keith - i agree - and for everyone who still doesn't  get what the protesters are doing - just go down to your local #occupy with an open mind and actually talk to people (the normal-looking people).


anyone else think the places that are being used are becoming like modern agoras?  it's a physical place where you have the opportunity to discuss politics and share ideas with your fellow citizens.  I think this is something we've been missing in our cities.  online echo chambers and pissing matches aren't enough.

Oct 20, 11 11:22 am

Connecting this to architecture. Is there a relationship between progressive architecture and a destabilized social climate. I'm tempted to believe that when architecture revolves around such restless moments in history, it can produce very powerful stuff, even if the times are used as an excuse to apply new unrelated ideas.

Whatever it is that's going on in the world, from the Middle East, to the London riots, to Occupy wall street,(I'm not sure if all of these moments are related), if such moments can result into some 'architectural good', that would be pretty amazing.
Some possible applications:
-as mentioned before - setting a standard minimum wage per job, including architects
-is there a project-based approach to create an architectural response to this movement? could such a project be a work of fiction?

discuss the above, instead of clowning around, or using these events as excuse to lend some excitement into your mediocre architectural lives of spec-ing and detailing

Oct 21, 11 1:44 am

otherwise you're just a bunch of untalented architects that know a lot about economics...

Oct 21, 11 1:47 am

Has there been much police brutality in the US as of yet?

Saw a lot of ugliness today here in Melbourne. Whether you support the protests or not, it's sickening to watch police beat people that are peaceably demonstrating. 

More protests planned for noon tomorrow. 

My favorite line has come from Melbourne's Mayor. When asked why he was clearing the protest, he said: 'the time has come for us to return City Square to the people of Melbourne.''

Of course now the people of Melbourne aren't allowed to be in the square for several days. The mayor has managed to turn it back into the barren sand-swept desert it usually is.

Oct 21, 11 11:02 am

In other words, people protesting aka participating in their society's form of government are somehow NOT "the people".  This is so typical of US politicians - sorry to hear it's the same BS in Melbourne.

Remember too: Ed Bacon LOVED that skateboarders used Love Park.  He felt it was a legitimate if unplanned use of a public space.

Oct 21, 11 2:43 pm

Fun Facts for everyone:


According to a Pew Research poll, in 2009

the average white family earned about $113,000 a year.

the average hispanic family earned $6,000 a year.

the average black family earned a whopping $5,000 a year.


The reason for the huge gap?  Well, for one, most minorities assets are tied directly to their homes, so when the housing bubble collapsed, so did their wealth.  Whereas white families have assets tied to other sources, such as the stock market.  This of course, is in addition to decades of institutional racism, but for the sake of this post, I'll just focus on the needs of housing.


So at what point do we address this as a failure of urban housing?  Have we become so discouraged by the failures of Project Housing (like Cabrini Green, Robert Taylor, Pruitt Igoe) that we swung in the opposite direction, letting banks and developers privatize the housing market and in effect encourage sprawl?  Is this a failure of architects to adequately contain urbanism? The US has radically migrated to the suburbs, and it looks like it finally couldn't sustain itself.  Is it a failure of architects to promote housing initiatives that promote mixed-income diversity and urban environments?  Are architects so un-interested/hamstrung by the political process that we have removed our ability to effectively design dense cities that promote social equality?

Will we see a return to urbanism as a result?  Is this an opportunity for architects to flex their muscle, or will we balk at the chance?



Sources:  Very sobering outlook about what has happened in this country.

Oct 21, 11 6:09 pm

intotheloop, sorry to hear the situation over there.  I saw a small amount on the news about Melbourne.  All I can speak for is my neck of the woods. The demonstrations here have been very peaceful so far in Los Angeles and the surrounding communities.

One way I can think of helping is if police beatings are documented (photos etc..), we can try some media outlets here to expose light on the situation.

You may also want to contact the "Occupy" website, but I have no idea what they have in place to address the issue, if anything yet.

Please keep us posted on Melbourne.




Oct 22, 11 12:01 am

"The average American household still has an income somewhere between $30,000 and $80,000, which really has not improved since the Great Depression.

Yet, today there is a top one per cent of earners with an average salary of $380,000 a year.

The spread between the two is quite alarming. So just what has happened to the middle class in the US?"

Oct 23, 11 11:09 am

Keith, it's even worse than that. Median income of a working American adult has dropped down to $26,364 last year. Yes, that means half of working American adults make less than that. Yet, average income is $39,959.

For those still in school, imagine the average grade in class being B-, yet half the class failed. The only way that works mathematically is if a few of your classmates had A+++++++++++++ grades. And even then, it makes no sense. 

Oct 23, 11 11:30 am

Everything is pretty well documented online. I think this article pretty well sums up what a lot of us are feeling:

Really does go to show that we have to deal with the same lack of justice no matter where we are in the world.

Oct 24, 11 8:03 am

Miles, great speech by Chris (if you have a hour to spare). Too bad he talks about frigging Michael Jackson for the first 15 min. Yeah, I get the parallel, but still. If you are going to deliver a 15 minute knock-knock joke, the punchline better come with a blowjob thrown in.

The rest of the speech is amazing and incredibly depressing. We are fucked either way. For things to become even remotely better, they need to become truly bad first. argh.

Oct 25, 11 2:43 pm

"A post on the Occupy Oakland Twitter feed said 70 had been arrested and reported that police had used tear gas, rubber bullets and flash bang grenades to clear the protesters."

Oct 25, 11 4:27 pm

I should add I do not know the accuracy of the above report, but I am interested to see if this is on the news this evening, if so, how is it portrayed.  If anyone has first hand knowledge of this event, please let us know what happened.

intotheloop, well I guess I was a bit early with my assessment that all was peaceful and OK here in CA......

Oct 25, 11 4:54 pm

Keith, I am puzzled by the overall response in both SF and Oakland. SF where all the money is, has had a lukewarm reception to occupy and was dispersed very quickly. Oakland police has been brutal with their protesters from day one. I'm quickly losing faith with the west coast. Too many posers and hipsters that just don't care, and authoritarian regional power structure that's not afraid to use force. 

Meanwhile in Albania (aka Albany NY) local and state police disobeyed the direct order from governor of NY and Albania mayor to arrest every protestor who is past their curfew.

I've been waiting for this. Police realizing that these protestors have their interests in mind. I think this may spread as well (Oakland being the last holdout). 

Oct 25, 11 5:21 pm

Thanks for the link Rusty!

I met a member of the LAPD (off duty) during a local outdoor concert this summer.  We chatted allot about the Supreme court decision regarding Corporate "personhood".  He was the one that initiated the topic in fact, and I think he mas more appalled by it than I was!

Oct 25, 11 5:36 pm

 Any one hear about Nov 5th?  Bank boycott day... pull your money out of big banks and put it in local banks. 

Oct 26, 11 12:44 am

Yup! I'll be closing 2 accounts on the fifth. Found me a nice credit union. 

On a lighter note; OWC and sex. Read the whole thing. The setup is amazing. I was in tears when I got to second last sentence.

Oct 26, 11 1:00 am

Ah, that's a good one, I am in!  Time to move my millions.....I am debating going back to the barter system, before the hyperinflation sets in of course.....

Well, news on Oakland, which I should point out was noticeably absent from any local "news" tonight here in California, not even a mention:

Oct 26, 11 1:45 am

Occupy atlanta got the boot tonight as well

"Also Tuesday, a man was seen walking around the park with a loaded AK-47, which, since he has a permit to carry, is legal though was unsettling to many. Police watched him closely as he circled the park, which was filling up with more protesters as the sun began to set. The man, who identified himself as "Porch," said he supported the demonstrators' right to assemble and was making a point about both the First and Second amendments."

Only in the south. 


Oct 26, 11 2:03 am

Hey, now that I think about it, what happened to the wiki leaks info they were going to release regarding a major US bank(s)?

Oct 26, 11 2:25 am

"what happened to the wiki leaks info they were going to release regarding a major US bank(s)?"

Wall Street won.

Oct 26, 11 2:34 am

Hm. So we can't use regular channels of moving money - like PayPal - because WikiLeaks might be doing something illegal, or maybe illegal in one country but not another,  and coming up with other ways to move money is very difficult, as organized crime has know for years.  We're really all being classified as criminals now, aren't we?  Unless we're high up in the organization of a huge corporation, of course, as PayPal's founder recently gave over a million to the Seasteaders, who are attempting to set up a floating sovereign nation outside of existing national and international action which, you know, might be illegal. But since he's doing it it's OK.  Jeez.

The Stranger is saying CNN never mentioned Oakland last night while it was happening.

Oct 26, 11 10:33 am

Yes, I saw that on wiki, I wonder if they got to him some way...

For instance, have you followed the story of Bloomberg's lawsuit to get the Fed to disclose it's opaque lending, how much for whom? Here is the reporter who successfully sued the Fed under the freedom of information act:

Oct 26, 11 11:40 am

Hm. So we can't use regular channels of moving money - like PayPal - because WikiLeaks might be doing something illegal, or maybe illegal in one country but not another,  and coming up with other ways to move money is very difficult, as organized crime has know for years.  We're really all being classified as criminals now, aren't we?


This is something similarly debated in architecture and planning circles regarding CPTED (crime prevention through environmental design). While well-intentioned, CPTED essentially treats the general public as criminals and idiots. While their might be some truth to that, the general prescription of CPTED is generally sloppy because it always makes the assumption of guilt before innocence— it makes the assumption that people will commit crimes before even happening.

Oct 26, 11 3:39 pm

wtf - you don't throw a flash grenade into a group of people trying to help an iraq war veteran with a fractured skull.

Oct 26, 11 8:47 pm

solidarity statement from cairo

In our own occupations of Tahrir, we encountered people entering the Square every day in tears because it was the first time they had walked through those streets and spaces without being harassed by police; it is not just the ideas that are important, these spaces are fundamental to the possibility of a new world. These are public spaces. Spaces forgathering, leisure, meeting, and interacting – these spaces should be the reason we live in cities. Where the state and the interests of owners have made them inaccessible, exclusive or dangerous, it is up to us to make sure that they are safe, inclusive and just. We have and must continue to open them to anyone that wants to build a better world, particularly for the marginalized, excluded and for those groups who have suffered the worst .


Oct 26, 11 9:10 pm


Video of cops throwing a flash grenade into a crowd of people trying to help a wounded Iraq war veteran.  There are very few cities where strong-armed police action would be tolerated.  Oakland is not one of those cities.  The majority of the people in that city are still upset over the police BART incident.  I doubt putting an Iraq War Veteran into critical condition is going to help their image.

Oct 26, 11 11:33 pm

Oakland gets re-occupied!  Violence to continue tonight at 10pm.

Oct 27, 11 7:46 am

Fantastic animated video describing where we are right now in the economy. Highly recommended to everyone. Bonus point: it pre-dates the occupy movement by a few months.

Banks are not interested in lending money (like I said before). One of the biggest problems to where we are right now. 

Oct 27, 11 8:35 am

Another video from the same guy. This time explaining where the derivative markets went wrong. Fascinating stuff. I knew most of this, but this fills in the gaps really well.

Chubby cartoons really help me process information.

Oct 27, 11 9:50 am

I have had my own concerns re: CPTED and have spoke about them within the context of my involvement with some local advisory boards.

While I don't think having a safe and secure built environment is absolutely a wrong approach, i think defining what safe and secure means and for whom is a crucial piece.

Securing against the homeless etc for the gentrifiers is I think a common concern with re: to CPTED.

It seems an easy way to create a securitized and privatized urbanism...

Oct 27, 11 11:05 am

In the name of SAFTEY, gentrification, sterilization, corporatization, and homogenization, have become the growing trend in our cities.  Everyone praises Giuliani for “cleaning up NY,” because now there's a Starbucks on every corner instead of a hooker, and banksters instead of gangsters, but the grit was its identity and character and now it is just like everywhere else.  So  in an attempt to rid the world of of a possible encounter with salmonella we get rid of the street vendors and replace them with a McDonalds which is probably worse for the body and defiantly worse for the soul of the city and for ones ability to get a small business rooted.  Growing up in NY in the 90's I was aware of this shift at a young age when I went to Canal St. and noticed there were no Chinese people selling turtles anymore.  I hate what Giuliani did and what others have done in the name of safety. People are too quick to trade realness and adventure for convenience and safety.  NY has become a trendy overpriced corporate city like many others, and the blight didn't go away it was just moved out of sight.  We traded the “Warriors” for “Sex and the City” what a fucking tradgedy.  I would rather take my chances of getting beat up and robbed by gangs of post apocalyptic punks than seeing drones of Sara Jessica Parkers with Grande Mocha Frapachinos marching through the streets to their cubicals.  We need to get over this paradigm that safety and cleanliness are the ruling ideals of urban progress if we are to make cities of character.  42nd street was wonderfully terrible now it is just mediocre like everywhere else.    

Oct 27, 11 1:44 pm


did you post that last comment in the wrong thread? :)

Oct 27, 11 2:15 pm

"While I don't think having a safe and secure built environment is absolutely a wrong approach, i think defining what safe and secure means and for whom is a crucial piece. Securing against the homeless etc for the gentrifiers is I think a common concern with re: to CPTED. It seems an easy way to create a securitized and privatized urbanism..."

Agree, it seems that it always favors Big Business and the Rich. To democratise safety, mixed income districts are the best solution.  They are generally safe for everyone, but the rich would rather be disporportionatly safe --- while the poor are moved into Ghettos with a higher concentration of blight and crime.  If all areas were mixed, then crime would be more diffuse and therfore the probability of being victim to a crime in any given area would be statistically reduced, not to mention that overall crime would be greatly reduced.  I don't see this happening any time soon because it is common sense and there is not much of that lately.



Oct 27, 11 2:31 pm


Oct 27, 11 2:52 pm

No rusty, its the best thing about this occupy wall street movement.  People are reclaiming ownership of the street and adding gritty reality.  The city has become more sterile and areas that are wealthy are disconnected from the real America.  It is evident that the wealthy have lost a connection to so many hurting people in society because of the sterile environments they live in.  Out of sight out of mind.  If you notice, its now possible to feel the true nature of American life by the presence of this voice, as you could once feel the true hardships and failures of the nation by the presence of blight on 42nd street.  The city is once again becoming a place of conflict which is what cities always have been.  Conflict brings progress where as stillness brings complacence.  The old dirty NY that I loved was a place where you couldn't walk down the street without confronting a failure of our society, and what its become is an oasis of wealth.   A city "by the people rather than for the people" (Frampton), is the greatest threat to corporate greed and control because it allows for a true free market.  The starbuck like establishments of the corporate consumer marketplace are threatened by things like street vendors, because it gives us the option of not buying their crap, and the city deems them as  filthy and gets rid of them.  By "cleaning up" the city it has become corporatised at the expense of small business.   If we want to democratise the city we need to accept some grim here and there, and I think this movement is a good step in this direction. 

Oct 27, 11 3:25 pm

To add to my comment above.....the city is the physical manifestation of the economy.  As the wealth and control has  become polarised to the top 1% so has the control of the city, and this occupation is an attempt to reclaim the ownership of space with the hope to reclaim the ownership of wealth.  A kind of reverse attempt, so its important that we as architects and urbanists keep thinking about how we return control of the consumer landscape to the people as it once was.  The marketplace is far to homogenous and sterile, and we should consider the value of a dirty messy democratic city.  The breeding ground of a true free market will be gritty, but it will also be ours.  The very idea that occuping the street is a confrontational act is evidence for the idea that the street isn't ours.  So how do we permanently gain occupation of the street?  I would say the vendor or street merchant is the ultimate occupier as he/she is directly pulling wealth from the corporate competitors. 

Oct 27, 11 3:56 pm

Hey guys, we're going to be launching a 2-part series on OWS, authored by Guy Horton and Sherin Wing, and with this feature we're asking that Archinectors fill out a completely anonymous questionnaire.

To participate please click here. Thanks!

Oct 27, 11 4:20 pm

J. Arleo,

I find myself intrigued by many of the same points you bring up.  Our cities are perfect manifestations of our corporate state.  Wealth in every city in America is concentrated in the center around a financial district, and then slowly radiates to the cities edge, always neglecting the poorest individuals who live 50 blocks away from the city core.  The further away you go from this, the more concentrated pockets of poverty you'll find.  And these same pockets of poverty are usually physically barricaded from the rest of the city by the infrastructure of highways, trains, etc.  And for the American middle class, the only solution has been to move beyond the cities edge, and into the socially and economically unsustainable suburbs, which have a parasitic relationship with the city proper.


This is a failure of urban design.  And it pains me to see it continue.  You can walk into any mega-techture firm and see master plans for cities that continue this trend, more concerned about water-management and green space than the responsible allocation of economic resources.  It is my opinion that more poly-centric cities would alleviate some of these burdens, and spreading the physical architecture of a city within the city's defined boundary would benefit us all greatly.  If we were to assume that each building has a sphere of influence that affects the community, then we would see why spreading the architecture around would require each building to be responsible for a the communities they inhabit.

The problem, as I see it, is that architects would have to convince tenants that it is within their own best long-term economic interests to become community stakeholders.  This is hard to do in a culture that values obscene short-term profits over long term viability.

Oct 27, 11 5:55 pm

"Billionaire Warren Buffett is a good example. His average rate was 17.4 percent" (referring to income taxes)

Article here on Reuters:


Oct 28, 11 6:17 pm

The coming collapse of the middle class - Elizabeth Warren:


A worthy watch about how this generation fell into so much debt.  Increases in Mortgage, health insurance, cars, child care, and tax rates.

Oct 28, 11 9:37 pm

NYFD & NYPD removed fuel for generators and cooking on the morning of the worst pre-season winter storm in a hundred years. 3-5" of snow is expected in NYC tonight after a day of rain and near freezing temperatures.

No fuel = no power, shutting down all communications.

The excuse? "Public safety." As if hypothermia and people freezing to death isn't a matter of public safety.

Oct 29, 11 2:37 pm

I know, MIles.  It's awful.  Somehow demonstrators are constantly seen as less than human, undeserving of rights.  In Muncie, Indiana they just cut power to the receptacles in the outdoor public space to try to chase the protestors away.  If they don't want people using those outlets, then they shouldn't be there at all...but somehow the rules become different once someone starts to protest.

Oct 29, 11 2:41 pm

In Boston they are using bicycle powered generators (MIT eggheads showed up). NYC is doing similar thing now. I don't think the generators were being used for heat purposes, that would draw too much power.

Here in Toronto first nations showed up in order to start a 'spirit' bonfire or something like that. Apparently they have the legal right to start a fire anywhere in Canadia, and there is already enough firewood on site to burn half the city. Not sure if gimmick will work or not.

Oct 29, 11 3:41 pm

Unknown union sources just gave Toronto occupiers $20K worth of Mongolian Yurts.

Genghis Khan to winter: "You gonna git molested".

Oct 29, 11 3:51 pm

First Nations have the right to start a fire ANYWHERE - love it.  It's like a superpower!

Oct 29, 11 8:06 pm

First the "human mike" and now bicycle generators, boy do I like these guys.....

Yea, I agree, if you notice that is a common theme they use for many things; "it's for their safety".  The mayor in Oakland used that premise also on the news. 

I think that was the line when the robots took over in that futuristic Will Smith movie?

I think the public is being conditioned to accept the erosion of their civil liberties under this "reasoning" in a whole bunch of formats.  It's a gradual erosion process.

Oct 29, 11 8:09 pm

Some creative ideas for your unsolicited credit card applications:

Oct 30, 11 12:37 am

Yea, I agree, if you notice that is a common theme they use for many things; "it's for their safety".  The mayor in Oakland used that premise also on the news.

I think that was the line when the robots took over in that futuristic Will Smith movie?

I think the public is being conditioned to accept the erosion of their civil liberties under this "reasoning" in a whole bunch of formats.  It's a gradual erosion process.

breaking up an unlawful assembly is not an erosion of your civil liberties

Oct 30, 11 12:57 am

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