineau, a homeless woman who died in a tragic accident in Bloorcourt.
  • Transit Toronto notes that Yonge and Eglinton is going to be disrupted for the next two months by Eglinton Crosstown construction.
  • Toronto Life looks at Brooke Lynn Hites, the first Canadian contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
  • Samantha Edwards writes at NOW Toronto about the concern that our city’s boom in condo construction might also lead to loneliness. What is to be done?

[URBAN NOTE] Five city links: Montréal, New York City, Dunblane, Wuppertal, Cape Town

  • CBC Montreal looks at how the city of Montréal deals with snow disposal in winter.
  • NOW Toronto reviews The World Before Your Feet, a documentary examining the life of one Matt Green, who aims to walk all the thousands of kilometres of streets of New York City.
  • VICE reports on how the mass shooting of Dunblane still affects survivors and townspeople even two decades later.
  • CityLab looks at the unique Schwebebahn mass transit system in the Ruhr town of Wuppertal, and what it says about transit culture in Germany.
  • CityLab takes a look at Cape Town, where a foodie culture is not reflected in ready access of all to food, and how some people are trying to fix this.

[URBAN NOTE] Five Toronto links: Daniel Rotsztain, Coffee Time, museums, King Street, Medieval Times

  • Metro Toronto reports on the efforts of Daniel Rotsztain to explore Toronto through overnight Airbnb stays in different neighbourhoods.
  • blogTO reports that the famous (infamous?) Coffee Time at Dupont and Lansdowne has closed down! More tomorrow, I think.
  • The Museum of Contemporary Art on Sterling Road, in the Junction, is scheduled for a May 26 opening. NOW Toronto reports.
  • Apparently some people are protesting the King Street transit project by playing street hockey in front of the streetcars. blogTO reports.
  • Global News notes that Medieval Times, the Toronto theme restaurant, is going to have a ruling queen this year instead of a king.

[URBAN NOTE] Five city links: small cities, repurposed shopping malls, rent, design, networks

  • Paul Krugman notes the exceptional fragility of small cities, depending on small industries which can easily go under, over at The New York Times.
  • This feature examining how shopping mall space in American cities has been reused for new purposes is interesting, over at The Atlantic.
  • How can the poor be helped most effectively in dealing with rising rent costs? Bloomberg considers.
  • Atlas Obscura considers the many small design features that can be used to make cities feel a little more inhospitable.
  • Shawn Micallef points out how Toronto, like all cities, is really formed of innumerable individual networks, overlapping and sometimes only rarely intersecting, over at the Toronto Star.

[URBAN NOTE] “Building community through the use of public space in the sharing economy”

Sarah Yellin at Spacing Toronto writes about an issue with the sharing economy that I literally had not imagined.

What happens when fare collectors start to become wise to over-turnstile Bunz trade activity occurring at Ossington subway station? The station’s central location made it a popular site for trades but eventually, it became too busy, with instances of trades began getting mixed up; for example, the wrong pair of shoes being traded for the wrong gift card, owned by the wrong Bunz! That’s the joke cracked by Eli Klein, one of the key forces behind the ubiquitous phenomenon that is Bunz Trading Zone, when describing what sparked the idea to create designated “trading zones” in public spaces around the city.

Through data gathered by the app, it is estimated that Bunz users are completing up to 700 trades per day, which means a minimum of 1400 people meeting in public spaces to trade and interact. It became clear that designated public spaces in accessible locations needed to be formalized within the Bunz network, and generated an opportunity for the Bunz community to interact with the local business community in order to foster the platform’s development and improve the quality of community interactions. Klein sees the trading zones as not only important to improving the safety of trades, but as vital to building the community network and fostering interaction between Bunz. He envisions the spaces as encouraging a prolonged interaction between Bunz, maybe over a cup of coffee, in the hopes of strengthening social ties between strangers. He believes that the right environment can generate this, and redefine the context of the relationship between traders.

The popularization of platforms such as Bunz has enabled the rise of an alternative consumerist economy, based on trade, exchange, and interpersonal relationships, rather than traditional capitalist means of acquiring goods and services. Taking this concept to the extreme is Toronto’s Really Really Free Market, which operates once a month out of Campbell Avenue Park. While the concept of the Really Really Free Market did not originate in Toronto, the local chapter has been running for over four years. Powered by volunteers with an aim of creating a “community-space for sharing,” the market rejects not only the traditional buy-sell model but bartering and trading, creating a currency-free space with no boundaries to entry.

As explained by the event’s organizers, the market’s target demographic is people who can normally afford to buy goods but instead, providing them with an alternative mechanism for acquisition, all while reducing carbon emissions and contributing to the circular economy. This being said, the market encourages participation from all members of the community, regardless of socio-economic status. Since the project’s inception, the market has received a tremendous amount of public support, attracting visitors from all around the city. Participation in the market’s events has created friendships between those who partake regularly, forming a community network.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 15, 2017 at 6:45 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Reflections on the art of flânerie”

Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw reflects on his experience of being a flâneur, and the problems of said.

Introduced to the concept by a friend, there was a time when I was a most dedicated flaneur. Then I drifted away a little, although I introduced a remarkable number of people to the concept.

I think one of the reasons for my decline in flaneuring is that I started walking for exercise. This may be healthy, but it tends to defeats the point, the discoveries that can come from random idling.

I find that when walking for exercise I have in mind distance and time, two things in direct conflict with the art of flânerie. What’s worse, I tend to get very bored and thus stop walking! Even the desire to achieve a minimum number of paces (10,000 per day appears to have become an almost universal target) provides insufficient incentive.

The irony, of course, is that I actually walked more as a flaneur than as an exerciser because I was simply more interested, was inclined to keep moving.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 6, 2017 at 5:00 pm