Tag: Cities

YMCA – The Village People

YMCA was founded by George Williams and 11 friends. George Williams was a London draper, who was typical of the young men drawn to the cities by the Industrial Revolution.

They were concerned about the lack of healthy activities for young men in major cities; the options available were usually taverns and brothels. Williams’ idea grew out of meetings he held for prayer and Bible-reading among his fellow workers in a business in the city of London, and on 6 June 1844, he held the first meeting that led to the founding of YMCA with the purpose of “the improving of the spiritual condition of young men engaged in the drapery, embroidery, and other trades.” Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury served as YMCA’s first president from 1851 until his death in 1885.

By 1845, YMCA started a popular series of lectures held that went on to be held at Exeter Hall, London, from 1848, and the lectures started being published the following year, the series running until 1865.

YMCA was associated with Industrialisation and the movement of young people to cities to work. YMCA “combined preaching in the streets and the distribution of religious tracts with a social ministry. Philanthropists saw them as places for wholesome recreation that would preserve youth from the temptations of alcohol, gambling, and prostitution and that would promote good citizenship.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/YMCA

Young man, there’s no need to feel down
I said, young man, pick yourself off the ground
I said, young man, ’cause you’re in a new town
There’s no need to be unhappy

Young man, there’s a place you can go
I said, young man, when you’re short on your dough
You can stay there, and I’m sure you will find
Many ways to have a good time

It’s fun to stay at the YMCA
It’s fun to stay at the YMCA

They have everything for you men to enjoy
You can hang out with all the boys

It’s fun to stay at the YMCA
It’s fun to stay at the YMCA

You can get yourself clean, you can have a good meal
You can do what ever you feel

Young man, are you listening to me?
I said, young man, what do you want to be?
I said, young man, you can make real your dreams
But you got to know this one thing

No man does it all by himself
I said, young man, put your pride on the shelf
And just go there, to the YMCA
I’m sure they can help you today

It’s fun to stay at the YMCA
It’s fun to stay at the YMCA

You can get yourself clean, you can have a good meal
You can do what ever you feel

Young man, I was once in your shoes
I said, I was down and out with the blues
I felt no man cared if I were alive
I felt the whole world was so tight

That’s when someone came up to me
And said, young man, take a walk up the street
There’s a place there called the YMCA
They can start you back on your way

It’s fun to stay at the YMCA
It’s fun to stay at the YMCA

Ways to Create Better Cities – Architectural Digest

Making Cities More Accessible
The second chapter posits that cities should encourage diversity, inclusion, and equality among their residents. That means ensuring that everyone has equal access to urban amenities, health care, education, employment, culture, leisure, sport, nature, and—perhaps most important—affordable housing. The authors note that 1.5 million people move into urban areas around the world every day, but many cannot afford to live close to urban opportunities and end up pushed to the fringes.

“I stumbled upon this statistic recently that in the urban areas of America it takes the median-income person 27 years on average to save up the 20% down payment to be able to buy a median-priced-owner apartment or condo in a city,” Ingels said. “So that means that hard-working, well-educated, by all standards successful and contributing citizens actually have a hard time getting access to owning a home, which of course is not the only way to have a life, but it’s been a good way to be anchored in a community, have a sense of ownership and belonging, to make a community less transient and therefore more sustainable, and to eventually make possibilities for later generations, so I think there’s something to be looked at in this entire value chain that provides the spaces we live in and that we call home that could need a 21st century upgrade.”

5 Definitive Ways to Create Better Cities
A new book by IKEA’s research and design lab surveys projects that improve urban areas around the world
Laura Itzkowitz

We Need More Public Restrooms

Cities also lose their livability, and open defecation becomes a threat to public health. Americans have painstakingly built new norms about dog owners picking up after their pets, but we’ve gone backward with human waste.

Meanwhile, it’s not just the homeless who suffer. Taxi drivers, delivery people, tourists and others are out and about all day, navigating a landscape that seems oblivious to the most basic of needs. The same is true of parents out with kids.

Americans have had tumultuous debates about transgender use of restrooms, but we haven’t adequately acknowledged a more fundamental failing in Democratic-run and Republican-run cities alike: the outrageous shortage of public restrooms generally.

America Is Not Made for Anatomically Correct People
As Biden pushes for an infrastructure package, let’s fix our scandalous lack of public restrooms.
NYTIMES

From the comments:
“I guess all I can add to this piece is my personal remedy which I use in NYC, that being I find easily accessible restrooms on the ground floor of large hotels. It probably helps to dress like you might be a guest at the hotel, as you walk into the lobby.”

Comeback Cities

 You remember all those gallows jokes about American cities-like: will the last person out of Cleveland please turn out the lights. And then things got worse-if you went by the numbers and the conversational pall around the basket case of urban America. The white folks left, and middle-class black folks, too; and jobs and business. One of the best of the big-city mayors Ed Rendell of Philadelphia said the cause was lost, because the doctor wasn’t treating a bullet wound; he was confronting rampant cancer, without resources.

So the cities were left for dead, and guess what happened? Paul Grogan says they got vastly better and will get better yet-on the strength of poor-people’s markets and politics, on the further fall of crime rates, and the bust-up of the top-down bureaucracies running public schools and public housing. The really promising secret is that, as the man in Chicago said: “people like it here.” Comeback Cities are this hour on the Connection.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)

Guests:
Paul Grogan, author of “Comeback Cities”

The good times aren’t good for everyone in California

The economy here is booming, but no one feels especially good about it. When the cost of living is taken into account, billionaire-brimming California ranks as the most poverty-stricken state, with a fifth of the population struggling to get by. Since 2010, migration out of California has surged.

The basic problem is the steady collapse of livability. Across my home state, traffic and transportation is a developing-world nightmare. Child care and education seem impossible for all but the wealthiest. The problems of affordable housing and homelessness have surpassed all superlatives — what was a crisis is now an emergency that feels like a dystopian showcase of American inequality.

America’s Cities Are Unlivable. Blame Wealthy Liberals,  Farhad Manjoo, nytimes

Why America’s New Apartment Buildings All Look the Same

Cheap stick framing has led to a proliferation of blocky, forgettable mid-rises—and more than a few construction fires.

Meanwhile, in Minneapolis – “By doing away with single-family zoning, the city takes on high rent, long commutes, and racism in real estate in one fell swoop”

The claim of that lawsuit—that a denser, more populous city might be an environmental hazard and should require environmental review—will sound familiar to pro-growth advocates in California. There, local NIMBYism has pushed housing demand into the desert, lengthening commutes and helping to turn transportation into the state’s largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

Interesting article in Slate

https://slate.com/business/2018/12/minneapolis-single-family-zoning-housing-racism.html