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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Most people have seen the mega-hit video “Gangnam Style” by South Korean rapper Psy. The K-pop video, which was released on July 15, 2012 on YouTube, climbed to 100 million views in 51 days, beating Justin Bieber’s “Baby” and Rebecca Black’s “Friday,” and prompted an overwhelming number of response videos. The lyrics are catchy, the dance moves quirky, making it addictive to watch over and over.  The video mocks the Gangnam district of Seoul, an affluent and hip neighborhood where young people go to party. In the song, Psy describes the kind of guy he is and the kind of girl he wants, illustrating the pretentious culture of people who hang out in Gangnam.


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Mo Willems’ depiction of Trixie going “boneless”

I have two kids, ages almost 6 and 3, and while they love reading books, I enjoy reading their books as much if not more than they do.  I love the nostalgia and silliness of Dr. Seuss and Roald Dahl and the clever stories and terms that Mo Willems churns. The way my kids respond to books has shown me the power within their pages. One book can spark a new interest that lasts days, months – even years. One book can lead to the insistence that we read tens more on the same topic.

So naturally, I try to select books on topics that are also interesting to me (after all, I’m equally invested in reading these). This prompted an unofficial research project on children’s books about the built environment. With the exception of the immense stock of books about construction, trucks, trains and planes, there are relatively few stories about the professions and interests of the designers and planners or about the shape and functions of cities, buildings, communities, neighborhoods and parks themselves. Read More