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Portland: A Tale of Two Cities

Portland: A Tale of Two Cities | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it

"Portland is a city that some residents praise as a kind of eden: full of bike paths, independently-owned small businesses, great public transportation and abundant microbreweries and coffeeshops. And then there’s a whole other city. It’s the city where whole stretches of busy road are missing sidewalks, and you can see folks in wheelchairs rolling themselves down the street right next to traffic. It’s the city where some longtime African-American residents feel as if decades of institutional racism still have not been fully addressed."


Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

I don't think that Earth offers everything for everyone.  Given the situation of predetermination about birthplace and essentially upbringing, social class, and outcomes, in an infinite universe (infinite until proven otherwise), a single small planet cannot possibly offer us everything we are destined to need in the universe, let alone the towns that we are limited to.  I do not believe in choice, I believe in destiny... I do not blame people for racism or crimes, as HORRIBLE as they may be. I think that people are made into what they are by the world around them, in existential and defining ways.  Yeah, there is plenty of room for improvement and change in Oregon, but realistically, there is also more room for improvement in other areas too.  I don't really see humans as the sort of people that will ever get better without some sort of divine intervention.  I am taking the perspective of separation of paradise and purgatory that was mentioned in this article, and applying it to a different scale, but I do believe that mankind is to be condemned by the universe, due to its faults and inability to play well with others.  The world freaks out when kidnapping victims are found after a decade of abuse and captivity, but this same world breeds animals for slaughter and consumption... Earthlings clearly have been taught to not care about those that are different, whether in looks or species... I think the kidnapping situation is vile and appalling, but I also think that breeding species for slaughter (which affects more living beings) is democratically more of an issue.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, October 8, 2013 1:11 PM

Portland, Oregon is often discussed as a magnet for a young demographic that wants to be part of a sustainable city that supports local businesses and agriculture.  This podcast looks behind that image (which has a measure of truth to it) to see another story.  Relining, gentrification, poverty, governance and urban planning are all prominent topics in this 50 minute podcast that provides as fascinating glimpse into the poorer neighborhoods of this intriguing West Coast city.  When in cities, we often use the term sustainability to refer to the urban ecology, but here we see a strong concern for the social sustainability of their historic neighborhoods as well. 


Tags: neighborhood, gentrificationurban, place, culture, economic, racepovertyplace, socioeconomic.

Gregory S Sankey Jr.'s curator insight, November 19, 2013 1:21 PM

Recently I came across a craigslist post from a gentleman who was trying to rally individuals to Portland with him for a journey on the "Michigan Trail" to Detroit. He made promise that the intention was to perform rejuvinating work in  Detroit alongside it's current residents and that there would be "no gentrification." 

Not that I found these statements or intentions to be profound or useful in anyway, but this podcast really put a nail in the coffin for me. The effects of gentrification are well known for both their positive and negative aspects. But the bottom line is this, regardless of intention the poor and diverse populations will be displaced unless it is from them that this renaissance takes place. Not Portlandia hipsters looking for some sort of "promise land."  

Portland apparentely has it's own issues with gentrification and a class of social and cultural norms that make it difficult to make the case for cities on the rise to take the same path.  

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Street Art Project Maps Rap Lyric Shout Outs Around NYC

Street Art Project Maps Rap Lyric Shout Outs Around NYC | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it
If a NYC location got a shout out in some rap lyrics, Jay Shells has probably made a sign out of them and placed it at that specific location for his amazing new project.

Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

I just got back at two in the morning from a road trip with one of my cousins to see her sister in Maryland.  It was a fabulous time, and I'd like to point out that we did drive through New York, and caught some glimpses of NYC across the way.  My whole experience on the trip was illuminated by different forms of cultural exposure.  I rarely travel, and it was quite fascinating to see the different locations on the way.  One thing that I noticed was a large presence of graffiti, that completely varied in styles and colors in every city and every state.  It was as if these different people from different places all had different things to say.  The rap lyrics on signs are interesting as well, because these rap lines are not intended to be written on signs, contrasted from graffiti, which is meant to be seen publicly.  The culture in New York is one that includes art and appreciation of art, and these rap lyric signs are both catchy and artsy.  Poetry has long been a way to teach people to remember things- such as in nursery rhymes.  It seems to me that it would be sufficiently easier for a person to remember what avenue they are supposed to meet someone on, by quoting existing rap lyrics that are also present on signs in the area.  These aesthetic embellishments also demonstrate a striving towards a revival of a human blend of Platonic cultural ideas with the presenece of art and poetry in public, and the human imperfection that accompanies rap music with the stigma of sex, drugs, and violence. 

         One of the bad things about the trip was the traffic in New York, but if I had rap lyric signs to read, I really would not have been that bad off.  Some people like to read books or magazines while using the bathroom, and it is becoming increasingly clear that there must be a similar level of tolerance/inclination towards people wanting to read rap lyrics on signs in New York that indicate the areas referred to in song.  There really are very few problems with this, and I am often more offended by the billboards in cities that tell me what religious ideas are right for me to believe, such as the Christ-Supremacist group billboards that tell me Jesus will save me.  I think Kanye West is a slightly more contemporary savior that might be to the liking of the citizens of New York City... At least, in this particular place, during this particular time.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, March 26, 2013 1:51 PM

Street art has a subtle, but powerful connection with place.  How does an art installation alter a neighborhood's sense of place?  How does a place alter the meaning(s) of an art installation?


Tags: art, mapping, NYC, culture, landscape, place, socioeconomic, neighborhood.

bancoideas's curator insight, April 24, 2013 7:59 AM

¿que tal esta idea de arte callejero? Letras de rap y señaléticas de tránsito