The Continuous Enclave: Strategies in Bypass Urbanism

Viktor Ramos The Continuous Enclave: Strategies in Bypass Urbanism

Strategies in Bypass Urbanism

This project explores the idea of using creative infrastructure projects to “route around” geopolitical agreements in Israel/Palestine.

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Dmitry Orlov: Social Collapse Best Practices

Full transcript of Dmitry Orlov’s talk (part of Long Now’s longer term thinking seminar series). This is much better than the Thriving in the Age of Collapse and Post-Soviet Lessons for a Post-American Century papers I’d read before.

Moving on to shelter. Again, let’s look at how the Russians managed to muddle through. In the Soviet Union, people did not own their place of residence. Everyone was assigned a place to live, which was recorded in a person’s internal passport. People could not be dislodged from their place of residence for as long as they drew oxygen. Since most people in Russia live in cities, the place of residence was usually an apartment, or a room in a communal apartment, with shared bathroom and kitchen. There was a permanent housing shortage, and so people often doubled up, with three generations living together. The apartments were often crowded, sometimes bordering on squalid. If people wanted to move, they had to find somebody else who wanted to move, who would want to exchange rooms or apartments with them. There were always long waiting lists for apartments, and children often grew up, got married, and had children before receiving a place of their own.

These all seem like negatives, but consider the flip side of all this: the high population density made this living arrangement quite affordable. With several generations living together, families were on hand to help each other. Grandparents provided day care, freeing up their children’s time to do other things. The apartment buildings were always built near public transportation, so they did not have to rely on private cars to get around. Apartment buildings are relatively cheap to heat, and municipal services easy to provide and maintain because of the short runs of pipe and cable. Perhaps most importantly, after the economy collapsed, people lost their savings, many people lost their jobs, even those that still had jobs often did not get paid for months, and when they were the value of their wages was destroyed by hyperinflation, but there were no foreclosures, no evictions, municipal services such as heat, water, and sometimes even hot water continued to be provided, and everyone had their families close by. Also, because it was so difficult to relocate, people generally stayed in one place for generations, and so they tended to know all the people around them. After the economic collapse, there was a large spike in the crime rate, which made it very helpful to be surrounded by people who weren’t strangers, and who could keep an eye on things. Lastly, in an interesting twist, the Soviet housing arrangement delivered an amazing final windfall: in the 1990s all of these apartments were privatized, and the people who lived in them suddenly became owners of some very valuable real estate, free and clear.

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Or read Stewart Brand’s summary reprinted at Grinding.

Somewhat related: My round-up of commentary on Obama’s stimulus bill.

Infrastructure for anarchists

Outline for Vinay Gupta’s talk The Temporary School of Thought.

Full Story: How to Live Wiki

This has been on my mind a lot lately since the gas heater in my apartment went out, and the gas company didn’t come look at it for a week. Turns out my building’s manager’s heat went out earlier in the winter and it took a month to fix. My partner and I were blowing fuses nearly daily because of the electric heater we were using.

A short history of ending US oil dependence

“It will be the policy of my administration to reverse our dependence on foreign oil while building a new energy economy that will create millions of jobs”

–Barack Obama

“To keep our economy growing, we also need reliable supplies of affordable, environmentally responsible energy. Nearly four years ago, I submitted a comprehensive energy strategy that encourages conservation, alternative sources, a modernized electricity grid, and more production here at home, including safe, clean nuclear energy. My Clear Skies legislation will cut power plant pollution and improve the health of our citizens. And my budget provides strong funding for leading-edge technology — from hydrogen-fueled cars, to clean coal, to renewable sources such as ethanol. Four years of debate is enough — I urge Congress to pass legislation that makes America more secure and less dependent on foreign energy.”

–George W. Bush

“Beginning this moment, this nation will never use more foreign oil than we did in 1977, never.”

–Jimmy Carter

“We will never again permit any foreign nation to have Uncle Sam over a barrel of oil.”

–Gerald Ford.

“Let this be our national goal: At the end of this decade, in the year 1980, the United States will not be dependent on any other country for the energy we need to provide our jobs, to heat our homes, and to keep our transportation moving.”

–Richard Nixon

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Crumbling infrastructure watch: air traffic control towers falling apart

Nearly 60 percent of the air traffic control towers and other key aviation facilities run by the Federal Aviation Administration are more than 30 years old and plagued by leaks, mold and foggy windows that can make it difficult to see the aircraft, an audit has found.

The audit of 16 FAA facilities selected at random by the Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General found “obvious structural deficiencies and maintenance-related issues” that would keep the guys from This Old House busy for years. Beyond leaky ceilings and faulty climate-control systems, the most severe problem was condensation-clouded windows that made it difficult to see the airfield. The air traffic control tower at Edwards Andrews Air Force Base — the airport used by the president — was among those with foggy windows.

“It is important to note that the maintenance issues we observed did not impact the safe operations at the facilities we visited,” the report said. Still, some control towers were too short because the airports they serve have expanded since the towers were built.

Age is to blame for most of the problems, the audit states. The FAA has 420 staffed air traffic control centers, each with a useful life of 25 to 30 years. But 59 percent of the buildings are more than 30 years old, and the average age of the system’s control towers is 29.

Full Story: Autopia

Copper Thieves Threaten U.S. Infrastructure, FBI says

Copper thieves, sometimes acting as “organized groups,” are threatening what the FBI said is “critical” U.S. infrastructure, from electrical sub-stations, cellular towers, telephone land lines to railroads and crops, the agency said in an unclassified report unveiled Wednesday.

The report, Copper Thefts Threaten US Critical Infrastructure, said bandits are taking advantage of unprecedented high prices for copper, an almost 500 percent increase since 2001 as measured earlier this year.

Copper Thieves Threaten U.S. Infrastructure, FBI says | Threat Level from Wired.com.

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