Monthly Archives: March 2012
by Hans Pul
Where is the happiest place in New York? The above diagram maps “happiness” in the city based on the content of geotagged tweets. The diagram is structured according Manhattan’s grid, where red blocks represent “happy tweets”, while blueish blocks indicate a lower grade of happiness. It was created by researchers of the University of Vermont and is part of a fascinating post (read it, it makes you happy).
After the break I will introduce “Mappiness”, an iPhone app designed to collect data about how happy people are, taking into account their activities, the people they are with and the type of environment they’re in.
by Valentin Schipfer
This blog entry is as close to urban life as the discussed music style to their dancers. I put the focus on Baile Funk - an important part of social and cultural identity of Brazilian metropolises. Cultural elements from Rio de Janeiro’s informal settlements and their international reception and reproduction will be discussed. In line with a book chapter (by Gilles Deleuze in metroZones 9:Funk the City – Music and urban activities from Rio de Janeiro’s periphery and Berlin), this global movement will then be critically reflected. A highly body-oriented dance music which has its origins in the same neglected urban areas where Brazilian Samba was born – the favelas. Continue reading
by Hans Pul
As a passionate cyclist, I regret not being a Londoner: I won’t be able to vote on May 3th this year. On that day, Londoners will elect their mayor for the 2012-2016 period. Current mayor Boris Johnson (Conservatives) will run for his second term, while Ken Livingstone (Labour), London’s mayor between 2000 and 2008, is his main challenger. With the London mayoral elections campaign on its way, the Guardian launched a “Manifesto for a model mayor”, in which ideas for the city and requirements for its mayor are collected. This sympathetic initiative is an interesting form of “open journalism” (although it might be less spectacular than Iceland crowd-sourcing its constitution).
In this blog entry I will talk about “Boris Bikes”, Barclays’ involvement in London cycling and Guardian reader’s suggestions for cycling improvements in London. Continue reading
by Ares Kalandides and Mihalis Kavaratzis
Let’s face it: There are probably few countries in Europe right now with a worse image than Greece (we can’t really think of any that even come close). From what we hear, it is especially in Germany, the Netherlands and in Austria where that image is the worst. And even Greece’s southern neighbours (Italy for example) seem to be glaring at us with the fear of contamination. Greece is Europe’s joke. Both being Greeks who have been living abroad for a while and have left for different reasons, we know very well how much of what is said today is absolutely true – and partly a reason we are not living there. But also, we know Greece very well, we have our families and our friends back there, and we know that there is much more to the country than what the populistic central European media wants us to believe. The problem, as usual, are the stereotypes: extending what may be true for some (or many) to everybody. So any expression of the type “the Greeks are” or “the Greeks do” (it could be the Germans, the Brits etc.) is reductive and simply stupid. But it serves the goal of stigmatizing a whole people, making it look like humans of a lower category.
From the Guest Editorial by Ares Kalandides, Mihalis Kavaratzis and Martin Boisen:
This is a special edition of the International Place Branding Conference series and the third special issue of the Journal of Place Management and Development dedicated to the conference. The two previous special issues have proven to be valuable reference points in recent place branding literature. Since the first International Place Branding Conference in Berlin in 2008, a particularly interesting tendency can be noted. In the beginning, the discussion had focused on the general discrepancies in place branding conceptualisations and approaches to its practical implementation. While, of course, these issues remain important and not entirely clarified, it seems that we are now ready to move towards a more elaborate discussion of partial issues. A certain amount of clarity and agreement has indeed been achieved. In this special issue a set of significant issues that affect the whole place branding endeavour are examined. The papers elaborate all of the conference’s themes: the roots and politics of place branding, analytical and assessment methodology as well as the relationship between culture and place branding….
by Hans Pul
In this post I will argue that good urban planning can be of great value for places and their branding efforts. Cities with good urban planning get noticed. This is important, especially for relatively unknown non-capital cities in Latin America, Africa or Asia. Such cities often have millions of inhabitants and have much to offer to people and investors, but are barely known outside their region. One such a city is Curitiba, located in the south of Brazil.
In this blog entry I will talk about Curitiba and how its public transport system, (forest-) parks, and urban planning have established the city as “Latin America’s Green City”.
by Valentin Schipfer
In my last blog entry I introduced you to our ongoing project in Potsdam. Together with local stakeholders Inpolis and dieraumplaner are developing an organizational model to continue Potsdam’s shopping street management. Discussing this task in specific LinkedIn groups did not only deliver insight into new models but also into what’s currently being invented in this field. I tried to sum it up for you in this blog entry. Continue reading