The need for "a place to call home" has been on my mind for many years, since the day I realized that I would have to leave London but didn't have anywhere else on earth that I could call home. I resolved that my children's lives would be different, and I settled in a small town in New England. This didn't work out as I hoped, and I have mixed feelings about whether Great Barrington is "home" for me, but our house here certainly is home for my wayfaring children, [...]
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 [...]