Tag Archives: community

the on-the-street political reality of CicLAvia…it’s totally nice

Some of you might know of CicLAvia, LA’s biannual celebration of bikes, feet, skateboards, roller skates, roller blades…anything non-motorized, really. We and many of the world’s cities have Bogotá, Colombia to thank for originating the Ciclovia concept of shutting down city streets to car traffic for real, street-level participation, and straight-up giddy physical engagement with our built environments. The streets are packed and yet the people are smiling.

Angelenos have CARS (Community Arts Resources) for its wildly successful adoption, as well as galvanizing multiple, much needed, bike lane designations throughout the city. If you needed proof of political buy-in, please cast your eyes upon this picture of the tracings of a photo-op. Yes, we were just in front of City Hall, and yes, that is a bike lane. Meta.

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Filed under Public Space, Quotidian

DeRienzo, H. (2008). Community organizing for power and democracy: Lessons learned from a life in the trenches. _The Community Development Reader_, J. DeFilippis & S. Saegert, eds. New York and London: Routledge.

Harold DeRienzo is Managing Member of Greenways Resources LLC. He has served as an advocate, planner, organizer, developer, lawyer, mediator, and protagonist for many of the most pressing housing and community development issues in New York City.

DeRienzo’s polemical chapter begins by distinguishing between the “neighborhood,” a specific, geographically limited “housing services cluster” (p. 181), and the more powerful — and power-related — “community.” The former’s characteristics are: atomization, external economic dependency, and service infrastructure. “Community,” by contrast, requires three things: (1) commonality, which, to DeRienzo, is regrettably sufficient for many community organizers; (2) economic interdependence (Weber, 1968; Berry, 1993); and (3) collective capacity, which follows from the first two and requires sober appraisal.

DeRienzo describes two forms of community building: (1) Static Enhancement, which implies a satisfaction with the status quo, and (2) the Transformative Model, where reality is made (Berlin, 1991). Community power is, like community, fragile and dependent on quality social infrastructure. Given this, DeRienzo sees three types of community organizing efforts: (1) Organizing for Domestication, which he calls “manipulation;” (2) Organizing around Issues, or issue-specific mobilization, which is a bit better but ultimately just minimizes hurt; and (3) Transformative/Developmental Organizing. Here one must recognize the inherent challenges and still strike at the heart of the problem (e.g. public space, institutional accountability and control, political involvement).

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Filed under Annotated Bibliographies, Community Development

Wherry, F.F. (2011). _The Philadelphia Barrio: The Arts, Branding, and Neighborhood Transformation_. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.

Frederick Wherry, PhD in Sociology from Princeton University, is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is both a cultural sociologist who researches markets, as well as an economic sociologist who examines the motivating meanings in and from the market place. He has studied markets in Thailand, Costa Rica, and Philadelphia to better understand how cultural identity affects and improves opportunities within the global and local contexts.

In this book, Wherry holds that community stakeholders (local residents) can transform their neighborhoods through creativity and sweat equity, thus enhancing a neighborhood’s economic vitality and symbolic reputation/distinction (Bourdieu, 1989). The neighborhood in this case is Philadelphia’s Centro de Oro, or as was known from the mid-80s, “the Badlands,” a neighborhood beset by media’s binary narrative of “problem solvers” or “trouble makers” since the mid-80s. These nonmaterial constraints helped negatively shape not just how outsiders perceived the neighborhood, but how the neighborhood perceived itself. “Theirs is the story of how arts and culture contribute to neighborhood change” (21).

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Filed under Annotated Bibliographies, Community Development, Major Field, Media Arts, Minor Field, Research Fields

Castells, M. (1983). _The City and the Grassroots: A Cross-Cultural Theory of Urban Social Movements_. Berkeley and Los Angeles: The University of California Press.

Arguing upfront that sociologists and urban studies experts know much about what constitutes city form and the city’s problems, but nothing about the cause of social change, Castells sets about elaborating “a provisional, theoretical framework” (xvi) of how social change happens. Taking a express departure from Marxism’s preoccupation with production, he reasserts the city is a social social product and a site for collective consumption. Moreover, its innovations generally arise from grassroots efforts, the most successful among them, “urban social movements.”

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Filed under Annotated Bibliographies, Community Development, Major Field, Research Fields

A grateful farewell to IML 500…that also reads as some Burnett-based kvetching

The last four and a half weeks whizzed by. In the process we learned Photoshop, Premier, and (behold!) WordPress. I thank our Professors Holly Willis and Vicki Callahan, my classmates, and the hired guns at Lynda.com. For what it’s worth, I consider Photoshop to be the hardest. I realize many of the terms borrow from photography, but the application of said terms? I’m not so sure. But I’ll not decry the Photoshop! I have too much fun using it to make this blog’s headers. So much so that I worry about future procrastination projects, wherein I toil away at making 770 x 200 images just so when I ought to be writing up on Out the Window, or even transferring and tagging (hurray, tags!) my annotated bibliographies. As Burnett (2005) says, our archives look differently now. The role of the image extends beyond mere illustration. Images are now the central actors in archives, providing “visualizations of thinking, feeling, seeing, and knowing” (77).

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Filed under Scholarship