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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

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An Amazon HQ2 kind of day: Florida: "Splitting Amazon HQ2 between New York and D.C. is a telling case of the big getting bigger and the rich getting richer. But America's mayors and governors are the bigger culprits," offering millions (and billions) of taxpayer dollars that "could be used to fight poverty, improve schools, or build affordable housing. About the only hope left is that Amazon wakes up and does the right thing." -- Thompson couldn't agree more: The "Amazon HQ2 spectacle isn't just shameful - it should be illegal. Why the hell are U.S. cities spending tens of billions of dollars to steal jobs from one another in the first place" with deals that "take scarce resources from everything local governments would otherwise pay for, such as schools, roads, police, and prisons." -- Schafer lays out how "Minnesota, like others, was played by Amazon in the HQ2 sweepstakes. Nearly 240 cities and regions provided a ton of information about their communities and growth plans. The businesses that compete with Amazon sure don't have access to that kind of information" (and who knows what it will do with all that confidential data). -- Denver architect Ruggles worries that contemporary architecture "meant to excite is also causing neuroaesthetic problems. 'This is a public-health issue, not a style issue,'" but others beg to differ (Parikh: "This is more a conservative-versus-progressive argument"). -- Bisset ponders "mental wellbeing in architecture," and what can be done to improve things: "Frameworks that encompass the mental health of architects and architecture students are long overdue." -- Brussat (at his curmudgeonly best) cheers Scruton being named chair of the U.K.'s Building Better, Building Beautiful commission: "The choice has irked the forces of modern architecture whose helots have already started heaving hot pitch over the walls to block him" - his appointment "bodes poorly for the modernists as they cling ludicrously to their power. Scruton as the knight errant of beauty is an idea whose time has come." -- Speaking of Trad vs. Mod: Chicago may be "a Mies van der Rohe town," but "Stern wants to mess with that equation" with his One Bennett Park supertall" that will "stand out against the modernist, glass-sheathed towers that have shaped Downtown" ("Mies had a heavy hand in this city," sayeth Stern). -- Ford taps Quinn Evans Architects to lead in the renovation of the 104-year-old Michigan Central Station in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood; the automaker is "redeveloping the depot and several other nearby sites to put its stamp on Detroit's revival" (tax breaks included, of course, but at least there's a community benefits agreement). -- A very different kind of preservation: In Japan, the 250-acre Meiji-mura museum that opened in 1965 hosts more than 60 structures from 1868-1912 - not replicas, but the actual buildings, including the original lobby and first floor of FLW's Imperial Hotel. -- Lange makes the case for why "every city should have a toy library": "The 'toyery' once made play a part of civic infrastructure. It's time to bring it back - toy librarians of the 1930s had it right: Toys should be free" (an "Unusual Stuff to Borrow" collection in Ann Arbor - fascinating history lesson, too - who knew?!!?). -- Hawthorne explores three California ghost towns and what they "tell us about the state's more successful settlements" (check out what's at the end of Zzyzx Road).

The Year of the Woman (and not just in politics):
-- Matthewson parses the Parlour Census Report and other data re: gender equity: "My analysis shows that the growth in the proportion of women is more sluggish than might be expected," but the good news is that "the most striking change since 2012 is a big jump in the proportion of women gaining registration, from 34% to 41%." -- Ednie-Brown is inspired by the Leading Change conference "marking an extraordinary moment in which women are leading every architecture school in Victoria" and beyond. "How might we work with this emerging situation to best leverage productive change for the discipline of architecture?" -- A good reason to head to Miami December 3-4: Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation's annual Industry Leaders Roundtable Retreat, this year themed "Women Up: Successfully Navigating the #MeToo Business Environment.

  

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