Atlanta Urban Walking Trilogy

On Memorial Day weekend I finished an urban walking trilogy. One morning in 2017 I set out to walk 19 miles from the heart of downtown out east to the top of Stone Mountain. I had toyed with the idea for a while, and figured one morning, what the heck. Why not? As soon as I finished, I thought about where else I might go. In 2018, it was 23 miles out northwest to Kennesaw Mountain’s summit. This year, I did a little morning 13-miler down to the airport.

Most of the time on these walks, it’s not really enjoyable. The streets and highways aren’t friendly for pedestrians. The sun bears down on you. Hard sidewalks (when they exist) make my feet hurt. I walk past industrial parks, encampments for those with no other place to sleep, empty lots, next to 4-lane highways, underneath interstate overpasses, past strip malls, past front porches. I feel kinda scummy and outcast, especially when just starting out. But eventually there’s a sense of place I develop, connecting the pieces, filling in the gaps, that I don’t get in other ways. And there’s a satisfaction of looking back to where I came from, and knowing what’s in between.

Like most dumb Type 2 fun I do, I’m… not exactly sure… why? But when I get ideas, and wonder what-ifs, and they don’t go away, it’s usually best to try to give them life.

BLDGBLOG: Ghost Streets of Los Angeles.

I love the idea that the buildings seen here take their form from a lost street—that an old throughway since scrubbed from the surface of Los Angeles has reappeared in the form of contemporary architectural space. That is, someone’s living room is actually shaped the way it is not because of something peculiar to architectural history, but because of a ghost street, or the wall of perhaps your very own bedroom takes its angle from a right of way that, for whatever reason, long ago disappeared.

Hating Bourbon Street – Places: Design Observer

Authenticity is seductive; we embrace it because it makes us feel exclusive. Hating Bourbon Street has valuable social currency, and it’s an easy step toward assuming co-ownership of “real” New Orleans culture. But declaring something to be inauthentic positions the critic in the dubious position of arbitrating reality. […] Worse, inauthenticity rests on the troubling supposition that not all human beings or human endeavors contribute equally to this thing we call culture.

Hating Bourbon Street – Places: Design Observer

Saying Good-bye As the Braves Leave Atlanta for ‘Atlanta’ – Grantland.

Nothing in this message is a lie, or even exaggerated, once you realize who the audience is. This message isn’t directed toward the Atlanta city-dweller. The “you, our fans” is not targeted at a person who lives in the city of Atlanta. It’s targeted at everyone in that dark-red blot that lives in the city’s northern suburbs. If you’re a fan who lives in these suburban areas, today is a great day. It has long been a hassle to get to Turner Field — because it involves going all the way to Atlanta to see the Atlanta Braves.

Drift Compatible – Geek Empire. In which L. Rhodes uses Pacific Rim as a pivot to talk about kaiju films as manifestations of urban anxiety, and issues that come out of genre and fandom in general. Good reminder that I can learn from bad movies, too.

When a fanboy defends Pacific Rim to those audience members by saying, “What did you expect?” the underlying issue is genre. An astute viewer will learn to expect certain things from movies that fall into certain genres. A clever filmmaker will learn how to use those expectations to advantage. A fair-minded critic will keep those expectations in mind when judging a genre film. Things are rarely so simple. For one thing, genres carry their own history implicitly, and that often makes it difficult to understand just what’s at stake…

City Meditations: 7 | The American Conservative

In the country you have to drive when you want to go anywhere; in a big, dense city people get around on foot and via public transport. Suburbs are in this respect in-between. And in other respects too. Which is why, I suppose, suburbs are never perceived as either divine or demonic. “Nothing too much,” the suburb seems to say, which means that, though its human dramas exist, and are as meaningful as they are anywhere else in the cosmos, they remain largely inaccessible to our myths.

City Meditations: 7 | The American Conservative

Pilgrim’s Progress by Pete Beatty – An Excerpt From “Rust Belt Chic” | Vol. 1 Brooklyn

The Rust Belt is at once very real and something of a mirage. It took a miracle to make the factories and foundries and neighborhoods of Cleveland burst into flower, to make vibrant and meaningful cultures to spring up here, in Pittsburgh, in Buffalo, in the Mahoning Valley, in Detroit and Chicago. It took the exact opposite of that miracle to empty out those jobs and homes, to send us scurrying to the suburban desert, to very nearly forsake the idea of community. A community—what New York City can’t be—is the closest thing we have to heaven. Middleburg Heights probably can’t host the community I want either, although the only way to prove that would be to try to build one. Cleveland, as a place that needs and wants people, is a fallow field, desperate to be the host to a living community again. It will soon be played out once more if we treat it like we have in the past. Those are the terms of use.

I always enjoy Pete Beatty’s (@nocoastoffense) writing.

Pilgrim’s Progress by Pete Beatty – An Excerpt From “Rust Belt Chic” | Vol. 1 Brooklyn

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and the history of the hillbilly in America. – Slate Magazine

The hillbilly figure allows middle-class white people to offload the venality and sin of the nation onto some other constituency, people who live somewhere—anywhere—else. The hillbilly’s backwardness highlights the progress more upstanding Americans in the cities or the suburbs have made. These fools haven’t crawled out of the muck, the story goes, because they don’t want to.

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and the history of the hillbilly in America. – Slate Magazine

Meal entering vehicle window = tacky, suburban, boring, junk food. Meal exiting vehicle window = cool, urban, hip, adventurous.