26 October 2012

Toronto – New York Run By The Swiss

I recently returned from a research trip to New York and Toronto. Being the first time in Canada’s largest metropolis my expectations were high. I was not disappointed. Nevertheless the image I had had of Toronto was altered a lot. The first days it represented itself as what many would call a highly livable city, everyone’s  friendly, there is a lot of green space, people move around on bikes or in streetcars, small little restaurants, clean and safe, many of the big chain retailers are hidden well in shopping malls, to make way for more small scale retail infrastructures also in the bigger shopping streets. Moreover it definitely has a European touch und it is certainly understandable why it has been ranking top in various ‘most livable cities’ indexes.
However, soon I ‘discovered’ the suburbs. Standing at the viewing platform of CN Tower revealed the vast suburban landscape which is part of Toronto and its metropolitan area.  

25 October 2012

SYNCHRONICITY has not been updated for quite a while. Nevertheless I intend to keep new posts coming in the very near future. So please be patient. I have been pretty busy the last couple of months, many parameters in my professional life have changed. Since May I am research fellow and PhD candidate at the Center for Metropolitan Studies Berlin within the International Graduate Programme Berlin-New York-Toronto. My research is concerned with (in)stabilites of informal life in metropolitan public space with a specific focus on diasporic food practices; a topic which has been discussed broadly also here on the blog. I also just came back to Berlin from New York and Toronto so  I guess there will be plenty to discuss on this platform. Stay tuned.
Image Las Vegas by David Thomas Smith: source

26 April 2012

The City, a Battlefield

The militarization of the urban arena that can be witnessed especially across the developed world renders the city an ever more hostile location for its citizens.
Many articles have been written recently on the topic of military urbanism and I would like to share some of my collected bookmarks especially in relation to new surveillance techniques herewith to illustrate the vast and multifaceted contemporary phenomenon.

12 April 2012

Mapping Vacancy To Initiate Temporary Uses is a website that maps vacant buildings in German cities. The project was initiated by students of architecture in Hamburg a more than a year ago when they mapped the vacant buildings of a derelict area in Hamburg, the Gängeviertel.  After a year the project was expanded throughout Germany and currently maps vacant buildings in Hamburg, Berlin, Bremen, Kaiserlauten and Frankfurt. Due to broad coverage in local media, Leerstandsmelder Berlin could accumulate more than 220 entries within the last two weeks. And the numbers are steadily growing.