Wednesday, October 19, 2005

city stuff

Here's one I made for some class somewhere (at UMassBoston, probably):

City, cities:

• Cash economy—as opposed to barter economy
• Class, ethnic, economic, linguistic and cultural diversity
• Communications!
• Concentrated housing—esp vertical concentration
• Education on all levels, particularly university and technical
• Home of the middleclass!
• Home of the middleperson—the broker
• Major arts events; major sports events
• Medical centers
• Multiculturalism; transculturalism
• Habitual, deliberate, intentional and purposeful [how many more adjectives would you like to describe this activity?] contact with entities outside of itself

Ghetto of any kind and every type (my apologies for writing this down without a source):
"Nothing much goes in or out of it that wasn't there the day before."
Another list, from the same time, same place:

Body Image, where:
  • body,
  • mind,
  • psyche,
  • spirit and
  • culture
converge. Its impact reverberates in all areas of life:
  • mental,
  • physical,
  • emotional and
  • spiritual.

ekistic units

anthropos - 1
room - 2
house - 5
housegroup - 40
small neighborhood - 250
neighborhood - 1,500
small polis - 10,000
polis - 75,000
small metropolis - 500,000
metropolis - 4,000,000
small megalopolis - 25,000,000
megalopolis - 150,000,000
small eperopolis - 1,000 million [1,000,000,000]
eperopolis - 7,500 million [7,500,000,000]
ecumenopolis - 50,000 million [50,000,000,000]

Monday, July 11, 2005

The New South

The South
The New South

The South? It's the one region I easily and inevitably identify with when someone mentions they're been there or lived there. There is anywhere in the South except Texas which to me is more accurately not really real Southwest than Southern South, and except Florida, which any real Southerner knows is a bastard state.

I was born in the Deep South in Mobile, Alabama, lived near Mobile in Bay Minette and Stapleton for a while and then spent some time in Starkville, on the Mississippi Delta.

My mother's father – my grandfather, of course – had grown up in Mississippi: Jackson, I think. He had three brothers and two sisters who all were called by their middle names.

All of this means memories and occasionally the present reality of what used to be known as Poor White Folks' Food and is more popularly identified as Soul Food—at least in local White parlance in Dorchester, Massachusetts. The bill of fare would have to include field peas, grits, Mississippi corn bread (1 cup of cornmeal and 1 tablespoon of flour), biscuits, rice, greens, and a pot of bacon grease on top of the stove. I imagine I've got a lot in common with the Blacks I meet and visit with, many of whom have just arrived North. Maybe that's fantasy!

Although recently I've spent very little time in the South: short visits to Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill; Tidewater, Virginia; Louisville, Kentucky; Memphis, Chattanooga, Knoxville and Gatlinburg, Tennessee—to me Kentucky and Tennessee aren't just border states, they're also borderline South; "Greater Baltimore," Maryland and Washington, D.C. (but is that Southern?), from these visits, from earlier impressions and from the media I've formed a montage. My montage includes regional and local expressions of various kinds being considered vital for sheer survival and also part and parcel of protecting one's Southern identity. Exactly what the identity consists of is not too clear, but it likely includes regional food specialties, and at its worst is politically reactionary and religiously ultraconservative, with an unbiblical view of biblical authority and inerrancy. I suspect – however accurately I'm not sure – the political and religious stance is rooted in a fear of individual risk and responsibility and consequent recourse in legalisms which remove the burden of responsibility from the individual. Though of course there are other reasons, as well as Southerners who think and act otherwise!

And I envision a huge amount of literature, all fiction, all based on reality, all to the last sentence of the last paragraph portraying families held together by hate and dependency, sometimes by incest, with individual and social pathology beyond the wildest fabrications of any non-Southerner. That is just possibly a stereotype?

Also, hot, humid weather and bugs.

Very positively I'm aware of the influence upon mainstream popular music of originally Southern genres such as soul, blues, jazz, gospel, and country and western. Though I don’t know the actual degree of that influence, it appears to be fairly pervasive. To me the music's also a real bridge between South and North..."North" being in reference to the non-Southern United States.

© Leah Chang

Sunday, July 10, 2005

preserving the best of the past

As you can see, here's another blog...when I was in the Community Economic Development Certificate Program at Cal State San Diego State during academic year 2001-2002, with one of my classmates I formed a temporary entity focused on preserving the best of the past as well as new urban brownfield development. I'm not sure what I'll be posting here, but this is the beginning!