Friday, July 6, 2007

Global Cities at the Tate

I've had a couple of interesting conversations in the last few days about cities - one with OES and AL over dinner on the 4th of July, another in fits and starts with ENW over email. In all cases, I am advancing a half-thought out thesis, which basically goes like this: as cities become richer and safer in their centers, and more sprawling and stratified as you move outward from the center, the city loses some of the essential qualities that make it special. With respect to sustainability and resource planning, I think this argument is on pretty solid ground. As I think about culture, I veer onto thinner ice (with ideas like 'a city can be too safe and too easy to live in'). I was hoping to post something cogent on these topics, but I'm still sorting through some thinking on this front. In the meantime, I wanted to post some photos from the Tate Modern's Global Cities exhibit, which I saw in London a few weeks ago, as well as direct you to the exhibition site. While it wasn't great, either as art or urban study, the focus on a couple of key indicators - density, % of population that is foreign-born, ethnic diversity - are really interesting perspectives on what demographic factors will shape the evolution of some of the world's major cities in the coming years.

Also, a particularly contentious post by Matthew Yglesias on the Atlantic Monthly blog, tying global warming concerns to issues of urban density and planning. In general, I agree with Yglesias, but it is a thread worth picking up in greater detail in a future post. Courtesy ENW.

Photos, from top:
Maha Maamoun, Domestic Tourism
Scott Peterman, Ecataepec
Andreas Gursky, Copan


karsten said...

Berlin is still keeping it real. You should stop by sometime.

Ritik Dholakia said...

So I've heard... It is definitely on my list of places to come and see, but that is a long list, and the working life makes time precious.