I couldn't resist. I knew it was going to be a madhouse in downtown L.A. for Michael Jackson's memorial service, but I had to go see what it was like -- not because I'm a super fan, but purely for the urban novelty of a huge swath of downtown closed off for thousands of fans and mourners.
The Olympics can be awesome for cities. Or they can be devastating. Rarely they're both, and most often they are an economic drain caused by over-investment in facilities with limited long-term usability. So when London announced plans for a 2012 Summer Olympics stadium that would reduce from 80,000 seats during the games to a more realistically usable 25,000 seats after, Olympics experts, city officials and taxpayers rejoiced. But recent news has turned that rejoice to disgust.
Here in Los Angeles, the local professional basketball team just won its league's national championship. When I was in Barcelona a few weeks back, the local soccer team won a major international championship. These were two days for the cities to celebrate their home teams' triumphs, but the differences in how they celebrated says a lot about these cities and their civic cultures.
I just got back from my first trip to Europe, where the cities are a lot older and a lot different than they are here in the New World. I made many observations on my brief trip, which included Paris and Barcelona, and I'm sure those will bubble up in blog posts in the near future. However, I won't waste anyone's time remarking about how great European cities are. We've all heard it before, and while it may be right, the point has been made. Like, really made.
There's no shortage of writing and conjecture on New York City when it comes to urban and city issues. But one subject that has been neglected in the urban academic discourse is the city's incredible concentration of beautiful women.
New Orleans is still struggling, especially its hard-hit Lower Ninth Ward. The economic recession has been bad news for development all over the world, and it's really not helping things down in New Orleans. The federal government's broke, states are cutting costs, and local government is practically bankrupt. But even in tough times, there is one place where business always seems to be good and money's always flowing: the movie industry.
The green marketplace is the marketplace of the future. From Wal-Mart to Toyota to the neighborhood dry cleaner, it seems like every business is going out of its way to tell us how green they are. That could either be a great thing because these businesses are actually using environmentally-friendly practices, or it could be a bad thing because they're just claiming to be green. Regardless of whether it's one or the other, what's certain is that they say they're green because that's what we want to hear.
The military has recently opened a new type of recruitment office known as "The Army Experience Center" in a Philadelphia shopping mall. It's like an arcade, where video games and other interactive technologies provide visitors a glimpse of what it might be like to be in the military.