For China, a boom//bubble/bust in high bridge construction

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Clockwise from top left: the Jiaozhou Bay Bridge in Qingdao, in Shandong Province; the Duge Beipan River Bridge, in Guizhou Province; the Aizhai Bridge, in Hunan Province; the Beipan River Shanghai-Kunming high speed rail bridge in Guanling Buyi and Miao Autonomous Prefecture in Anshun, a city in southwest China’s Guizhou Province. Credit Xinhua; Getty Images; European Pressphoto Agency; Associated Press

More via NYT re: China’s New Bridges: Rising High, but Buried in Debt

Issue 21: of the Avery Review

Because here’s the thing—architecture is always complicit, Trump or no Trump. It always has been. Architecture coordinates colossal expenditures (of material, of energy); it scripts forms of labor (in its construction, in its operation, and in the programs it houses); it is both a repository and generator of capital. Architecture participates, centrally, in defining modes of life, whether for the privileged or the dispossessed—designing and building the boundaries between the “haves” and the “have-nots,” sometimes subtly. Recognizing these complicities need not inspire either nihilism (“Well, what can I do about it?”) or defensiveness (“What am I supposed to do about it?”), but should rather be understood, quite simply, as the terrain we navigate. Naming these complicities and the injustices they perpetuate is a first step toward addressing them.

In which Manuel Shvartzberg CarrióTeddy Cruz and Fonna Forman, Anna Lui and Ananya Roy argue why “understanding Trump requires understanding Schumacher” and further, the importance of “understanding of the hegemonic articulations of infrastructure“, or how “managerialism is hegemonic because modern infrastructures operationalize, pre-empt, co-opt, channel, and distribute—that is, they manage power—by design“. Plus, praise for Keller Easterling’s ‘Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space’.  A call for “Unwalling Citizenship” and a reading of the catalog/book of the exhibition ‘After Belonging‘. Also, reflections on #NotMyAIA, “ontologies of professional expertise“, normalization, the “infrastructure of assent“, “logics of white supremacy and patriarchy…“, the “politics of divestment“.

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Jacob Lawrence, The Migration of the Negro, panel no. 15, 1940–41. © The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society [ARS], New York.

re: why so much contemporary political revolt is oriented towards the infrastructural

The injustice of infrastructure is not only about lack…Sometimes there is too much infrastructure…Infrastructures reach across time, building uneven relations of the past into the future, cementing their persistence. In colonial and settler colonial contexts, infrastructure is often the means of dispossession, and the material force that implants colonial economies and socialities. Infrastructures thus highlight the issue of competing and overlapping jurisdiction — matters of both time and space.

More from Deborah Cowen (associate professor of geography at the University of Toronto),  via Verso Books

re: stack platforms aka “earth, cloud, city, address, interface, user”

Platforms offer a kind of generic universality, open to human and non-human users. They generate user identities whether the users want them or not. They link actors, information, events across times and spaces, across scales and temporalities. They also have a distinctive political economy: they exist to the extent that they generate a platform surplus, where the value of the user information for the platform is greater than the cost of providing the platform to those users

Via McKenzie Wark On Benjamin Bratton’s The Stack for Public Seminar

re: the logisticalization of contemporary supply chains,

For No. 43 / Shelf Life of Harvard Design Magazine, Clare Lyster (author of ‘Learning from Logistics: How Networks Change Our Cities’) wrote Storage Flows: Logistics as Urban Choreography.

Wherein she argues

To fully comprehend contemporary mechanisms of flow, we need to explore the manner in which logistics shrewdly appropriates other external networks and spaces as a means to enhance its supply chain operations. For example, many logistical networks hijack familiar forms of urban infrastructure to further conquer the spatiotemporal gap between supply and demand. Piggybacking on other systems to optimize flow by collapsing supply and distribution into one seamless system has many implications for the city, changing how distribution typologies appear in the urban landscape and thus the landscape itself.

Note: There are a number of spots where I assume “ow”/”ows” should be read, as a typo, as “flows”…

Also, no surprise that Alan Berger comes up. I immediately thought of his writings on the infrastructural leftover spaces or dross. The spaces/places where “Storage flows” happen. Transit through.

What is different today, in particular is the role of algorithms and digital flows.

 

re: Landscape architecture, Indigeneity studies and Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Rod Barnett published an essay over at Places Journal. He begins with the observation

Indigeneity is scarcely mentioned in the field’s seminal texts nor discussed in its conference halls and online forums….My project investigates how indigenous communities are represented (or not) in this process of contemporary American landscape-making.

He then draws on the work of Brian Davis

who places the modern practice of landscape architecture within the ‘long, sophisticated tradition of landscape-making in the Americas,’ thus establishing continuity and dissolving the boundaries between us and them, then and now.

to make the case for transculturation, decolonization and an awareness of the indigenous experience as a continual contact zone, as guiding principles for Designing Indian Country.

On a related note, this recent piece by Annalee Newitz for Ars Technica digs into the medieval city of Cahokia. As I noted elsewhere, the piece led me to recall a great post (also by Brian Davis) from 2011 re: mounds as “precedent for responding to floods.” and a pre-Contact form of indigenous #infrastructuralurbanism.