Archinect - Spatial Politics 2014-04-19T00:57:22-04:00 Strategies for Public Occupation - at the Storefront for Art and Architecture fischerrandom 2011-12-16T22:15:16-05:00 >2012-01-02T18:04:28-05:00 <p> A small project I did, which will be displayed at Storefront as part of their exhibition on Strategies for Public Occupation.&nbsp;</p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""><em>P2P Occupation</em><br><br> Within the last two years China, Egypt and Syria have shut down telecommunication systems to immobilize emerging civil dissidence, demonstrating the liabilities of these centralized networks. If we consider the spectrum airwaves that transmit these communication frequencies an extension of our natural right to free speech, then such deprivation violates notions of civil liberty.</p> <p> P2P (peer-to-peer) Occupation studies the propagation of a 'shadow' Wi-Fi network that circumvents official telecommunication networks to offer a safe and public internet for citizens. Such an occupation works by introducing existing software that converts existing telecommunication devices into Wi-Fi access nodes. By networking these nodes together they dynamically route information back to physically connected network connections. This decentralized wireless a...</p> Property rights: Introduction fischerrandom 2011-11-17T11:24:56-05:00 >2011-11-17T11:28:29-05:00 <p> I've been pretty interested in property rights ever since I read Hernando de Soto's 'The Mystery of Capital' in the second year of university. For those not familiar with him, Hernando de Soto is a Peruvian economist who calls for large-scale property reform of extralegal communities in the developing world. He argues that the success of Western capitalism is predicated on its coherent, standardized legal property system and can be replicated in the developing world by unlocking the latent value of extralegal property.&nbsp;</p> <p> Since I've read it, 'The Mystery of Capital' has been one of books I carry with me wherever I travel, (in fact it's within arm's reach as I type this). It captured my interest because property rights speaks to the intersection of public policy, legal institutions, recognition of individual liberty, socio-economic mobility and yes, even architecture.</p> <p> This blog post serves as an introduction to a series on property rights. I'll be making this up as I go along,&nbsp;bu...</p> Breaking news: Political Boundaries are Political fischerrandom 2011-11-13T10:45:39-05:00 >2011-11-24T09:05:52-05:00 <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> From an article in Nature, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Angry words over East Asian seas</a>, about the controversial use of maps laying claim to contested territories by Chinese scientists; emphasis mine:</p> <p> <em>"Meanwhile, Michael of Climatic Change, has received a barrage of e-mails since June from scientists contesting a Chinese map that his journal published more than four years ago...<strong>But this kind of highly politicized debate over territory 'is not a question that a journal like ours wants to deal with', says Oppenheimer.</strong></em></p> <p> <em>Why Chinese scientists include the controversial map in their papers is not clear. Following the e-mails, Oppenheimer decided that the disputed map had no relevance to the conclusion of the paper in question, and suggested that the lead author, Xuemei Shao of the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research in Beijing, change it.<strong> Shao refused, explaining in an e-mail that the figure 'is requested by the Chinese government'.</strong></em></p> <p> <em><strong>Science, Nature and C...</strong></em></p> Incentivizing Retrofits in Earthquake Vulnerable Cities fischerrandom 2011-11-01T01:52:02-04:00 >2011-11-01T10:12:34-04:00 <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> The science magazine Nature recently published a series of articles on post-reconstruction Haiti that turned up this article, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Lessons from the Haiti Earthquake </a>advocating safe construction as a way to mitigate earthquake death and destruction. What I found interesting was its points on economic opportunities for local industries, or lack thereof, generated by retrofitting existing buildings.</p> <p> The author, seismologist Roger Bilham, begins by comparing Haiti's earthquake death toll to&nbsp;earthquakes of comparable magnitude, (see chart), and argues that the country's unusually high death toll is a consequence of decades of unregulated construction practices. He cites widespread use of, "brittle steel, coarse non-angular aggregate, weak cement mixed with dirty or salty sand, and the widespread termination of steel reinforcement rods at the joints between columns and floors of buildings where earthquake stresses are highest."</p> <p> But having made the case for resilient construction and r...</p> Tiananmen Square fischerrandom 2011-10-05T05:26:25-04:00 >2011-11-01T05:14:20-04:00 <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> I'll begin with a super-quick introduction: I finished my Bachelors degree in architecture about a year ago, moved to China for a job and have been working in Beijing at a local firm since then. In about a year I'll be applying for my M. Arch, and hopefully by then will have a better idea of themes regarding architecture and advocacy and how I'd like to pursue them.</p> <p> For my first post, I'll write a bit about my experience in China. This blog isn't intended to focus on China, but as a country with totalitarian inclinations it obviously speaks to the blog's themes. Tiananmen square in particular closely relates to one my preoccupations: the idea of space as the representation of social relations and ideology, a notion that comes from Henri Lefebvre's critique of space. I plan on writing more about Lefebvre in the future, for now I just want to refer to Lefebvre's idea of space as something that exists in tension with social practices, or as he puts it "at once both work and prod...</p>