Saturday, December 08, 2012

Best #CityReads of the Week

The Atlantic Cities' weekly roundup by Sommer Mathis of the most intriguing articles about cities and urbanism we've come across in the past seven days. Share your favorites on Twitter with #cityreads.

"In the Traffic of Cairo's DIY Highway Exit, an Urbanist Movement Grows," Joseph Dana, Next American City

Jamel Mubarak leans over the side of his balcony overlooking Tahrir Square and makes a simple observation: Cairo, the city of his birth, is not as pretty as it used to be.
For 40 years, Mubarak has lived in a 10-story building on Cairo’s most prominent public square. In that time, he’s watched it transform from a downtown traffic roundabout and symbol of former President Hosni Mubarak’s regime to become, last year, a ground zero for the overthrow of that same regime. 
And now, nearly two years after the first protest of the Egyptian Revolution, the square has again sprung to life as a center of opposition, this time in protest over the drafting of the country’s constitution and sweeping new self-granted powers of its Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, who took power democratically after Mubarak’s fall.
Looking down at the tens of thousands of protesters filling the square below him, waving flags and chanting slogan’s against the country’s ruling party, Jamel Mubarak (no relation to the ousted leader) notes that the once-peaceful square is not likely to quiet down anytime soon.
"The dream and the myth of the paperless city," Matt Stroud, The Verge
When Rahm Emanuel took office as Mayor of Chicago in 2011, he asked his constituents for advice. What should he change about Chicago’s notoriously opaque government? How should he balance the budget? Which technologies should he embrace? He would take suggestions on a free, public website so that savvy Chicagoans could track ideas, note which ideas made it into policy, and which ideas were ignored. Citizens made thousands of suggestions. Though most revealed political gripes rather than sound advice — “Fire 25 Aldermen/women [to] save $50 million!” “SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT SHOULD BE WORKING FOR HIS MONEY!!” “Declare Gangs as Terrorists!” — others showed keen-eyed political promise. 
Kyle Hillman’s suggestion showed enough promise, in fact, to get the 38-year-old political consultant, community organizer, and actor onto the evening news. It also got him a personal call from the mayor. As it turns out, Hillman’s suggestion wasn’t ground breaking. It actually seemed like a no-brainer — an idea that cities all over the country might like to try. 
He suggested that the city should digitize.

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