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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Synchronicity, again

Updating a draft from 1/14/07:

NPR interviewed Suketu Mehtu about Maximum City in December.

Pico Iyer's article.

Since then, I've discovered placeblogger, an interesting site recommended first by Time Goes By, then on an interview on NPR's Smart City. I love this program which airs on Friday nights in our area, and I often catch part of it as I'm heading home, then later, catch up online.

For some reason, I've always love the idea of city planning - what works; what mistakes have been made and how they are being corrected; how to make city living better, more convenient, more environmentally effective; green spaces; traffic problems; housing, etc. Smart City covers all of these topics and more.

On the Dec. 21 program (of Smart City), Steven Johnson, author of The Ghost Map was interviewed. Two synchronicitous items: he mentioned placeblogger (and I found a placeblog in Mumbai) and his book is about the Cholera Epidemic in London in 1854 (which relates to the novel The Great Stink - which was in many ways interesting, if not enjoyable).

I love the way information and life intersect, branch off, return, crossover, in such an intricate pattern of connections. All of those strands that tangle, coil, and form an intricate and complex series of links and bridges--sometimes quite naturally, sometimes in such unexpected ways. The way one thing leads to another, and another, and back again...

And one last intersection, Anjali of Lotus Reads met Mehta and his father and send me this photo. She suggested cropping everyone out but father and son. Trying to map all of the convoluted paths of a "reading itinerary" becomes too complicated.


  1. I'm finding doing my reading itinerary both fun and, as you say, convoluted.

    City planning is fascinating. I have heard some really interesting local and national people discuss it on NPR in the past. I think it would be an interesting job.

  2. Jenclair,

    I'm glad you used the picture! :)

    I am bookmarking "placeblogger" it looks so interesting. Since you like cities and planning etc. I was wondering if you had heard of Robert Neuwirth's "Shadow Cities"? It's a fascinating book.

    A little detail from the book flap:

    Robert Neuwirth (investigative journalist) spends 2 years living in squatter neighborhoods on four continents. He started his journey prepared to find squatters as signifiers of urban decay and lawlessness, instead he found vital communities of industrious and highly moral people who have built communities of lasting power.

    If this book interests you, let me know and I can send you my copy.

  3. Carl - Don't you find the connections (between fiction, non-fiction, word-of-mouth, text, computers, television, and radio, etc.) interesting? A friend talks about a topic, then you just happen to see it mentioned in a novel, then there is something on the radio, then you buy a book, then someone blogs about it... The connections are all there, but suddenly you become aware of them.

    Lotus - Thanks again for sharing your picture! You shortened that 6 degrees of separation for me. And with Friedman as well. Neuwirth's book sounds fascinating, and I'd love to read it!

    Sociology, psychology, and history were my minors in college. Partly because I do well in courses that involve a lot of reading, and partly because in spite of being an introvert, I am remarkably curious about people, behavior, and interaction. :)