Month: September 2010

when there’s nothing left to preserve.

Historic preservation is about two things: saving and protecting historic buildings (or structures, or spaces), and saving or protecting (or redefining/inventing) historic memories. But our ideas about memory change over time, and sometimes when a community wants to preserve a memory they find that the structures associated with that memory no longer exist.  This is especially true when memories relate to memories of conflict or pre-conflict society, since conflict is often characterized by physical destruction. So what do you do if there’s no neighborhood to preserve, no site to protect?  Or, more abstractly, if you want to recognize a particular event in collective memory independent of the physical built environment?  I’d like to propose that we can understand this as the difference between preservation and commemoration.  While preservation specifically refers to maintaining the appearance and structure of the existing built environment, commemoration is more abstract I think, having to do with the incorporation of social or collective memory into our experience of the physical world. How can you do commemoration effectively, with or without an …

from the archives: kobenhavn

Copenhagen/Kobenhavn is known throughout the world as a model for urban living.  And how.  A mix of scales, public spaces, excellent public transportation and lots of beautiful people on bikes, beautiful waterways, and a gorgeous host of architecture from 17th century to uber-contemporary…all of these attributes make for an incredible city to visit and, I’m sure, live in.  Feast your eyes on some photos of what I think makes Copenhagen seem imminently livable.  What do you think?

local food traditions

Today I want to talk about food.  Okay, I always want to talk about food, but today I have a specific topic. I write a lot on this blog about cultural resources and recognizing community assets, and this past summer I got to thinking a lot about everyone’s favorite asset, food.  And more specifically, local food traditions that are profoundly seasonal and place-based, that make a big part of understanding life wherever we are.  We talk a lot these days about obesity, packaged food, industrial food system contamination, and the problems of factory animal farming, and I think it’s important to keep in mind all of the incredible local, cultural food traditions that we all do still enjoy and engage in our daily lives.  So, I want to share a little bit about my experience with New England’s food traditions, which I spent a lot of time thinking about (and enjoying) this past summer. Please share in comments food traditions in your own area that you love! Ok, well you can’t talk about New England …