Podcast of the Week: City Living

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As promised a week or so ago when I started my little Podcast of the Week listing on the main page of this site I said that if any particular podcast piqued my interest I would actually write something about it in some extended form. Well second week in (third technically, but who is counting) I came across a podcast that I immediately thought that I should write about this. That podcast is To the best of our Knowledge’s City Living podcast.

As with all To the best our Knowledge podcasts they pose a question at the start of proceedings and this week’s podcast on “City Living” reads as such:

Oh, city living. The crush of people, the crowd of buildings, the empty lots, the garbage-strewn slums. More than half of us will be living urban by 2050. How will we manage?

The podcast itself is broken into essentially seven parts, the first being called The Urban Future and host Jim Fleming talks to Chris Anderson, the curator of the TED Conference, and his decision to award the annual TED prize to a concept and not a person with that idea being “The city 2.0”. The second part is entitled City as Organism and it sees Geoffrey West bring his theoretical physicist’s mind to questions of urbanisation and wants to discover if there are any generic kind of universal, in quotes, laws that govern the growth, organisation, and evolution of cities. It makes for quite interesting listening as you get someone who is not traditional associated with the urban environment look for ways to improve the urban environment and really questions whether the city is an organism as prefaced by people such as Jane Jacobs.

Chris Anderson returned once again for the third part and this time talked about Sustainable Urbanism  where he talks about the fact we’ve lost community, life and culture, and created these incredibly expensive wasteful lifestyles that are unsustainable and states that, “I just don’t think that there’s a bigger design project on the planet right now.” Next up we hear Steve Paulsens talk to Arizona State urban planning professor Emily Talen in City Rules where she talks about the rules and regulations in relation to the zoning plans and city codes. Whilst she talks directly about her home city of Phoenix some of the items she talks about are extremely relevant to architects and planners here in Australia. There is also an interesting discussing on the history of zoning.

The fifth part is entitled State Cities sees Al Leston, host of the radio show “State of the Reunion”  which describes itself as: “Telling the story of America, one community at a time,” and basically tells the stories of challenges that different communities across America face and how they overcome them. This kind of story makes yearn for more public/community radio stations in Australia.  The sixth part is called a Guide to the Urban Age and is a reading from City: A Guidebook for the Urban Age by P.D. Smith and from what I heard will be making its way onto my every increasing list of books to read.

The final part of this podcast sees Jim Fleming talk to artist Mary Miss in Seeing Cities about how to get residents thinking about the natural systems and urban infrastructure that supports city life through the use of art through her work City as Living Laboratory. It makes for quite interesting and intriguing listening and could very well work here in Melbourne to educate people more about our city.

Phot taken from broadway1000steps.com

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