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A Geography of Culture and Place across America
What does it mean to be from somewhere? If most people in the United States are "from some place else" what is an American homeland? In answering these questions, the contributors to Homelands: A Geography of Culture and Place across America offer a geographical vision of territory and the formation of discrete communities in the U.S. today. Homelands discusses groups such as the Yankees in New England, Old Order Amish in Ohio, African Americans in the plantation South, Navajos in the Southwest, Russians in California, and several other peoples and places. Homelands explores the connection of people and place by showing how aspects of several different North American groups found their niche and created a homeland. A collection of fifteen essays, Homelands is an innovative look at geographical concepts in community settings. It is also an exploration of the academic work taking place about homelands and their people, of how factors such as culture, settlement, and cartographic concepts come together in American sociology. There is much not only to study but also to celebrate about American homelands. As the editors state, "Underlying today's pluralistic society are homelands—large and small, strong and weak—that endure in some way. The mosaic of homelands to which people bonded in greater or lesser degrees, affirms in a holistic way America's diversity, its pluralistic society." The authors depict the cultural effects of immigrant settlement. The conviction that people need to participate in the life of the homeland to achieve their own self realization, within the traditions and comforts of that community. Homelands gives us a new map of the United States, a map drawn with people's lives and the land that is their home.
Why Our Addiction to Houses Is Destroying the Environment and Threatening Our Society
Have we built our way to ruin? Is your desire for that beach house or cabin in the woods part of the environmental crisis? Do you really need a bigger home? Why don’t multiple generations still live under one roof? In The Housing Bomb, leading environmental researchers M. Nils Peterson, Tarla Rai Peterson, and Jianguo Liu sound the alarm, explaining how and why our growing addiction to houses has taken the humble American dream and twisted it into an environmental and societal nightmare. Without realizing how much a contemporary home already contributes to environmental destruction, most of us want bigger and bigger houses and dream of the day when we own not just one dwelling but at least the two our neighbor does. We push our children to "get out on their own" long before they need to, creating a second household where previously one existed. We pave and build, demolishing habitat needed by threatened and endangered species, adding to the mounting burden of global climate change, and sucking away resources much better applied to pressing societal needs. “Reduce, reuse, recycle” is seldom evoked in the housing world, where economists predict financial disasters when "new housing starts" are reduced and the idea of renovating inner city residences is regarded as merely a good cause. Presenting irrefutable evidence, this book cries for America and the world to intervene by making simple changes in our household energy and water usage and by supporting municipal, state, national, and international policies to counter this devastation and overuse of resources. It offers a way out of the mess we are creating and envisions a future where we all live comfortable, nondestructive lives. The “housing bomb” is ticking, and our choice is clear—change our approach or feel the blast.
Edmund Bacon and the Future of the City
When Philadelphia's iconoclastic city planner Edmund N. Bacon looked into his crystal ball in 1959, he saw a remarkable vision: "Philadelphia as an unmatched expression of the vitality of American technology and culture." In that year Bacon penned an essay for Greater Philadelphia Magazine, originally entitled "Philadelphia in the Year 2009," in which he imagined a city remade, modernized in time to host the 1976 Philadelphia World's Fair and Bicentennial celebration, an event that would be a catalyst for a golden age of urban renewal.
What Bacon did not predict was the long, bitter period of economic decline, population dispersal, and racial confrontation that Philadelphia was about to enter. As such, his essay comes to us as a time capsule, a message from one of the city's most influential and controversial shapers that prompts discussions of what was, what might have been, and what could yet be in the city's future.
Imagining Philadelphia brings together Bacon's original essay, reprinted here for the first time in fifty years, and a set of original essays on the past, present, and future of urban planning in Philadelphia. In addition to examining Bacon and his motivations for writing the piece, the essays assess the wider context of Philadelphia's planning, architecture, and real estate communities at the time, how city officials were reacting to economic decline, what national precedents shaped Bacon's faith in grand forms of urban renewal, and whether or not it is desirable or even possible to adopt similarly ambitious visions for contemporary urban planning and economic development. The volume closes with a vision of what Philadelphia might look like fifty years from now.
Collective Visions of Home
“Houses can become poetic expressions of longing for a lost past, voices of a lived present, and dreams of an ideal future.” Carel Bertram discovered this truth when she went to Turkey in the 1990s and began asking people about their memories of “the Turkish house.” The fondness and nostalgia with which people recalled the distinctive wooden houses that were once ubiquitous throughout the Ottoman Empire made her realize that “the Turkish house” carries rich symbolic meaning. In this delightfully readable book, Bertram considers representations of the Turkish house in literature, art, and architecture to understand why the idea of the house has become such a potent signifier of Turkish identity. Bertram's exploration of the Turkish house shows how this feature of Ottoman culture took on symbolic meaning in the Turkish imagination as Turkey became more Westernized and secular in the early decades of the twentieth century. She shows how artists, writers, and architects all drew on the memory of the Turkish house as a space where changing notions of spirituality, modernity, and identity—as well as the social roles of women and the family—could be approached, contested, revised, or embraced during this period of tumultuous change.
IBM and the Transformation of Corporate Design, 1945–1976
In February 1956 the president of IBM, Thomas Watson Jr., hired the industrial designer and architect Eliot F. Noyes, charging him with reinventing IBM’s corporate image, from stationery and curtains to products such as typewriters and computers and to laboratory and administration buildings. What followed—a story told in full for the first time in John Harwood’s The Interface—remade IBM in a way that would also transform the relationships between design, computer science, and corporate culture.
IBM’s program assembled a cast of leading figures in American design: Noyes, Charles Eames, Paul Rand, George Nelson, and Edgar Kaufmann Jr. The Interface offers a detailed account of the key role these designers played in shaping both the computer and the multinational corporation. Harwood describes a surprising inverse effect: the influence of computer and corporation on the theory and practice of design. Here we see how, in the period stretching from the “invention” of the computer during World War II to the appearance of the personal computer in the mid-1970s, disciplines once well outside the realm of architectural design—information and management theory, cybernetics, ergonomics, computer science—became integral aspects of design.
As the first critical history of the industrial design of the computer, of Eliot Noyes’s career, and of some of the most important work of the Office of Charles and Ray Eames, The Interface supplies a crucial chapter in the story of architecture and design in postwar America—and an invaluable perspective on the computer and corporate cultures of today.
"In the course of my research," writes D. Fairchild Ruggles, "I devoured Arabic agricultural manuals from the tenth through the fourteenth centuries. I love gardening, and in these texts I was able to enter the minds of agriculturalists and botanists of a thousand years ago who likewise believed it was important and interesting to record all the known ways of propagating olive trees, the various uses of rosemary, and how best to fertilize a garden bed."
Western admirers have long seen the Islamic garden as an earthly reflection of the paradise said to await the faithful. However, such simplification, Ruggles contends, denies the sophistication and diversity of the art form. Islamic Gardens and Landscapes immerses the reader in the world of the architects of the great gardens of the Islamic world, from medieval Morocco to contemporary India.
Just as Islamic culture is historically dense, sophisticated, and complex, so too is the history of its built landscapes. Islamic gardens began from the practical need to organize the surrounding space of human civilization, tame nature, enhance the earth's yield, and create a legible map on which to distribute natural resources. Ruggles follows the evolution of these early farming efforts to their aristocratic apex in famous formal gardens of the Alhambra in Spain and the Taj Mahal in Agra.
Whether in a humble city home or a royal courtyard, the garden has several defining characteristics, which Ruggles discusses. Most notable is an enclosed space divided into four equal parts surrounding a central design element. The traditional Islamic garden is inwardly focused, usually surrounded by buildings or in the form of a courtyard. Water provides a counterpoint to the portioned green sections.
Ranging across poetry, court documents, agronomy manuals, and early garden representations, and richly illustrated with pictures and site plans, Islamic Gardens and Landscapes is a book of impressive scope sure to interest scholars and enthusiasts alike.
Parma in the Communal Age
During the long thirteenth century, the cities of northern Italy engendered a vital and distinctive civic culture despite constant political upheaval. In The Italian Piazza Transformed, Areli Marina examines the radical transformation of Parma’s urban center in this tumultuous period by reconstructing the city’s two most significant public spaces: its cathedral and communal squares. Treating the space of these piazzas as attentively as the buildings that shape their perimeters, she documents and discusses the evolution of each site from 1196, tracing their construction by opposing political factions within the city’s ruling elite. By the early fourteenth century, Parma’s patrons and builders had imposed strict geometric order on formerly inchoate sites, achieving a formal coherence attained by few other cities. Moreover, Marina establishes that the piazzas’ orderly contours, dramatic open spaces, and monumental buildings were more than grand backdrops to civic ritual. Parma’s squares were also agents in the production of the city-state’s mechanisms of control. They deployed brick, marble, and mortar according to both ancient Roman and contemporary courtly modes to create a physical embodiment of the modern, syncretic authority of the city’s leaders. By weaving together traditional formal and iconographic approaches with newer concepts of the symbolic, social, and political meanings of urban space, Marina reframes the complex relationship between late medieval Italy’s civic culture and the carefully crafted piazzas from which it emerged.
Innovation in Planned Residential Communities
An Illustrated Guide
Upon entering a Japanese Buddhist temple in Hawai‘i, most people—whether first-time visitors or lifelong members—are overwhelmed by the elaborate and complex display of golden ornaments, intricately carved altar tables and incense burners, and images of venerable masters and bodhisattvas. These objects, as well as the architectural elements of the temple itself, have meanings that are often hidden in ancient symbolisms. This book, written by two local authorities on Japanese art and religion, provides a thorough yet accessible overview of Buddhism in Hawai‘i followed by a temple-by-temple guide to the remaining structures across the state.
Introductory chapters cover the basic history, teachings, and practices of various denominations and the meanings of objects commonly found in temples. Taken together, they form a short primer on Buddhism in Japan and Hawai‘i. The heart of the book is a narrative description of the ninety temples still extant in Hawai‘i. Augmented by over 350 color photographs, each entry begins with historical background information and continues with descriptions of architecture, sanctuaries, statuary and ritual implements, columbariums, and grounds. Appended at the end is a chart listing each temple's denomination, membership number, and architectural type.
While many Buddhist temples in Hawai‘i are active social and religious centers, a good number are in serious decline. In addition to being an introduction to Buddhism and a guide book, Japanese Buddhist Temples of Hawai‘i is an indispensable historical record of what exists today and what may be gone tomorrow. It will appeal to temple members, pilgrims, residents, and tourists interested in local cultural and historic sites, and historians of Buddhism in Hawai‘i.
363 color illus.