One recent morning I witnessed a rare sight; two children, almost certainly brother and sister, were riding their bikes to school. They wobbled along the sidewalk of a busy road. The boy pedaled ahead on his BMX while the girl’s bike was too big for her, its chain rusted to the point where, rather than shift gears, she walked the slightest rise. Commuters alone in their cars sped by on the way to work, their kids’ schools, gym or supermarket. This being outer Sydney, the street made not the slightest accommodation for the two kids and their healthy, intrepid mode of transportation.
A famous flâneur and me, Sat down one day for tea, He observed with a grin, That the the line is drawn thin, Between cities which look and which see.
Urban planning is a sound and necessary activity, but you can’t eat a menu, right? Buildings, trees, curbstones; it is particularity which makes a city and in the end it takes physical objects to settle arguments about what is good, bad and weird in architecture. In that spirit, here are some buildings good enough to eat.
Like cats chasing tails, all that is urgent in contemporary discussions of the city circles around the topic of density. While this makes it easy to define the shape of the boxing ring, it doesn’t set the rules of the fight, and boy oh boy is density ever a fight. Here in Sydney urban planning discourse feels like a nightmare dreamed in a fever, a chase scene in which it is impossible not to run in circles, slowly. As someone who cares deeply about Sydney’s future, it was a sweet relief to leave Smug City for a few weeks to see how they make cities in Europe.
This exhibition in the heart of Rome’s centro storico highlights Italy’s part in the exploding cosmopolitanism of 19th-century France. In addition to masterworks by Boldini, De Nittis, and Zandomeneghi (1841 –1917), it features Vittorio Corcos, Antonio Mancini, Telemaco Signorini, Serafino De Tivoli, and several others. Many of the pieces belong to private collections rarely available for public viewing. The cafés, boulevards, theatres, and salons they depict give us some premonition of a self-congratulatory civic pride which would culminate in the 1889 Paris Exhibition.