Capital or the erosion of the social farbric of the city

This is the second book i have read this year that has the words ‘capital’ and ’21st century’ in its title. While this smells a lot like free-riding on the popularity of the other book, it is not [1]. Capital by Rana Dasgupta chronicles the last one-and-a-half decades of the Indian capital Delhi. It is a mix between encounters (not in the indian sense of the word) with (moneyed) inhabitants of Delhi, snippets of history and more abstract reflections on the city in an globalized world. It is a f…

On organisations stunning ability to absorb nonsensical claims about technology

So i have finally managed to finish Adam Greenfield’s Against the smart city (i had lapsed soon after this picture was taken). The book is well worth reading and contains a number valuable insights but there is one passage that stands out for me. Towards the end of the book (or pamphlet as Adam refers to it) he explains why his method of examining the language of marketing and promotional copy of IT vendors is important even though the same vendors, when challenged on the claims contained in it…

Tehran has no more pomegranates!

Watched a screening of ‘Tehran has no more pomegranates!‘ by Massoud Bakhshi this afternoon, which turned out to be a beautiful film that manages to pay homage to the incredibly strange and complex reality of the city of Tehran. While Tehran is one of the least likely city to fall in love with it had a certain strange attraction to me. tehran has no more pomegranates! manages to somehow capture this attraction and to turn it into an extremely entertaining complex portrait of the city. Bakhshi in…

Tehran traffic ...

… so i am back from Iran after having spend the last two days in Tehran. it is pretty much difficult to make sense of Teheran in 4 days, which is probably due to the sheer size of the place. there are about 14 million people living in the metropolitan area of Tehran and one would guess that at most 5 of them are working as city planners. On the other hand every second inhabitant has at least one car (either a pre-historic Paykan or a grey Peugeot 206) which, during rush hour, is too much for the…

Rudas fürdő

I guess it is since i first read Enki Bilal’s Partie de Chasse that i wanted to go visit the various public bath houses in Budapest. there is a scene in Partie de Chasse where Vassili Alexandrovitch Tchevtchenko comes to Budapest during the Hungarian Revolution of 1966 to talk to Tibor Illyes, the local stalinist party leader, in a thermal pool to convince him to step down. later Illyes is found dead in the pool and officially it is said that he committed suicide. It is a fairly small scene, but…

Favela Dubrovnik

So i am at my third summit in three weeks. first summit in Berlin, then the copyright summit in Bruxelles and finally the iSummit in Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik is absolutely amazing, which is best summed up by someone from FGV in rio de janeiro who’s first comment was. ‘whow! this place looks like a medieval favela‘ (which of course brings up fond memories from last years iSummit). Photo cc-by from Joi Ito’s Dubrovnik set.…

Mike Davis: Fear and Money in Dubai

Coming back to the Waag i found the printout of Fear and Money in Dubai by Mike Davis on my table (placed there by the invaluable Patrice, who seems to have never heard of such things as emails and hyperlinks, but then you can read printouts in your bathtub, which is not a bad thing either). The article turns out to be an excellent piece about the state of affairs in Dubai, with a number of interesting observations about piracy/smuggling/terrorism/falcon-hunting: The platform for Dubai’s extraor…

(banned) in Dubai

Spend a day in Dubai yesterday and that place is positively insane. will post in more detail later, but in the meanwhile some initial observations. About the first thing i noticed – even before leaving the transit area of the airport – was that the local authorities do not have much love for this blog. in fact they have so little love for it that they censor it: No clue what i have done to piss-off the sheiks, but my guess would be that they also assume some kind of connection between me and 9/1…

Spectacular city...

Is the title of a photo exhibition at the Netherlands Institute of Architecture in Rotterdam (on show till the 7th of january 2007). the exhibition consists of about a 100 mostly large scale large-scale reproductions of – well – spectacular urban landscapes, exceptional buildings and all kinds of eerie views. Many of the pictures contain very little traces of human live (which has a strange calming effect on me). One notable exception is São Paulo, Sé by Andreas Gursky: On display this pict…

Lille 3000

Absolutely no idea why it is called lille 3000 and not some other arbitrary number, but apparently the local government decided that 3000 sounds mighty futuristic (and 2006 would be so last year in three months anyway) and here we go… I am also not sure if lille 3000 is the same as the ‘Bombaysers de Lille’ (the sexual pun is apparently intended) exhibition that was opened with much French pompousness this weekend. Like the city of lille the exhibition is definitely worth a visit: Ashok has a gr…