EmailTwitterFacebookDiggStumbleUponGoogle+
Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City is a ground-breaking look at American cities in many ways. It takes a deep and richly textured view into places that make up what we call cities and stretches the boundaries of that understanding beyond the often one-dimensional historical, economic, sociological, or political interpretations that try to explain urban environments. The authors do this by re-imagining, recreating, and retelling Philadelphia as a complicated story from the industrial past to the post-industrial present. They view the city through “layers” of the past that both speak to a bygone era, but also the possibilities for the future, seeing Philadelphia in a very nuanced way that challenges all of us to think differently of cities in the American context. On January 19, 2018, I had a chance to sit down with one of the authors, Nathaniel Popkin, to talk about the book and the broader attempt to interpret cities in the 21st century. It was a pleasure to take time to talk about their creative intellectual endeavor. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

More… Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City

Daniel Dougherty is a political scientist who spends his time teaching, researching, experiencing, pondering, and talking about cities. He is Associate Dean of the Pennoni Honors College and Director of the Honors Program at Drexel University.

EmailTwitterFacebookDiggStumbleUponGoogle+

“Will it make a beautiful ruin?” That was the question Basil Spence asked about the nuclear power station he was designing in Trawsfynydd, Wales. This was back in the 1960s, but it was forward looking. Spence, an architect (he designed the famous Coventry Cathedral in England), was aware of one simple fact: Nuclear power plants are functional for a relatively short period of time before they are put out of commission and replaced by newer, safer designs and technology. The abandoned plant is filled with radioactivity that makes it unusable for anything for a long time. A cathedral is designed with the idea that it should stand, and function, for a very long time — perhaps beyond time. A nuclear power plant is designed with the knowledge that it must become a ruin, and rather quickly. It is born to die, and then to sit as a corpse, a testimony… More…