In what sense is the 21st century world urban?
(Neil) Brenner excavates Henri Lefebvre’s (1970) notion of generalized urbanization for conceptual and methodological insights into the 21st century planetary urban condition. He argues that the geographies of urbanization can no longer be conceptualized with reference to cities, metropolitan regions or even megalopolises, but today encompass diverse patterns and pathways across the planetary sociospatial landscape… This variegated urban fabric must become the focal point for new approaches to urban theory, strategies of collective intervention and imaginaries of built environments.
It can’t anymore be denied that this side of the Mount Santo Tomas range is being overtaken by development, irrational by the sight of it. Before we can finish uttering “A Buick Chop Jolted My Sexy Frozen Wives” and if folks at City Hall continue to sit on the land use plan, this area will end up exactly like that shitty side of the mountain range one sees from Marcos Highway when going up the City. City Hall’s inaction has effectively taken away the opportunity for future generations to know and enjoy the environmental conditions in the City that past generations did and to some extent the present does.
Before SM and the other malls, and even before there was piracy and home theater, Session Theater (the other one was Pines Theater) was King of the cinema experience for City residents. I watched a couple of movies here, one of which was Pretty Woman. That was the year before the earthquake which at 7.6 on the Richter Scale damaged the place as well as the entire building. In fact, the building’s condemned yet is still being occupied (a big question for folks at City Hall — are the engineers waiting for another quake and disaster before finally implementing building code standards?). Regardless, this supports the imperative to bring in more investors into the City, the kind who care about place making.
Laperal Building is one of the City’s commercial buildings that survived the 1991 earthquake. Preserving the old design, it’s facade recently received a much needed face lift i.e. new paint in keeping with renovations in this area of Session Road. Majority of it’s spaces are still let out as offices, many of which have been there for ages.
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In January, the World Bank released a report on the rise of urban East Asia. Between 2000 and 2010, the international financial institution reported, nearly 200 million people moved to East Asia’s urban places.
These sorts of gigantic numbers can be difficult to comprehend. So the World Bank set up a contest, with first prize going to whomever could design the best data visualization to accompany its expansive database on urbanization. Data scientist Nadieh Bremer answered the call. Her winning entry is below.
Methinks paintings on City walls, here and in the Metro, need a bit more imagination. Wall art need not be overwhelming to the eyes, that is, images need not occupy entire walls. And urban planners, in harmonizing resilience into master plans, need to think of ways to integrate paint and greens. Like this one:
Every city has a sex and an age which have nothing to do with demography. Rome is feminine. So is Odessa. London is a teenager, an urchin, and, in this, hasn’t change since the time of Dickens. Paris, I believe, is a man in his twenties in love with an older woman.
– John Berger