Just like there are #Black Lives Matter albums (To Pimp a Butterfly), feminist novels (The Valley of the Dolls), and Marxist hip-hop (Ana Tijoux), there’s urbanist art too.
So, I’ve asked local policy makers, activists, writers, intellectuals (!), urbanists, and friends to help come up with a list of essential pro-city manifestos. In the last installment, we heard from Seattle Bike Blog founder, editor, and writer Tom Fucoloro.
Today, PubliCola's former MusicNerd, Anand Balasubrahmanyan, highlights the bleak side of the city. Balasubrahmanyan has advocated for immigrant rights and homeless resources at OneAmerica, the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, and AllHome (formerly the Committee to End Homelessness in King County). He currently types compelling copy for Pyramid Communications. —Josh Feit
So I’ll be honest here, I’m not really sure what urbanism means. I think it’s wrong to celebrate cities as a subversive cauldron of youth culture while ignoring their larger role in shaping an unjust world. Take Seattle’s growing pains: the two populations increasing quickest in our city are six figure tech dudes and homeless people. You don’t need to watch Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights to view urban migration as humans pulled apart by the centrifugal churn of a widening wealth gap.
Tinder is the ultimate piece of art about cities. Based on our current location read by satellite, the app canvases urban infrastructure to populate our lust. It acts as a real time, interactive (phone) installation that revels in how density builds our capacity for knee-jerk categorization. The marvels of the city swipe before us, splicing the fuckable from the unfuckable, the rich from the poor, the desperate from the lonely from the tossed aside. All in the few minutes it takes for the Uber to arrive.