All posts tagged: built environment

The Decline of Hanging Out

The Decline of Hanging Out

[ad_1] This is Work in Progress, a newsletter about work, technology, and how to solve some of America’s biggest problems. Sign up here. In its earliest decades, the United States was celebrated for its citizens’ extroversion. Americans weren’t just setting out to build new churches and new cities. Their associations were, as Alexis de Tocqueville wrote, “of a thousand different types … religious, moral, serious, futile, very general and very limited, immensely large and very minute.” Americans seemed adept at forming social groups: political associations, labor unions, local memberships. It was as if the continent itself had imbued its residents with a vibrant social metabolism—a verve for getting out and hanging out. “Nothing, in my view,” de Tocqueville wrote, “deserves more attention than the intellectual and moral associations in America.” Something’s changed in the past few decades. After the 1970s, American dynamism declined. Americans moved less from place to place. They stopped showing up at their churches and temples. In the 1990s, the sociologist Robert Putnam recognized that America’s social metabolism was slowing down. In …

What the Housing Shortage Is Doing to American Environmentalism

What the Housing Shortage Is Doing to American Environmentalism

[ad_1] Environmentalism has never been a stable ideology, and its adherents have never been a monolithic group. But, in Minneapolis, the green community has fractured as a wide array of self-described environmentalists find that they don’t agree on very much anymore. Back in 2018, Minneapolis generated national headlines for being the first major American city to eliminate single-family zoning. Under a plan called Minneapolis 2040, the city legalized duplexes and triplexes in all residential neighborhoods. The plan led to a frenzy of ambitious regulatory changes meant to yield denser, transit-accessible, and more affordable homes across the city. The stated goals of Minneapolis 2040 included housing affordability and racial equity, but supporters also stressed the environmental benefits of funneling population growth toward the urban core instead of outlying counties. “All the evidence and data shows that when you reduce your carbon footprint by, for instance, not having a 45-minute commute in from the suburbs … it helps the environment,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey told me at a downtown ice-cream shop in September. “It’s really simple, right?” …

60 Years of Real Estate

60 Years of Real Estate

[ad_1] Western United States, 1975 (© copyright Lee Friedlander, courtesy of Eakins Press Foundation and Fraenkel Gallery) Lee Friedlander’s house portraits October 23, 2023, 7:31 AM ET Lee Friedlander coined a term for the subject of his work: the “social landscape.” The great American documentary photographer, now 89, gives each row house and strip mall and mass-produced car a living and breathing personality. He frames places so as to imbue them with strangeness, movement, intrigue. He often makes what would normally be the background of a photograph the subject of a photograph. He does not treat American cityscapes as another photographer might treat a static mountain or an ancient river. He treats them like main characters—confused, chaotic, tragicomic, all-American characters. More than 150 such images, captured from 1961 to 2022, are collected in the epic new retrospective Real Estate, published this month by the Eakins Press Foundation. The book ends with a play on a rider-on-the-trail image: a whole house being towed on a western highway, off to its next adventure. It begins with a play …