Category Archives: Recommended Articles

Reshaping Beijing for the 21st century

Todd Eberle

From Mao to Wow! Kurt Andersen Vanity Fair August 2008

When it comes to urban analogies, though, New York City actually seems more apt. Beijing’s historic core—the area with Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the main national government buildings, and some of the few remaining hutong neighborhoods—contains 1.3 million people in its 24 square miles, almost exactly the same as Manhattan; fully urbanized Beijing closely tracks the five boroughs of New York City in area and population; and the greater Chinese capital is about the same size as metropolitan New York.

But having just visited for the first time, I realized that what early-21st-century Beijing even more deeply resembles is New York at the turn of the 20th century. That’s the moment at which modern New York was inventing itself by showstopping leaps and bounds—swallowing adjacent cities and towns and farms, booming in population, and erecting what would become its defining landmarks.

For an interactive map of architectural monuments in Beijing click here.

And more on China’s monumental ambitions at this old post.

Edit: Another very good, lengthy article from The International Herald Tribune here.

Posted by Chris

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Carbon Neutral U

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Bryon Thompson

Very good, comprehensive article in Metropolis Magazine last month on the greening of American Universities.

Carbon Neutral U Andrew Blum Metropolis Magazine 2/20/08

Infrastructure is hot—hotter arguably than research or teaching about sustainability. It is as if the ivory tower has looked out to the world and seen a choking planet, and its first response is to look inward again at its own activities—building designs, power plants, and transportation systems.

“Ivy Plus” refers to an existing loose confederation of the nation’s top schools: the old Ivy sports league plus Johns Hopkins, MIT, Stanford, and the University of Chicago. As sustainability increasingly became a topic of conversation among the institutions’ leadership, Levin convened the group last year to shape a shared sustainability agenda.

A couple recent articles on the relative importance of LEED rankings here and here.

Plus, check out this great blog that covers all things sustainable and collegiate.

Posted by Chris

Obsolescence???

35mm film

A recent article in the New York Times tells the tale of a man in New Jersey thwarted in his recent attempt to have a reel of 35mm film processed at a local Stop and Shop:

But a sign on the familiar drop-box next to the juice aisle informed him that because of the advent of digital photography, film would no longer be accepted at the store. “The sign said something like, ‘Thanks for your past patronage and good luck,’” Mr. Wallerstein said.

When he returned to the store 10 days later, both the box and the sign were gone. “It’s like it never even existed,” he said. “As if it had all been a dream.”

Katie Hafner. Film Drop-Off Sites Fade Against Digital Cameras. New York Times. October 9, 2007.

Posted by: Ian M.