Issue 552 August 2016
Andrea Gaffney, Jared Press and Ingrid Stromberg: A trio of city-obsessed pals share a flat in Nopa.
A trio of city-obsessed pals share a flat in Nopa.
Creating public art for professional wages, one blank wall at a time.
Urban Field Notes
On July 7, more than 2,000 people marched peacefully in Oakland to protest police killings of innocent civilians in other parts of the country. In a city that is changing quickly, and where tensions run high, a peaceful protest is worth noting. We must pay close attention to the reasons people were marching — and work as hard as we can to fix the causes.
When people want to know what can be done to change centuries of institutional racism and socialized prejudice, I want them to know my experience as a White mom to Black kids. As Americans, we are all socialized toward bias. In my experience you can change your part in it, and it is critically important for White people to take responsibility for doing so.
There are times when the very fabric of society seems to be unraveling, and this is certainly one of them. San Bernardino, Orlando, Dallas, Nice. Oscar Grant, Michael Brown, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling. How are those of us who think about cities to understand this moment?
Our nation is suffering from a gaping wound reminiscent of the 1960s. During that era, my parents were active in el movimiento , working alongside Cesar Chavez to advocate for better living conditions, opportunities, safety and acceptance. My parents dreamed of a different future than we are experiencing now. We must return to being an inclusive community that provides a path to opportunity and mobility.
June 2016 to July 2016
Planning and policy lessons from down under.
Sydney, Australia’s planning system is entirely different from the Bay Area’s, primarily because of the strong role of its state government in planning decisions. What can the Bay Area learn from its approach?
California has made significant progress in advancing water conservation and efficiency; Australia has done even better.
Australia’s cities and towns survived their terrible drought, demonstrating world-leading innovation and exceptional examples of urban water planning and management driven by crisis. What can California learn from their actions?
No one understands more than Sydney that swimming is one of life’s great pleasures.
The warm ocean is by far the most satisfying place to swim. Living in cold-water San Francisco means I usually have to settle for swimming in a pool, but the ocean pools of Australia, which I visited daily on SPUR’s recent city trip, opened my eyes to the fact that swimming in a pool isn’t necessarily settling.
A designer immerses himself in the life of the city.
Dan McKinley is the art director at McSweeney’s, an independent publishing house founded by Dave Eggers that publishes all manner of fiction, nonfiction and poetry . We caught up with him near the cozy and book-stuffed McSweeney's HQ in the Mission to chat about small cities, literary cities and his interest in making his kids’ hometown a better place.
April 2016 to May 2016
Our regional economy will evolve — but how? What potential problems should we be grappling with?
How long will the Bay Area's competitive advantage last? The Urbanist examines the boom-bust economic cycle and asks questions about the longer-term fate of our region. Where is the set of innovative clusters we call “tech” going to take us?
San Francisco through the eyes of 21st-century flaneur.
I started making plein air paintings to get out of the studio and into the city. I wanted to visit locations that may not have iconic San Francisco views, but are still recognizable as San Francisco.
Sketching the City
When he’s not designing the urban environment, odds are he’s drawing pictures of it.