Designing a jail

IN THE NEW INQUIRY, Monica Mohapatra writes about the uneasy appeal of design thinking to make better prisons. The piece is excellent. Read it.

Design approaches to jail have recently become appealing to ruling classes because they garner a profit from aesthetic changes that are easily branded as prison reform. Underlying this facade of reform is the fact that architectural improvements serve to make jails more palatable for a future where jails will neighbor more communities...


The years have made me bitter

THE YEARS HAVE MADE me bitter, the gargle dims my brain
'cause Dublin keeps on changing, and nothing seems the same
The Pillar and the Met have gone, the Royal long since pulled down
As the great unyielding concrete makes a city of my town.

On the 23rd of March, last Saturday, NSW went to a State election and narrowly re-elected its government. The Coalition, unpopular for its performance but with a well-respected leader, faced a Labor Party with an unremarkable campaign and an unknown leader whose comments about Asian demographic change were reported in the last week, to catastrophic effect.


Detail accounts

BECAUSE ONE BLOG IS never enough I started recently taking photographs of, and making commentary about, architectural vents and grilles. It's an extremely niche and (I hope) harmless thing to do with my time, and seems to fit what I realise is a broader interest I've got in other people's projects of documenting specific urban environmental characteristics.


The end of the world

A MATCHED PAIR OF articles I'm reading this time begin this blog entry, which seem to suit each other; Niv M. Sultan's The End? and Patrick Hicks' V-2 and Saturn: A Tale Of Two Rockets.

The world has, time and time again, survived mostly intact. Life has gone on with some degree of recognizability. The current moment, however, feels different...


What I'm reading

A City Plans For War (Emma Shaw Crane, Public Books):

Urban planning’s promise of an improved city of the future is especially bright in postconflict cities, where planning is expected to bring not only the usual modernist improvements—development, growth—but also peace. Yet in postconflict Beirut, planners, developers, and architects, instead of designing for a peaceful city, plan for the war yet to come.

It's time to let Canberra picturesquely decay (Ian Warden, Canberra Times):

When Australians, in their endearingly muddleheaded and inarticulate way, complain that there is something “artificial” about their nation’s capital, one of the things they mean (without being able to put a muddleheaded finger on it) is that Canberra has no ruins.

Conspiracy Theories (David Runciman, TLS):

...for the conspiracy theorist the absence of truth can only be explained by some sinister forces having decided to conceal it. And of course that is a conspiracy theory that many liberals find hard to resist. Why did people vote for Brexit? Because the ignorant voters were misled by nefarious forces. The same with the election of Trump. What are those forces? Take your pick...


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