A beautiful short film of a dragonfly’s last moments by Paul Kroeker. If you didn’t think you could feel a sense of pathos over an insect, you’d be wrong.
(Via Boing Boing)
For all that the popular perception of Calcutta focuses on the shocking visibility of poverty in its streets, it misses other important aspects of the city. One that became immediately clear to me is that Calcutta is a much more pedestrian-friendly place than Hyderabad, and especially the west of Hyderabad. There are actual sidewalks that people walk on, and this is spatially enforced by raised curbs and often fences that separate the sidewalk from the road. Along with this comes a vibrant street culture, and I and my brother have found ourselves eating from a wide variety of sidewalk stalls even more than at sit-down establishments.
This is the kind of scene that a city can make concrete provisions for at a much cheaper rate than, say, Hyderabad’s proposed metro rail projects. And creating pedestrian-friendly spaces would arguably serve a larger proportion of the population, one that would cut across class lines in part because people would not have to pay to use it and in part because sidewalks could be implemented in many more areas than could a metro rail project.
Here’s a great example of folks appropriating a built space and with a few deft additions turning it into something new. They’ve taken an observation tower and turned it into an awesome fire-breathing dragon.
It was found in the Hafencity neighborhood, which has become the quintessential example of socially insensitive city planning in the metropole. This area is largely devoid of any natural life beyond contractors and business-peoples, and is home to the new Elb Philharmonic. This landmark building for the city has gone way over budget and is seen as the physical form of political misspending. So we thought we’d liven the place up a bit. Hopefully not all aspects of our cities need to be so unplayful.
Does anyone know how long this piece of subversive art was allowed to stand? I really hope it’s still there. And do folks have other examples of people taking it upon themselves to turn their surroundings into more playful environments?
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This one’s dedicated to everyone who thinks “the West” is somehow more rational than “the Rest”. The sheer amount of conspiratorial crazy that Colleen Thomas is able to condense into less than eight minutes of video has to be viewed as some kind of work of art. It really must be seen to be (dis)believed.
I just witnessed, right in front of me, a guy almost get seriously hurt. He was a stocky man, probably in his forties and with a strong mustache. He was running to catch a train at the Hitech Station that had started to leave. He caught the door handle but lost his footing and started to be dragged along the concrete platform. Another man started to run alongside him, shouting in Telugu. read more…
Taking the train yesterday, I noticed posted in the car another sign warning passengers that it’s illegal to walk on the train tracks. Right beneath this, on the very same sign, is a caution that talking on a cell phone while walking on the tracks can distract you and get you killed. As you can see below (click on that picture for a larger view), it is the second of the two photos, the one that accompanies the warning about talking on your cell phone, that depicts a train hitting a pedestrian. read more…
Hyderabad’s MMTS commuter rail system is apparently of at least two minds when it comes to people crossing from platform to platform by walking on the rails themselves. The official line, as conveyed by the sign hanging at the Lingampally station (pictured after the jump), is that it is highly dangerous, and highly illegal. But this stance is pretty much honored only in the breach.