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How The World Lost Its Story by Robert W. Jenson | Articles | First Things

It is the whole mission of the church to speak the gospel. As to what sort of thing “the gospel” may be, too many years ago I tried to explain that in a book with the title Story and Promise, and I still regard these two concepts as the best analytical characterization of the church’s message. It is the church’s constitutive task to tell the biblical narrative to the world in proclamation and to God in worship, and to do so in a fashion appropriate to the content of that narrative, that is, as a promise claimed from God and…

How one woman harnessed people power to ‘save’ old New York | Film | The Guardian

Citizen Jane: Battle for the City tells the story of Jacobs, author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, who made herself the bane of New York’s powerful city planners from the 1950s to 1970s. Her nemesis was Robert Moses, the city’s powerful master builder and advocate of urban renewal, or wholesale neighbourhood clearance – what author James Baldwin termed “negro removal”.Moses dismissed the protesters as “a bunch of mothers”, and attempted to ignore their efforts to attract wider attention, which included taping white crosses across their glasses in the style of Jacobs.But through a combination of grassroots…

Cities need Goldilocks housing density – not too high or low, but just right | Life and style | The Guardian

I am an architect and I certainly consider myself an environmentalist, but it appears to me that in a lot of cities, these new glass towers don’t add much at all to the city in terms of energy efficiency or quality of life. Often they don’t add many more housing units than the buildings they replace. I am also a heritage activist, not because I particularly love old buildings, but because there is so much to learn from them and from the neighbourhoods. and cities that were designed before cars or electricity or thermostats, and were built at surprisingly high…

The World’s Most Beautiful Mathematical Equation – The New York Times

We all know that art, music and nature are beautiful. They command the senses and incite emotion. Their impact is swift and visceral. How can a mathematical idea inspire the same feelings? Well, for one thing, there is something very appealing about the notion of universal truth — especially at a time when people entertain the absurd idea of alternative facts. The Pythagorean theorem still holds, and pi is a transcendental number that will describe all perfect circles for all time. But our brains also appear to respond to mathematical beauty as they do to other beautiful experiences.

Warrior for Truth and Beauty | City Journal

In many ways, Esolen’s book can be seen as a response to Mencken, a meditation on why beauty and truth are such inseparable mates—or contrariwise, why falsehood always begets ugliness. Certainly, Esolen’s concern for the absence of beauty in our culture has all of Mencken’s passionate solicitude. “Our young people are not only starved for nature,” he writes. “They are starved for beauty. Everywhere they turn, their eyes fall upon what is drab or garish.” Their schools, their music, their dress, their fast-food restaurants are unlovely. Indeed, even their churches are ugly. To gauge the quality of Esolen’s appreciation for…

YouGov survey: people prefer traditionally designed buildings

Controversial response to YouGov survey results that people prefer traditionally designed buildings, as architects lash out at traditional architecture. The architectural profession has responded to the results of the recent YouGov survey to determine whether people prefer contemporary or traditional buildings and this has now become controversial.As the results of a new YouGov survey reveal that more than three quarters of the public prefer traditional buildings to “contemporary” buildings, architects have lashed out at traditional architecture. Leading the professional attack is the new president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Ruth Reed. Source: ADAM Architecture – Press Releases

As hundreds of toxic sites await cleanup, questions over Superfund program’s future | PBS NewsHour

In Brooklyn, Gowanus Canal Conservancy’s Executive Director Andrea Parker said the promise of a cleaner canal has already fueled considerable development in the surrounding neighborhood, even as the amount of affordable housing in the area decreases and some residents worry about displacement. But other locals remain optimistic that the project will be completed despite the threat of cuts to the Superfund program. Source: As hundreds of toxic sites await cleanup, questions over Superfund program’s future | PBS NewsHour

Shaking Up the 21st-Century Multifamily Market with a Missing Middle Neighborhood | Opticos Design, Inc.Opticos Design, Inc.

A New Model for Multifamily/Rental Housing: A Missing Middle Neighborhood The neighborhood will be significant in several ways. Nationally, there has not been a new, walkable, New Urbanist neighborhood of its kind developed with only Missing Middle Housing types; it will serve as a much-needed model for the Omaha and Lincoln regions, whose previous attempts at New Urbanism have fallen short on implementation quality; and this project will also define a new type and quality of multifamily housing (to use a loaded term) in the country. The site is 60 acres with a rolling topography that leads down to a…

The western idea of private property is flawed. Indigenous peoples have it right | Julian Brave NoiseCat | Opinion | The Guardian

We live in a world dominated by the principle of private property. Once indigenous people were dispossessed of their lands, the land was surveyed, subdivided and sold to the highest bidder. From high above, continents now appear as an endless property patchwork of green and yellow farms, beige suburban homes and metallic gray city blocks stretching from sea to shining sea. The central logic of this regime is productivity, and indeed it has been monstrously productive. In tandem with the industrial revolution, the fruits of billions of acres of dispossessed and parceled indigenous land across the Americas, Africa, Asia, Ireland…

‘The worst building in the world awards’ | Culture | Architects Journal

A massive gulf persists between the buildings that win architecture awards and those that  the public prefers, suggests research by Create StreetsIn 1987 a young psychologist conducted an experiment into how repeated exposure to an image changed perceptions of it. A group of volunteer students were shown photographs of unfamiliar people and buildings and asked to rate them in terms of attractiveness. Some of the volunteers were architects; some were not. As the experiment progressed, a fascinating finding became clear: while everyone had similar views on which people were attractive, the architecture and non-architecture students had diametrically opposed views on…