Tag Archives : Reimagining the Urban


Reimagining the Urban: Katie Bruhn

Throughout the daylong symposium, “Reimaging the Urban,” two particular keywords continued to jump out at me – reciprocity and layers. As I thought about these as individual concepts I realized that in fact layers of reciprocity was a much more appropriate way in which to understand the complexity of collaboration and exchange necessary in order for the projects discussed to succeed.

Continue to read…


Reimagining the Urban: Alex Werth

One of the themes that we’re exploring in our seminar—entitled “The City, Arts, and Public Spaces,” and planned in conjunction with Reimagining the Urban—is that of publics and publicness. (See Shannon Jackson’s post for an overview of these many-sided concepts.) As a budding geographer, and a scholar of urban public space, I began the semester with the view that public space is public in the sense that it is, in theory, open to universal use, and that, to that effect, it is also a space in the sense that it is inhabitable.

Continue to read…


Reimagining the Urban: Martha Herrera-Lasso

Raquel Gutiérrez invites us to map the room around us: who is here and how long did it take us all to get to 2150 Allston Way. For a moment, we acknowledged the morning’s journey that brought us to this place, and maybe even the bridges we had to cross to get here.

Throughout the day bridges came up again and again in the form of projects, conversation, opportunities, performances and partnerships. Deborah Cullinan invited us to think of alleys as bridges, as spaces of circulation; she spoke of creating art bridges and using them to prepare new generations for what is growing around them.

Continue to read…


Reimagining the Urban: Marina McDougall

Several years ago at a public forum at the Oakland Museum of California, Open Restaurantcollaborator Jerome Waag asked, “How does a museum become an incubator generating new forms of civic engagement?”

Though no one that evening took it up, the question continues to resonate. The Oakland Museum soon after its founding in 1969 was hailed as “the people’s museum.” (I worked on a project called the Marvelous Museum with artist Mark Dion that delved into the OMCA’s early formation). Similarly, the Exploratorium also opened in 1969 with a wooden sign hung in its enormous space capturing its vision, “Here is being created the Exploratorium, a community museum dedicated to awareness.”

Continue to read…


Reimagining the Urban: Elvin Padilla

ruminations on the question of what preoccupies me
how to bring art groups together with affordable housing groups together with social service groups together with youth groups together with parks groups together with community health groups and now, most recently tech companies, preoccupies me. the Tenderloin loses the struggle for equitable development because we are fragmented and undermine each other.
advocacy for the arts preoccupies me. How does the following and Cy Musiker’s piece read: agitating? advocating? appeasing? matter of fact? demonizing tech?

Continue to read…


Reimagining the Urban: Margaret Crawford

In 2002 economist Richard Florida published the Rise of the Creative Class. In it he argued that the best way for cities to revive their ailing urban economies was to remake themselves in order to attract a social category he called “the creative class.” At the core of this group were innovative and creative workers whose importance in the new knowledge-based economy could produce new companies, attract jobs and residents, and expand consumption. These benefits would then trickle down to re-ignite local economies, based on the “rising tide lifts all boats” principle.

Continue to read…


Reimagining the Urban: Louise Pubols

How will the baylands be used? And who will use them?

These two questions lie at the heart of the environmental history of the San Francisco Bay, and current debates over its uncertain future. A richly productive estuary, San Francisco is also densely urban. Its landscape is the joint creation of people and nature, locked in a relationship neither can escape from. And if you were to pick one spot around the bay’s shoreline to illustrate just how contentious this relationship has been over time, you’d be hard pressed to find a more richly layered one than the wet and squishy ground underneath this wooden dragon.

Continue to read…

Louise-Pubols-finals-6

Reimagining the Urban: Rebecca Novick

That’s Not My BART Stop: One of the Triangle Lab projects we’re producing right now is called Love Balm for My Spirit Child. It’s a series of performances sharing testimony from mothers who have lost children to violence. We’re calling this series “site-specific” because they’re performed on the spots where each murder took place. Site-specific in its strictest definition means a performance created specifically for a non-traditional space, often using physical characteristics of that space, or of the community who gathers there, to influence what the performance will be. In a more general or lazy way, we often use “site-specific” to simply mean “not performed in a theater.”

Continue to read…


Reimagining the Urban: Irene Chien

In mainstream US media, “urban” is a pervasive euphemism for black, a way to register but not directly point at African-American culture within the post-racial political paradigm of colorblindness. “Urban music,” “urban fiction,” “urban comedy,” and “urban entertainment” are all ways to identify media made by, featuring, and marketed primarily to African-Americans without directly naming them. “Urban” in this sense gives value to at the same time it disavows the authenticity of black bodies, voices, and “street” experiences that now circulate globally in the form of hip-hop identity and aesthetics.

Continue to read…


Reimagining the Urban: Susan Moffat

In the Bay Area and beyond, ambitious creek and wetland restoration projects aim to return landscapes to an earlier, more “natural” condition. The scientists designing the projects know that it is impossible to restore a landscape to a pre-human condition when the entire watershed has been radically altered, and they make many nuanced choices in order to enhance habitats. But the public often believes the goal is to put a site back to “the way it was.”

Continue to read…