Tuesday, September 29, 2009

oh, baltimore


i was in philadelphia on saturday for no more than an hour before i found this in a place called the book corner (what i take to be philly's equivalent of the book thing, except the books are deeply discounted instead of free.) guess i was homesick already. i've loved looking through it already, finding familiar places plus places i've never even heard of and seeing just how much has changed. it was published in the early 70's, back when urban renewal was starting to slow down, but there was still plenty of praise for projects like charles center. i pulled this passage from the intro:

"some day the prime movers who decide our destinies may come to understand that the character of a city as a fit place for men and women to live depends on the survival of intriguing vestiges of the past. they give a city the historic dimension that, whether people are entirely conscious of it or not, imbues the inhabitants with a certain dignity they would not otherwise attain. the ideal city would be one where, as in so many cities in europe, samples have been preserved of all the different phases of architecture and decoration the place has gone through since the beginning. it isn't enough to do a williamsburg on a few choice mansions. it is the modest buildings, adapted and readapted to a thousand uses... in the old architecture intimations of the kind of lives the citizens lived linger on."

and so i think of how that was one of the things that drew me to mica when it was just pictures in a college view book (and i had no clue the context it was in.) i think of east baltimore and ebdi, and how stephanie is taking a class through hopkins about collecting oral histories before they, literally, are erased. (how eerie/unsettling is that?) i think of the sweet juniper lecture in detroit, and how much there is to say about ruins. (winning/dominance/survival vs. loosing/a perverse interest in our own demise.) he talked about becoming picturesque, a quality to be gained only after time, in a way that its creators never expected or planned. and i think about the project m blog that i just looked through, from their recent stint in the city. i think of how i still feel sort of guilty for leaving that city behind and going some place else. (and not being the kind of "urban pioneer" granholm wanted.) i think about the new york times article i just read about bing. (not the search engine, the mayor.) i think about how even though i'm going on my third year... there's still so much to take in. so much to connect. i might have slowed down a bit from how i used to rush to take it in and process and spit a response back out, but it's still certainly enough to keep my mind busy.

3 comments:

Stephanie said...

oh you and your busy mind.

that quote is the bomb.
and that book! i wanna look inside it :)

dude, isnt EBDI's website the scariest??

i posted a little creative writing piece i did about east baltimore on my blog if ya wanna read it :)

i wuv you.

Lynley said...

that book looks awesome.

becky slogeris said...

i know! you can borrow it whenever...