Sunday, April 16, 2006

In the Zone

If all politics is indeed local, it's worth noting today's New York Times story about how neighborhood bloggers are shaping the built environments of urban landscapes. The article, "A Blogfest over a Project in Brooklyn," describes how the web's new class of professional amateurs can even impact land use policy. Several of these porchfront bloggers, who are concerned over development plans for Brooklyn's 8.7 million square foot Atlantic Yards, have boned up on their zoning law. Other critics of urban density have more conventional expertise, such as architect and fellow Blogspot blogger Jonathan Cohn, who has been using his mouthpiece Brooklyn Views to debate different space configurations. Still other blogs, such as No Land Grab, focus on relevant issues of eminent domain. My favorite response is the subversive humorous one that commemorates the season in A Very Brookly Haggadah for an Atlantic Yardseder, complete with Hebrew transliteration for the cultural tourist.



Blogger Norman Oder said...

Some comments on the Times article (by the way, I'm a journalist, not an amateur):

7:10 AM  
Blogger Liz Losh said...

Of course, I didn't link to the very interesting Atlantic Yards Report, which is also a Blogspot blog. But I wouldn't want to suggest that "professional amateur" was intended as a derogatory term in any case. Having recently returned from a eclipse-viewing trip, I know how important "amateur" astronomers are to the "professional" astronomy community. I consider it a form of "open source" culture that should be encouraged.

9:17 AM  
Blogger Lumi said...

What wasn't clear in the NY Times article is that basically everybody cited in the article brings some professional expertise, except for the "self-righteous" "angry" chicks at

However, the NoLandGrabbers have more professional tech expertise than the planning, transpo and journalism geeks, which is why they were the first to exploit the latest online publishing tools.

"Open source activism" might be a good name for this trend.

6:26 AM  
Blogger Liz Losh said...

Obviously, there is much more to be written about this complex intersection of political and design discourses taking place in the virtual territory around Atlantic Yards. It's a good case study that I will have to think more about.

3:16 PM  
Blogger Lupton said...

I enjoyed the NIMBY Haggadah! Thanks for sharing.

6:51 PM  

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