Denver & The Millenials - Good Urbanism or Burgeoning Inequality Running Rampant?
Denver is currently in the grip of Millennial Fever. This is reflected by everyday discourse about placemaking, public comments by Mayor Hancock and other civic officials, and projects like CityBuild Denver. CityBuild Denver is intended to getyoung adults involved in urbanism. Its kick-off event in October 2013—a sit down dinner for 150 on fine china—was held in Civic Center Park. A nice setting but an arguably tasteless idea, given that Civic Center Park during the day is a catchment area for homeless persons and assorted down-and-outers just struggling to find a place to comfortably sit. Other Denver placemakers justify their development vision by asserting that “everybody in Denver is a transplant.” Such a view supports a certain kind of myopic thinking about who we are and what matters in city building. There are persuasive arguments that the benefits of building for Millennials and cultural creatives don’t trickle down to raise all boats. Short-term tactical urbanist interventions like bike lanes and parklets can nicely illustrate a vision of what’s possible. But they can never address the most compelling structural issues around urban social and spatial inequality. Thinking inclusively has to extend beyond the Millennials. We need to harness diversity in all of its forms, and embrace residents both old and new, in order to realize the city’s “diversity advantage.” Civic Leadership at multiple levels is crucial to achieving this goal.
1 day agoAugust 21, 2014
the social laboratory singapore surveillance state
Singapore has become a laboratory not only for testing how mass surveillance and big-data analysis might prevent terrorism, but for determining whether technology can be used to engineer a more harmonious society.
Let me be clear: Unarmed college hopefuls don’t deserve to be shot. Unarmed kids heading to work or trade school don’t deserve to be shot. Unarmed kids floundering aimlessly through life don’t deserve to be shot. Unarmed kids who have been in trouble—even those who have been nothing but trouble—don’t deserve to be shot.
The act of pinning the tragedy of a dead black teen to his potential future success, to his respectability, to his “good”-ness, is done with all the best intentions. But if you read between the lines, aren’t we really saying that had he not been on his way to college, there’d be less to mourn?
That’s dead wrong.
“I think that the type of oppression which threatens democracies is different from anything there has ever been in the world before. Our contemporaries will find no prototype of it in their memories. I have myself vainly searched for a word which will exactly express the whole of the conception I have formed. Such old words as ‘despotism’ and ‘tyranny’ do not fit. The thing is new, and as I cannot find a word for it, I must try to define it.
I am trying to imagine under what novel features despotism may appear in the world. In the first place, I see an innumerable multitude of men, alike and equal, constantly circling around in pursuit of the petty and banal pleasures with which they glut their souls. Each one of them, withdrawn into himself, is almost unaware of the fate of the rest. Mankind, for him, consists in his children and his personal friends. As for the rest of his fellow citizens, they are near enough, but he does not notice them. He touches them but feels nothing. He exists in and for himself, and though he may still have a family, one can at least say that he has not got a fatherland.
Over this kind of men stands an immense, protective power which is alone responsible for securing their enjoyment and watching over their fate. That power is absolute, thoughtful of detail, orderly, provident, and gentle. It would resemble parental authority if, father-like, it tried to prepare its charges for a man’s life, but on the contrary, it only tries to keep them in perpetual childhood. It likes to see its citizens enjoy themselves, provided they think of nothing but enjoyment. It gladly works for their happiness but wants to be the sole agent and judge of it. It provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, makes rules for their testaments, and divides their inheritances. Why should it not entirely relieve them from the trouble of thinking and all the cares of living?” – Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America.
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