Friday, March 2, 2018

"New City' - What It Might Be

 Always a good topic for discussion. Extremely current in light of  unending squabbles over gentrification, traffic congestion, restoration and preservation issues. A New York Times essay  on Sunday February 25 took it on anew under the headline -Tech Eyes the Ultimate Start-Up: An Entire City. Utopian city building as only the talented Silicon Valley upstarts can imagine it. Worthwhile in every way as exploration if not illumination, beginning with admissions that  such schemes in the past rarely have succeeded. Every solution is a contradiction.  So Uber and other ride-sharing operations might start to work as delivery services, hand in hand with Amazon Prime.  Does that mean fewer people using their cars as delivery vans and thus takes more vehicles off the streets?
Or will that simply expand the number that clog arteries everywhere?

Another somewhat related article to recommend. An essay commenting on two books about Istanbul, in Feb. 22nd issue of New York Review of Books. All about the many quirks and wonders of that most incredible city, crossroads of two continents (Asia and Europe) and religions (Christian and Muslim), between two civilizations as well if East and West can be summarized so neatly.  A troubled place under its current leader/self-style sultan Racep Tayyip Erdogan whose latest scheme is to build this year a new $10 billion canal across the Bosphorus - how such  a project is both far-reaching and backward looking.  He already has managed to dig for an underwater tunnel across the Bosphorus. And always the story of a great migration building up a city - Turks from the countryside.

Some gorgeous city views figure as backdrop to a recent  violence-soaked movie  - 'Red Sparrow,' notably a few splendid hotel interiors and street scenes in London, Moscow and Budapest. But none of the exteriors make up for what seems like gross and gratuitous murder and mayhem in the plot. The only, slimmest excuse is  to show women characters behaving both absurdly well and badly - usually at the behest of men.  

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