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Cityness: discontinued

All good things must come to an end and so it is with Cityness. I started this weblog over a year ago, as an experiment to see if I could connect the realm of the urban with the realms of science and arts. Whether that has been successful, is up to you to decide. For me, it was interesting to the extent that it brought me in contact with other people. But on the whole, it required considerable more energy than it returned. Some Internet-savvy people told me that the posts were too long to be published on the Internet. That may be so but I refuse to give in and join the great amounts of shallow tidbits that are strewn across the Internet. Also, the most popular posts on the website are about subjects that I will cover in an upcoming book. I think it is better that I focus my writing efforts on getting that book out instead of posting incomplete work here. So I’ve decided to stop Cityness but will continue to write contributions for the PAUME-website. Do you like to read about the urban, arts and sciences? Be sure to check out the ‘Featured’ section of the PAUME-site!

One of those pictures that I took for this weblog, without having a real story about it. It is a quick snapshot of Rotterdam, which captures the dynamics of this town nicely.

Some stats:
Cityness attracted about 10.000 hits in one year. The top three most popular single posts were the ones about Peckam, my thoughts on the role of railway stations in European cities and a discussion of the work of architect Maarten Struijs. The most popular review was the book review of Venturi’s Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture. Some popular posts will be reposted at the PAUME website, as long as it fits the PAUME framework. This blog will remain online as long as it keeps attracting readers.

Here is an inspiring clip about sounds and the city:

The past weeks in pictures

December and November are notorious for their workload and deadlines. However, much fun was to be experienced. Here are some pictures instead of words.

A different context for academic work: lectures in the old Lantaren-Venster cinema give an entirely different atmosphere and improved interaction between audience and speaker. We will return here! Picture by Fred Ernst

Urban planner and author of the great book 'Cities, Design and Evolution' gave a great lecture about conurbations and urban planning as an evolutionary process. A great evening and a fully packed house, i.e. a definitive success. Picture by Fred Ernst

Meanwhile, storms and full moon tested Rotterdam's defense mechanisms against high water levels. Things got a bit wet but not to the extent that the Nieuwe Maas had to be closed off. The problem with good water management is that you rarely get the chance to test how good it is. This was one opportunity. Picture by Andres Dijkshoorn

BJ Nilsen was our guest last Thursday and he performed an extended version of 'The Invisible City'. It was a truly inspiring performance. For those who wonder what Mr. Nilsen does during a performance: here is a view from his office space, as seen during the sound checks. Picture by me.

City Rat Race

If you really, really miss the city (or live on the countryside for whatever reason) you can do like artist Burden and create it yourself. Check his marvelous Metropolis II installation out here.

What an inspiring week!

What a great but busy week it was at our department! First we prepared a lecture on the work of Niklas Luhmann about social systems for our master students. They coped surprisingly well, given that this is a topic many scientists don’t even dare to touch. Then David Byrne (Durham University) came over to talk about this book ‘Applying Social Science’ and about complexity in general. I think that David is one of those rare people who write books that are really ahead of their times. Another great thinker was our guest on Thursday and Friday. Stephen Marshall gave a great lecture to a fully packed house (hmm, make that overly fully packed…) on Thursday and gave very useful input to our workshop on Friday. It was a week of intellectual challenge, glad to be doing this work.

Winter has come