Looking at this photo taken outside the Jane Hotel in New York reminds me of a time when I was at home in a city I haven't been to since the week before the US lockdown in March 2020. I lived around the corner with my then partner, and we had seen the effects of extreme weather the autumn before, when Hurricane Sandy flooded lower Manhattan. We were unable to return to our building for nearly a month. Here's what I wrote at the time: 12 November 2012 The need [...]
It often takes an outside eye to help one see things close at hand. Last night, a friend came to my house for supper. I'd made a rhubarb crumble, and mentioned that it really should be served with ice cream. Everyone agreed, and my daughter said, in the most ordinary way, "I'll go get some at the coop." The Berkshire Coop is a small version of Wholefoods and it's about five minutes' walk from my house, straight down the hill and across Main Street. She picked up her purse and [...]
I use Google Alerts a lot, for important colleagues and my publishing company's star authors and editors, and also for a few phrases relevant to my research on community. No question that the phrase "search for community" brings up more results than "search for community" - and not surprisingly so, if you look at how and where "sense of community" is being used. I have been finding some great stories this way and am including the results here for just a few items I've received in the last few days. [...]
This long article in the New York Times explains why theoretical physicist Geoffrey West - as well as Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Michael Bloomberg - has turned his attention to cities. The article mentions the two writers on the city who most interest me: Jane Jacobs and Lewis Mumford. I'm intrigued by the idea of "urban science" because I see more and more evidence that the sciences and social sciences need to be integrated. We also need to bring in creative economists (I know, that sounds weird, but I'm [...]
A new book called The Company Store is reviewed in the Wall Street Journal, presumably given space (something that's now in very short supply because of the demise of so many review sections) because it is a history of American business. But the book sounds like more than that, relevant to today's debates about corporate social responsibility and to proposals for reduced commuting times.
Hardly a surprise that commuting leads to a decline in physical and social health, but the important point is that commutes are the result of how we design cities, site industry, and create new housing. Major political will is needed to make changes, and that requires a better understanding of community on the part of policy makers and citizens, too. The Gallup polling organization reports that the "well being" of metropolitan Americans is apparently "lower among workers with long commutes." The study, released this month, finds that "lengthy commuters are [...]