Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Obituaries, 2020

While I include obituaries as posts throughout the year for people who are significant figures in urbanism at least the way I see it, for the past few years (e.g., "Urbanism related obituaries -- 2019" and "Urbanism/community development obituaries -- 2018"), I try to publish a single entry at the end of the year, featuring entries about people who have died during the year who are particularly noteworthy to urbanism.

Pandemic.  2020 is a year marked by death, given the excess deaths resulting from the coronavirus.  The virus was first seen in cities, because of how air travel is centered around cities.  Air travel brought the virus to the US from both China and Europe.

Death.  More than 300,000 people are dead in the US, and many of these deaths have been concentrated in urban areas, particularly amongst people of color ("Covid-19 has shown us that good health is not just down to biology," Guardian; "Social Inequities Explain Racial Gaps in Pandemic, Studies Find," New York Times).  Cities like New York, Detroit, and Chicago were especially hit.

Is the city dead?  As a result of the coronavirus, office districts have emptied out, with people working at home.  In cities like San Francisco and New York there was an exodus to the less crowded suburbs.  Retail and hospitality businesses have been wiped out--some studies say 30+% of small businesses are likely to remain permanently shuttered, along with the night time, culture, and tourist industries.  Transit is on the ropes, because much of its usage is driven by commuting, and people fear transit as a locus of infection.  Commercial real estate may never be the same.

Retail, hospitality, entertainment, culture. And the elements of urban life most damaged by the coronavirus--small business, entertainment, cultural offerings, walkable communities, the ability to congregate, etc.--are what make city living attractive.

Vaccines will likely bring the cities back.  But it will be a long process.  It will be hard to recover from business failure and the failure of the Republicans in Congress and the Executive Branch to support a response that could have mitigated a lot of this loss.

Black Lives Matter ("2020 was the year America embraced Black Lives Matter as a movement, not just a moment," Los Angeles Times).  2020 was marked by more needless deaths of African-Americans by police and self-deputized vigilantes. 

Photo: Wally Skalij, Los Angeles Times.

The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked protests across the country, with some attendant violence, including terrible rioting and property destruction in Minneapolis, centered on Lake Avenue, although much of this violence was either fomented by rightists or initiated by opportunists looking to loot businesses for personal gain.

The "Defund the Police" movement sparked by the latest round of needless deaths has sparked important discussion about warrior policing and more complete and complex ways of thinking about public safety and how to deliver it ("An Alternative to Police That Police Can Get Behind," Atlantic Magazine).  At the same time, it was controversial and likely generated some blowback which affected the 2020 National elections.

The sad case of Breonna Taylor in Louisville ("Breonna Taylor’s Life Was Changing. Then the Police Came to Her Door.," New York Times) also shed light on how police resources are focused and procedures that are supposed to protect the rights of citizens are often sloughed off.  

In terms of police resources, Louisville targeted the area that Taylor lived in, as a high crime area, although others argued this was a way to speed along gentrification or neighborhood improvement ("The role of police in gentrification," The Appeal).  I don't agree but can see why people would make the argument.

Photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas, AFP/Getty Images, from "Mapping Black Lives Matter Protests Around The World," WBUR-FM/NPR.

People who should be remembered

Bruce Boynton, challenged segregation in transportation ("Bruce Carver Boynton, who helped spark Freedom Rides, dies at 83," Washington Post).  He brought the case where the Supreme Court struck down separate but equal interstate transportation facilities and practices, and he helped to create the civil rights Freedom Riders campaign.

Dan Camp, developer in the Cotton District of Starkville, Mississippi, home of Mississippi State University ("Dan Camp, Who Created a Mississippi Jewel, Dies at 79," NYT).  Camp was a university professor who saw value in the rundown Cotton District--home to a then closed cotton refinery--it being proximate to the city's downtown and the university campus.  In 1969, he started building infill housing in what 20 years later would be called the "New Urbanism" approach, later adding retail and office space.   Below is a link to a story on the district, from the Mississippi Public Broadcasting program "Mississippi Roads."


His work predated the "New Urbanism" movement by many years.  Although its broader impact was minimal it was important to Starkville.  There is a lesson in that for understanding social and policy change in why it takes so long and how best practices can be "wolflings" that are never adopted and don't end up becoming positive examples that are diffused through innovation networks (cf. Rogers "diffusion of innovation".)

“The Gates” in Central Park in 2005. For two weeks, thousands of strollers wandered 23 miles of the park’s pathways, passing underneath steel frames supporting free-hanging panels of saffron-colored fabric. Andrea Mohin/The New York Times.

Christo, public artist ("Christo, Artist Who Wrapped and Festooned on an Epic Scale," New York Times). He, with his wife Jean Claude, did massive public art installations, mostly in natural settings, but also in cities.

Joe Coloumbe, Trader Joe's specialty markets (Chicago Tribune obituary). He founded the Trader Joe's chain, originally as a small division of a large drug store company, which wasn't interested in maintaining ownership, so he bought it.  Early on he sold the firm to a German supermarket family, but stayed on to manage and grow the company.

For many years TJ's wasn't interested in urban locations, but this changed, and today, the demographics of their stores retail trade areas show the highest household income of any supermarket company ("Analysis From ATTOM Reveals Fresh Take on Grocery Stores Impacting the U.S. Housing Market," ATTOM Data Solutions).  

-- Video on the store's 50th anniversary.

Boston Globe photo.

Joseph Corcoran, Boston real estate developer ("Columbia Point gives way to upscale Harbor Point," Boston Globe, 2015). According to the website of the Boston College Center for Real Estate and Urban Action, which he founded, he:
earned a national reputation by transforming a Boston neighborhood now known as Harbor Point from a crime-ridden housing project into a safe, vibrant mixed-income community that the residents are proud to call home. Joe blazed the trail for mixed-income developments by helping to enact state legislation, chairing the real estate registration board, and founding a nonprofit to revitalize distressed urban neighborhoods. "People don't grow up in poverty," he says, "they grow up in neighborhoods."
This was probably the first example of the rebuild of a "squalid public housing project"--this one was originally called Columbia Point, into a mixed use development that included market rate housing ("Joseph Corcoran Rescued a Squalid Boston Housing Project," Wall Street Journal): "Looking Back at the Success of Harbor Point ," Architect Magazine.

And it was Corcoran who approached HUD about taking on the rebuild, not the other way around.  According to the WSJ:
Completed in 1990 at a cost of more than $250 million, Harbor Point created a neighborhood where lawyers and graduate students lived alongside people qualifying for subsidized rent. They shared swimming pools, a gym and views of Boston’s harbor and skyline.
-- Video interview, Boston Foundation
-- Privately-Funded Public Housing Redevelopment: A Study of the Transformation of Columbia Point (Boston, MA), Institute for International Urban Development

Although some argue that the redevelopment of the site came at a great cost in terms of reduced numbers of housing units available to low income tenants.  The split was about 1/3 low income; 2/3 market rate ("REVITALIZATION OR REPLACEMENT? TWO CASES OF REDEVELOPMENT IN BOSTON: COLUMBIA POINT AND COMMONWEALTH," Joint Center for Housing Studies).

Debenhams Department Stores, UK
.  In December, the company announced they would be shutting down ("What went wrong at Debenhams?" BBC).  

I haven't usually included non-US firms in this obituaries post, when it comes to the death of retail companies.  There are plenty of examples, especially in the UK, as it is overstored as well, although not to the extent of the US.

Debenhams deserves a mention as it was a major British firm, even older than Lord and Taylor, with roots dating to the late 1700s.  

The firm came to my attention because in the last couple decades, it continued to open new stores in center cities, often with startlingly (for retail) modern architecture.  Now I regret not checking out the store, when I was in Liverpool.

New York Times photo.

David Dinkins, first (and only)  black mayor of New York City
("At New York’s Nadir, Dinkins Gave the City the ‘Freedom to Imagine’,""David N. Dinkins, New York’s First Black Mayor, Dies at 93," and "David Dinkins Doesn’t Think He Failed. He Might Be Right," New York Times).  Denigrated by his successor, Rudy Giuliani, Mayor Dinkins doesn't get enough credit for what he did do, including massive support for and expansion of social housing and neighborhood revitalization programs.  

He got the state to help fund not only more police, but after school programs open late into the night, and the significant crime drop experienced by New York City started during the last months of his term.  His administration was especially transparent, aimed to introduce innovation and made it part of labor contracts, managed to hold its own while negotiating with sports teams, etc.

Tony Elliott, creator of Time Out Magazine, with a calendar listing urban events ("Tony Elliott, Whose Time Out Clued Readers In, Dies at 73," New York Times).  Arguably, Time Out Magazine in London, launched in 1968, was the first city magazine with a weekly calendar listing events.  Alternative weeklies and other city magazines, like New York Magazine, adopted the idea.

The firm expanded, creating similar city magazines in almost 50 other cities -- although many of the magazines have these days been supplanted by the internet and have cut back on publication or shut down entirely -- and created a publishing and events company operating in 58 countries.

Joe Englert, DC restauranteur (blog entry).  He was a pioneer in opening night life establishments in Washington neighborhoods that had potential but weren't always recognized for their capacity for revitalization.

Berlin mural by EME Freethinker.

George Floyd
, killed by Minneapolis police, touched off renewed Black Lives Matters protests across the country, a serious reconsideration of the nature of policing ("Defund the police"), and deeper discussion about structural racism. 

+ Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many others ("In Memoriam, I can't breathe," Renee Ater(

All of this spurred counter protesting too, and President Trump tried to manipulate events around the protests to aid his re-election efforts.

Arguably, while Trump lost his bid for reelection, fear of crime spurred by violence and property destruction in the wake of some of the protests aided Republican candidates down the ballot ("‘Defund the Police’ became a Republican weapon in suburban Philly," Philadelphia Inquirer), who did a lot better than polling had predicted--keeping most Senate seats, winning back many House seats in swing districts, and retaining control of state legislatures across the county.

Richard Gilder, became wealthy from his work in the finance industry, funded the creation of the Central Park Conservancy and was a major supporter of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research."Richard Gilder, Donor to Parks, Museum and History, Dies at 87," New York Times).

While there had been "park friends" organizations previously, the Central Park Conservancy was one of the earliest examples of creating what we might call a business improvement district for parks, a nonprofit organization that contributed significantly to fundraising, programs, and operations of a park.

The Wall Street Journal obituary (actually an editorial) said of Gilder "he discovered his calling--not making money, which he did, but using his money to solve civic problems."  He also was a major contributor to the New-York Historical Society, and the American Museum of Natural History.

The Manhattan Institute is a "conservative" think tank focused on urban issues.  They publish City Journal, and their fellows weigh in frequently on all kinds of issues.  I don't agree with all of their fellows (especially Heather MacDonald on policing), but they do push the discourse forward, often in surprisingly interesting ways.

These are important contributions.

Milton Glaser, designer, including the I Love NY campaign and co-founder of New York Magazine, one of earliest of the nation's second generation of city-focused magazines" ("How Milton Glaser Expressed The Best of New York," New York Daily News; "Milton Glaser, Co-founder of New York Magazine and Creator of ‘I❤NY,’ Dies at 91," New York Magazine).





Herman Goldstein, professor, originator of the "problem oriented policing" concept ("Policing pioneer, law school professor Herman Goldstein dies," University of Wisconsin).  In his writings, which included the books Policing a Free Society (1977) and Problem-Oriented Policing (1990), he made the point that police are hired and trained "to fight crime" but most of their time is spend "solving problems."

He called for a "social services" model to policing and public safety rather than the military or warrior model.  You'd never know that from how policing is organized and conducted.

In 2017, he won the Stockholm Prize in International Criminology, which in the field is considered the equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

-- "On problem-oriented policing: the Stockholm lecture, speech, Crime Science (2018)

James Goode, author of histories on Washington--he died in 2019, but it wasn't reported until 2020 ("James Goode, historian of Washington statues and architecture, dies at 80," Washington Post). Capital Losses, featuring descriptions and photographs of great buildings that have been demolished.  Best Addresses is a study of apartment buildings.

From Capital Losses I used the description of the old Esso Building (Standard Oil of New York) building, in an unsuccessful organizing campaign to try to convince BP to construct context sensitive gas stations in DC.

From "Make No Little Plans; Part III — Early Attempts to Develop the Air Rights":
The Esso Building was called the largest and grandest service station in the world. The building stood three hundred feet long and six stories high and was clad in limestone.

Given today’s gas station architecture, it is difficult to comprehend the grandeur of this dignified neoclassical structure. America’s post-war love affair with the automobile carried over to the architecture of automobile showrooms and service stations.

Early automobile service station design often included elements of Colonial, Georgian, Gothic, or other architectural motifs. None, however, surpassed the dignity of this building or its volume of business. Attendants pumped gas on the first floor and serviced cars in the basement and on the first, sixth, and top floors. Cars were transported between floors by elevators.

The second floor housed the Esso Tour office while three other floors housed the offices of the Ford Motor Company, the General Electric Credit Corporation, Prudential Insurance Company, and the Territory of Alaska until it became a state.
The building was demolished for the Center Leg Freeway, but in an interesting twist, the building for the US Department of Labor was constructed in its place on a deck over the freeway.

William Helmreich, Sociologist Known For Walking Every Block of New York City, Dies (NPR). 

Michael Hertz, designer of the modern NYC Subway map ("Michael Hertz — You’ve Surely Seen His Subway Map — Dies at 87," New York Times).

Charles Hobson, early producer of television documentary style programs on the black experience ("Charles Hobson, Who Helped Break a TV Color Line, Dies at 83," New York Times).

Irene Knouye, created the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, and as chair of the Kresge Foundation and Ford Foundation, she helped to organize foundation and other financial support to get Detroit out of bankruptcy, while protecting the art collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

This was necessary because the DIA was not separately incorporated, was considered an asset to be harnessed by the city's creditors ("Irene Inouye, 71, Fund-Raising Champion of Japanese-Americans, Dies," New York Times).

Larry Kramer, playwright and AIDS activist
.  AIDS especially affected gay men, usually living in cities, and had a pronounced effect on urban districts.  

NYC based playwright Larry Kramer co-founded a leading activist group, Act UP, known for in your face demonstrations ("Twilight of a Difficult Man: Larry Kramer and the Birth of AIDS Activism," NYT).  The group's efforts helped to shift attention onto AIDS as a public health crisis, one in which federal government practice needed to lead the response, the medical research agenda, and other elements toward an active addressing of the disease.

Paul Jablonski, CEO of San Diego Metropolitan Transit System ("Paul Jablonski, Metropolitan Transit System CEO, dies," San Diego Union Tribune).

MTS employees, transit officials and well wishers watch a 40-bus procession that passed through downtown San Diego honoring Metropolitan Transit System Chief Executive Officer Paul Jablonski. Photo: Sam Hodgson/The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Pretty rare to see a transit agency CEO honored on the signboard of a bus.  Photo: Sam Hodgson, San Diego Union Tribune.

I remember reading an article on him and the MTS in Mass Transit Magazine, around 2004/2005 and he made the point that one of the problems in the transit industry is that every agency wants to design their own fixed rail transit cars, which drives up the cost because of the loss of standardization and volume.

Charles Jones, civil rights activist
("J. Charles Jones, civil rights activist who led protest walk around Beltway, dies at 82," Post).  Among his many activities, he organized against housing discrimination in the suburbs.  

Photo: Steve Szabo, Washington Post.

Allen Lew, public administrator, manager of large scale construction projects ("Allen Lew, hard-driving D.C. city administrator, dies at 69 of coronavirus," Washington Post, "Allen Lew got it done," Washington City Paper).  He managed the construction of the Washington Nationals stadium, ran a not uncontroversial project to rebuild DC schools, and served as the chief administrative officer of DC Government under Mayor Vincent Gray.  Before that he ran various projects in New York, and had left DC last year to take a job as vice chancellor of facilities for the multi-campus City University of New York.  He died of the coronavirus.

John Lewis, Civil rights activist and Congressman (obituaryGuardian).

Ronald Lewis, creator of the informal museum, the House of Dance and Feathers, which aimed at preserving the street culture of Black New Orleanians ("Ronald Lewis, Preserver of New Orleans Black Culture, Dies at 68," New York Times).

Lord & Taylor Department Store chain.  With antecedents dating to 1824, the company was almost 200 years old.  But its demise has been coming for some time.

The company had been selling off real estate, including its flagship store in Manhattan, intending to keep a store on the lower floors, but then it decided to shut the store down. 

After many years of various ownership schemes, it was sold to an e-commerce focused mostly digital company, under that ownership, it lasted less than two years. 

Virginia Savage McAlester, historic preservationist, author of Field Guide to American Houses, ("Virginia Savage McAlester, best-selling author and ‘Queen of Dallas Preservation,’ dies at 76," Dallas Morning News). The book is a classic.

Rhody McCoy, New York City Educator and Professor ("Rhody McCoy, Key Figure in New York's School Wars, Dies at 97," NYT .  As Superintendent of the Brooklyn division of New York City's public schools, he initiated a program of decentralizing oversight of the schools, and providing for  community control, which put minority representatives in charge of schools serving their neighborhoods.

This was very controversial--opposed by teachers unions and white neighborhoods--and didn't last, precipitated by a city-wide strike by the teachers union.

Michael McKinnell, architect who created Boston City Hall.  Contemporary writing about the BCH called it humanizing.  To me it's an example of the anti-people architecture of urban renewal and brutalism, stark and off putting.  From the NYT obituary:
It wasn’t the proper government structure of Boston’s staid red-brick tradition; rather, it was a proudly monumental building that would command the vast plaza of the new Government Center complex with thunderous authority. ...

Spaces and forms interpenetrated. Sculptural concrete projections that housed the chambers and the mayor’s office protruded from a modular facade of offices. A brick amphitheater of stairs on the ground floor accommodated gatherings of citizens, even spontaneous sit-ins; the vast plaza in front, inspired by the Campo of Siena, Italy, anticipated the thousands of protesters of those riotous times.

It was a benevolent structure that took the side of the people, guaranteeing citizens free access through porous perimeters in that cradle of American democracy.
Eli Miller, seltzer deliverer (obituary, NYT).  Like milk and juice (and more recently, water), seltzer used to be delivered directly to the home in cities with large Jewish populations, like New York City.  Mr. Miller was one of the last to do so in NYC.  He retired from his Brooklyn route in 2017.

John Mooney, co-inventor of the catalytic converter ("John Mooney, a father of the catalytic converter, dies at 90," Washington Post).  This emissions control device was a major contribution to the improvement of urban air quality in the United States.
From the article:
The breakthrough invention, which Mr. Mooney created in the 1970s with fellow chemical engineer Carl D. Keith, was credited with preventing billions of tons of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides from entering the air we breathe. 
An Environmental Protection Agency report in the early 2000s estimated that Mr. Mooney’s invention helped save 100,000 lives and eliminate hundreds of thousands of cases of throat and lung ailments caused by the emissions of the internal combustion engine. “Billions of people around the world breathe cleaner air because of this invention,” Margo T. Oge, director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality at the EPA, told the New York Times in 2008.
Carvel Moore, neighborhood improvement advocate and consultant, New York City. As a community activist, she led the formation of the 14th Street Local Development Corporation in the early 1970s, which spearheaded the massive clean-up and transformation of Union Square Park, and the foundation of the City’s largest Green Market.

Her work with the 14th Street LDC prompted Carvel to champion the use of new legislation to create business improvement districts, through the imposition of a small additional tax on commercial property within the boundaries created for the special service district.  The 14th St/Union Square BID was the city's first, with Mrs. Moore at the helm. Carvel went on to form and run other BIDs across the City.

The railroad tunnel under Riverside Park, Manhattan, is used by many people who are homeless.

Margaret Morton, professor at Cooper Union, photographer of Manhattan's homeless (obituaryNew York Times).  From the article:
When the city bulldozed the park in late 1989, scattering those who lived there, Ms. Morton followed them and spent the next 10 years documenting their world and that of others on the margins, not only telling their stories but also advocating for their welfare. The author Philip Lopate, who described her as “our modern-day Jacob Riis,” said recently that “she pulled off a rare combination of socially engaged photography that was also formally exquisite.”

The ballerina Misty Copeland at Steps in 2015. She called the studio a “dance community staple” that offers dancers “a sense of community, support, love, and unbelievable opportunity.”Credit: Bon Duke for The New York Times.

Carol Paumgarten, founder of Steps on Broadway dance studio, New York City ("Carol Paumgarten, ‘Den Mother’ to a Dance Scene, Dies at 76," New York Times).  Steps on Broadway is a for profit dance studio, and is an example of anchor spaces, either for profit or non profit, which provide structure and continuity to artistic endeavor within artistic disciplines ("Arts, culture districts and revitalization," 2009; "Cultural planning and the need for arts-based community development corporations as real estate operators," 2018). 

John Pingree, former CEO of the Utah Transit Authority ("Longtime UTA chief John Pingree dies at 80," Salt Lake Tribune; "Guest opinion: John Pingree, father of today’s UTA, was a great example of leadership," Salt Lake Deseret News).

The UTA has come a long way from this 1972 photo: SLDN.

As director of the Utah Transit Authority, he successfully mounted a campaign to get funding for the light rail system in Greater Salt Lake City--today the agency runs bus service, light rail and a commuter railroad ("Utah Transit Authority has long, winding road of history," SLDN).

But the state is pretty conservative politically, and anti-transit elected officials deposed him, although the light rail project continued, and was an element in Salt Lake's successful bid for the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Printed newspapers continue to die.  This year, the Salt Lake Tribune and Salt Lake Deseret News announced they were shifting to a one day a week printed newspaper, downsizing from seven day publication.  Many other newspapers went out of business completely.

Historically, newspaper readership was positively correlated with participation in local civic affairs.

  
Retail comic, 7/24/2019, featuring the "showrooming" phenomenon, where people go to stores to look at products, then buy them online

Retail Comic by Norm Feuti presented wry observations of working in retail, the travails of the job, of dealing with unreasonable customers, corporate dictates, and the financial instability within the industry. Given the importance of retail businesses to commercial district revitalization I always found it trenchant,   He ended the comic in February, by having Grumbel's, the department store chain featured in the strip, go out of business.  

Good timing, since the pandemic crushed retail, especially department and specialty clothing stores. 

The Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland, Oregon, Saturday, March 11, 2017. Photo: Bradley W. Parks / OPB.

Arlene Schnitzer, Portland real estate investor, arts proponent, and philanthropist ("Arlene Schnitzer, Oregon Philanthropist And Art Collector, Dies At 91," Oregon Public Broadcasting).  She is an example of the thousands of locally-focused people of means across the country who step up when it comes to making philanthropic investments in their communities.

Shopping malls.  Not dead yet, but secondary malls are definitely on the ropes.  The pandemic has accelerated negative trends.  Ironically, shopping malls usually in suburban locations, shifted retail activity from cities to the suburbs.  (In response, some cities built urban shopping malls, although they tended to not be particularly successful as they aimed to draw people off the city's streets into the mall, when what differentiates the urban experience is the activity outside.

In the US, over 2020 major companies like Macy's and JC Penney closed stores (JCP was also in bankruptcy).  Specialty stores like Steinmart went out of business.  Independent department store Lord & Taylor announced its demise.  And shopping malls are increasingly a distressed asset, the pandemic accentuating trends shifting retail towards an e-commerce dominated future ("Retail Bankruptcies Will Push Mid-Range Malls Over the Edge," Bloomberg).

Many shopping mall owners went through bankruptcy, and others abandoned properties to their mortgage holders, after determining it wasn't worth reinvesting because success was unlikely.

Michael Sorkin, architect, critic and writer ("Michael Sorkin, 71, Dies; Saw Architecture as a Vehicle for Change," New York Times).  Some essays.

Eusebio Leal Spengler, led the program to restore the historic architecture of Old Havana ("Eusebio Leal Spengler, Who Restored Old Havana, Dies at 77," New York Times).


Jane Walentas, artist, involved in the revitalization of the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn ("JANE WALENTAS, THE ARTIST BEHIND DUMBO’S HISTORIC CAROUSEL, DIES," Brooklyn Paper).  She facilitated the funding of the company created by her husband to carry out the program, and she inserted arts and artists supporting initiatives as a key element of the development program. A key project she oversaw was the realization of the DUMBO Carousel.

Keep Austin Weird!Red Wassenich, creator of the Keep Austin Weird slogan and campaign ("“Keep Austin Weird” Originator Remembered for Choosing Community Over Capital," Austin Chronicle).

Westchester Broadway (Dinner) Theatre, Westchester County, New York ("Westchester Broadway Theatre won't reopen, a victim of COVID shutdown," Journal News).  But one example of the failure of a culture institution as a result of the pandemic.  It was a for profit, and a reliable employer of actors for over 46 years.  It wasn't high art, but it provide opportunities for the audience as well as actors.

In my writings on cultural planning, this business failure also an example of how culture master plans need to include for profit entities that are part of the overall arts-culture ecosystem, and plan for their continuance, especially in times of financial exigency ("Federal shutdown as another example of why local jurisdictions should have more robust contingency and master planning processes," 2013).

Peter Wolff, publisher of the Intowner community newspaper, which covered the Greater Dupont Circle area of Ward 2 in Washington, DC ("InTowner newspaper publisher Peter Wolff dies at 84," Washington Blade). 

Community newspapers are a key element of local communications and provide reporting on local issues not usually addressed by larger newspapers and the broadcast media.  The Internet has been killing this sector of the media industry for a long time ("Newspapers, community media, and knowledge about and engagement in civic affairs," 2020).

3 Comments:

At 2:21 PM, Anonymous charlie said...

I missed that news on alan Lew.

Happy new year! I hope you and your family is well.

You might enjoy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtgEXlWDpuY

(the origins of british neo-liberalism from the BBC)


 
At 5:39 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

Thank you for the wishes and back at you and your family.

Here, we seem to be fine, or as best as can be expected. No serious illnesses on the part of the "old people."

Although my brother came down with covid last week (Florida). Fortunately, in the last two years, he got healthy again, lost tons of weight, nutrition-based cardiac improvements, etc., so he is much better placed for recovery. Although I do worry about post-covid symptoms. We'll see.

2. Thank you for this find of the BBC documentary. I will definitely watch it.

 
At 9:31 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

+

Joe Clark, the former principal of Eastside High School in Paterson, New Jersey, who inspired the 1989 film “Lean on Me.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/joe-clark-dead/2020/12/30/df02c530-4aa0-11eb-a9f4-0e668b9772ba_story.html

Donald Stull, black architect who created a firm in Boston, which in its practice, also garnered many public building projects, including MBTA stations.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/12/30/metro/donald-l-stull-pioneering-architect-ruggles-mbta-station-harriet-tubman-house-dies-83/

 

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