Keeping Cities Weird

Recently, I visited “To Fast to Live, Too Young to Die,” an exhibit showcasing the graphic art of the early punk scenes in New York and London, at the Museum of Art and Design. The exhibit captured a raw, wild creative moment in New York. Continue reading

Advertisements

A Pencil Shop on Orchard Street

While walking through the Lower East Side in Manhattan on a recent Saturday afternoon, I happened upon CW Pencil Enterprise. The shop window read “Purveyors of Superior Graphite.” As a writer with very specific preferences in writing implements, I couldn’t resist.

Continue reading

Gentrifier: A Book Review

A trio of academics attempt an engaging and instructive experiment with their recently published book, Gentrifier (University of Toronto Press, 2017). Through their own lives, John Joe Schlichtman, Jason Patch, and Marc Lamont Hill explore and challenge the ideas and parameters of gentrification.

Although the suburbs are anything but dead, an increasing number of Americans are choosing an urban life. Many cities (and historic streetcar suburbs) provide residents with walkable neighborhoods. More Americans want to step out their front doors and walk to a grocer, a cafe, or maybe even a movie theater. Meanwhile, Americans are rediscovering the needs and joys of community. These are encouraging, positive trends.

However, a renewed desire for urban living places pressure on cities’ housing markets. This leads to changes in the urban fabric and built environment. Boosters call this progress. Critics call it gentrification. A great debate concerning gentrification rages among activists, politicians, journalists, intellectuals, and everyday citizens in many improving cities and those poised for a rebound.

Continue reading