City Life

Burning Questions and Political Facades

Against the ravenous tiger of fire, we give the rich a rifle and the poor a feather. In 1971, an engineer at Ford motors called Lou Tubben invited all of his fellow company engineers to a presentation he’d put together about gas-tanks. Driving around with a whole lot of highly flammable liquid is, when you

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The Dark Side of the Summer of Love

Researching for my talk at TEDx this year, I came across scanned pages of this superb article in Playboy magazine. Who knew what crazy stuff was out there on the Interwebs?! Seriously, it’s a very fine piece that gets under the skin of what was really going on at the time, through the story of a

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A chilly morning for Plato…

Been beautiful in London this week… these both taken on my walk to work through the remnants of the Crystal Palace… though let’s not pretend that the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets aren’t a function of air pollution 🙁  –//– Click here to receive updates, and hear first about new projects

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Getting High…in 1753 | The Gin Craze

‘In all history there’s never been a culture in the world that didn’t have some drug of some kind to lift people out of themselves.’ Poverty, war, terrifying religion and women experiencing liberation… Could so equally have written Getting High about the Gin craze era of the mid 1700s 🙂 In Our Time, brilliant, as

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Chinese Highways | Enclosure of the Commons | Minimal Wages

It seems that the current coalition government are determined to raise the revenue that’s required to keep our roads up to scratch by arranging an elaborate private finance initiative, which will probably result in the Chinese government owning contracts for road management. How can this possibly make sense? There must, one presumes, be an economic

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Temples and Follies

Two things have caught my eye recently. Firstly, Alain de Botton’s continued plans for a ‘temple to perspective.’ The idea for this is to have a large, conic structure (shown) some 46m high, each centimetre of which will represent a million years of the earth’s history. The bottom millimetre of the whole structure will be

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Occupy Wall Street – Turning Pirate on Capitalism 101

The media coverage in the UK has been limited, but I think the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protest is interesting, and I hope it turns out to be significant. There was comment on BBC radio the other morning suggesting variously that it was the Democratic equivalent of the Republican ‘Tea Party’ movement  – though I’m not

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Car Park: a brutal symbol of a capitalist problem

I ended up on the 7th floor of a multi-story car park in Peckham this evening, at an event hosted by Bold Tendencies, which looked at the car parks from an architectural and anthropological point of view. One contributor made the point that the problem of car parking only became such as Henry Ford developed

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