The Linguistics of Place Names | JSTOR Daily

Why is this important, to have a place name with a sense of history and meaning? Thomas F. Thornton believes “as linguistic artifacts […], place names tell us something not only about the structure and content of the physical environment itself but also […] toponyms, both by themselves and in the context of narratives, songs, and everyday speech, provide valuable insights into the ways humans experience the world.” Even when we don’t know the language, we can derive certain ideas from the landscape we see around us and the old place names still in use. Consider tri-state names of native…

The Old Regionalism vs. the New Cosmopolitan Hyper-Localism | The American Conservative

Marketers like Claritas Prizm have divided our population into 66 tribes with colorful names like Money and Brains, God’s Country, Big Sky Families, Boomtown Singles, and other such. And America’s Zip codes are classified by which is dominant. What seems to be happening is that, say, the Money and Brains pockets of Southern California identify more with similar pockets in New York, Chicago, Seattle, and Dallas than they do with Southern California as a region; and the same all over the country. The one exception to this is when sports comes on TV; for the duration of the game, all…

IASTE / LEGITIMATING TRADITION December 17-20, 2016 | Kuwait City

In contemporary contexts of globalization, political conflict, and dynamic social and cultural change, legitimacy is often invoked, questioned, or challenged by various actors to achieve certain ends. This conference seeks to ask: What role does tradition play in legitimating practices that produce place-based or placeless built environments?Recent IASTE conferences have explored the role of subjectivity, authorship, and power in the construction of traditions in space and place. These themes often implied processes of legitimation that affect the built environment in ways that are sometimes more hidden and sometimes more obvious. This conference will seek to address this issue and to…

Here’s How American Cities Can Learn From Italian Piazzas – Next City

When the paradigm of modernist architecture crumbled, urbanists began a quest for credible alternatives that often took them to the streets and squares of old Italian cities. Deciphering the code of Italy’s thriving public life became a process of redemption from the sterilizing over-rationalization of the urban landscape that had been carried out by professionals of the previous generation. Italy is where Jan Gehl began his monumental research on public space and where many great American scholars conducted a considerable part of theirs, laying the foundation for people-centered urban design. Nevertheless, despite the seminal research of Gehl and other far-sighted…

Donovan Rypkema on “Sustainability, Smart Growth and Historic Preservation” | Blue Planet Green Living

Sustainable development is about, but not limited to, environmental sustainability. There is far more to sustainable development than green buildings, such as: Repairing and rebuilding historic wood windows would mean that the dollars are spent locally instead of at a distant window manufacturing plant. That’s economic sustainability, also part of sustainable development. Maintaining as much of the original fabric as possible is maintaining the character of the historic neighborhood. That’s cultural sustainability, also part of sustainable development. But if we don’t yet get it in the United States, others do. There’s an international real estate consulting firm based in Great…

Ian Bentley on Responsive Environments (1985)

In my opinion, everywhere is inevitably significant and meaningful, because human beings are so constituted as to read meanings into everything they encounter – this is surely a fundamental aspect of the human condition. The important question is how to make places that have a positive “place potential” I think the answer to this question shifts with historical circumstances. For example, back in the 1980s – when RE was written – choice seemed “the supreme quality”, as the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman put it. The key qualities around which RE is organised, therefore, are all meant to structure space (of course,…

The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Lecture on Architecture at the Chicago Humanities Festival: Niall Atkinson

What happens when the landmarks we use to orient ourselves within an urban landscape are unrecognizable, no longer there, or obscured by new construction? And what if it’s not the year 2014, but 1314 or 1414, long before cartographers considered turning their attention to the mapping of city streets? These are some of the questions that art historian Niall Atkinson explored on Saturday, November 1 in “Lost in the Renaissance,” the 2014 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Lecture on Architecture at the Chicago Humanities Festival. Atkinson is the Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Chicago. He…

What makes your town special? Show us and you could win a Vermont Country Store gift card!

Earlier this month we announced publication of the Community Heart & Soul™ Field Guide. To celebrate, we’d like to invite you to join our #MyTownMatters photo contest. All you need to do is take a selfie, or have someone snap a pic of you, in your favorite spot. Share it with #MyTownMatters on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram. For us to see the post it needs to be public. Or email your image to: communications@orton.org. Each week, through November 25, we’ll draw one lucky winner of a $25 gift card to Vermont Country Store! We look forward to seeing your favorite place! Click here to…

Ideas for Preserving Our Small Businesses and Creative Spaces

Many Gotham dwellers just about have their spirit broken from all the eclectic, only-in-New-York kinds of places that have been “developed” into achingly boring, everywhere-on-the-globe kinds of places. Unique theaters, gardens, community centers, shops, restaurants: Now they’re chain banks and drugstores and luxury dwellings. It’s enough to make a heartbroken New Yorker give up. Not so fast, says a group from the West Coast, leading the way as California has ever since introducing us all to yoga and wheatgrass. A new report from the group SF Heritage, Sustaining San Francisco’s Living History, is full of “strategies for conserving cultural heritage…

On the Importance of Place | First Thoughts | First Things

One of the natural loves that humans possess is a love of place. Bubbling up from love for home and love for creation, the love of place shapes humans, conforming them to the topography of the landscapes they inhabit. As C. S. Lewis notes, to speak of a love of home is to conjure up images associated with a way of life at a particular place—all of the sights, sounds, smells, mannerisms, dialect, and other peculiarities associated with the locale. Falling in love with a locale, however, is fundamentally to peer into the beauty of creation refracted in and through…