News 10.28.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 10.28.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 10.28.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 10.28.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

“It’s dreadful,” Anna Wintour said in early October, looking out the south-facing windows of her 25th-floor office in One World Trade Center, which has been home to Vogue and its publisher, Condé Nast, since 2014. It’s the neighborhood she hates — corporate, sterile, and encumbered by security. She preferred the previous headquarters, in Times Square, which offered the ability to pop out for afternoon matinees on Broadway and, more important, the feeling that Condé Nast was at the center of it all. But the landlord had given the world’s glitziest publishing company a deal to move downtown, and Condé built out 23 sleek, futuristic floors as though magazines were thriving. This proved overly optimistic. Three years later, in 2017, Condé lost more than $120 million; Graydon Carter, who relished his life among the moguls and stars, a player among players, announced his departure after 25 years running Vanity Fair; and Si Newhouse, the company’s Medici-like benefactor, died at 89.

Read the rest of this article at: New York Magazine

News 10.28.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

When does uncertainty become the worst condition of all? This fall, more than three years after Britain voted to leave the European Union, no one was sure what form Brexit would take, what kind of relationship we would have with our nearest neighbors, or whether the whole thing could still be called off. Theresa May, the first Conservative Prime Minister with the job of taking the United Kingdom out of the E.U., had been forced to step down at the end of July. The second, Boris Johnson, did not seem trustworthy. There was a departure time—11 p.m. on October 31st—which the government tried very hard to convince people was real. On September 1st, it launched a hundred-million-pound public-information campaign called “Get Ready for Brexit.” TV spots showed sparkling European vacation destinations and advised viewers to check their travel insurance. There was a six-second video on Snapchat. Signs flashed on highways in the rain, telling truck drivers, “Freight to EU, Papers May Change.”

But everyone knew that Brexit was unlikely to happen by Halloween. May had spent two years negotiating an exit deal with the other twenty-seven members of the E.U., only to fail to get it approved by Parliament. Johnson, a flamboyant Brexiteer, wanted to rip up May’s agreement, but there didn’t seem to be time to start over. He insisted that Britain would leave, regardless of how talks went with Brussels. “No ifs or buts,” Johnson said, outside No. 10 Downing Street. The gulf between what the government said was going to happen and what seemed possible, let alone sensible, grew wider by the day. You could scroll through an article on your phone, full of the reasons that Brexit would not occur on October 31st, and be interrupted by an ad from the government telling you to get ready.

The ructions in Westminster took on historic proportions. Johnson lost his first seven votes as Prime Minister. In one, rebel Conservative Members of Parliament joined the opposition to pass a law aimed at preventing Johnson from taking Britain out of the E.U. without a deal. Johnson asked the Queen to shut down Parliament; the Supreme Court opened it up again. He called for a general election; the Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, refused to agree to one unless Brexit was delayed. The pound fell. Death threats multiplied. Politicians quoted poetry. A third of British adults said that Brexit had affected their mental health. A man in a clown outfit stood outside the gates of Parliament shouting, “Save our bendy bananas!”

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

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Anyone else would have taken them for four Asian businessmen, but Badiucao is pretty sure they were spies. All of them were wearing the same corporate outfit, all sporting the same Bluetooth earpieces, and when they boarded the bus on the outskirts of Melbourne they all sat in what appeared to be a prearranged formation around Badiucao: one in front, one behind, and two opposite. At that point, he recalls, he was “very much in their pocket.”

“I chose to get off the bus before my destination, because I wanted to see if they were following me or not,” he says. “And two of them got off and followed me into Woolworths.”

Badiucao stayed in the supermarket for 45 minutes until he’d made sure the men had left. “It was terrifying,” he admits. “But I didn’t show fear. I walked directly at them with my camera, and they kind of went away after that.”

“It’s important to take photos to have [these guys on] record,” he adds. “Like, I need to know who they are.”

Read the rest of this article at: Vice

News 10.28.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 10.28.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Aristotle Theresa, a 39-year-old civil rights attorney in Washington, DC, is suing his city for $1 billion. He argues that the city government ignored opposition from his clients, who are lower-income residents, while purposefully wooing “creative” economy workers to the city. By changing zoning laws to allow for the construction of a glut of studio and one-bedroom apartments and condominiums, Theresa says, the city purposefully gentrified its neighborhoods.

Sitting in the kitchen of his home in Anacostia, a predominantly African American DC neighborhood east of the river, where the poverty rate triple that of the rest of the city, he explained his frustration at skyrocketing housing prices.

“Our housing doesn’t make sense anymore,” he said. “When you’re subsidizing people who make $140,000 a year so they can live in an apartment,” he said, referring to a proposed, and now dead, municipal workforce housing initiative, “that doesn’t make sense. You’re setting the floor, and it’s not sustainable.”

Theresa believes that much of the development and displacement that has befallen DC is city-initiated: that DC had a vision for transformation, one that would embrace the promise of the so-called “creative class” economy and that would necessarily disadvantage and ultimately push out middle- and working-class people, most of them African American.

Across town, a very different resident, this one a developer, is arguing the same essential point: this unrelenting growth is out of control and cannot last.

Justin Pierce is a 43-year-old real estate investor who works in the DC region and occasionally writes about housing for the Washington Post. He is a self-described “country boy,” an ex-Marine from Utah.

“I came up in the business thinking that the prices of the homes should be dictated by the income of the community,” he said while sitting in the lobby of an apartment building his company built in Arlington, Virginia, where millennials lounge on sofas and a draft kombucha machine is on display. “I still like to keep that in mind,” he said. “I keep that in my arithmetic. But the prices just aren’t justified by that math anymore, and it’s become really hard to calculate the value.”

Increasingly, Pierce struggles to make sense of his real estate projects in the metro area. The prices of unrenovated homes have climbed too high, the profit margins are too slim. Markets across the country are being “juiced” by development dollars at a time in which, economically speaking, “maybe we should be going into our natural drawback cycle,” he says.

The public has long been aware of the negative effects that accompany gentrification, often posed to residents as urban renewal: A certain type of individual of a certain financial standing, with a certain educational pedigree and cultural bent, moves into an economically depressed part of town; prices rise, culture shifts, and displacement occurs, typically along racial and economic lines.

Read the rest of this article at: Vox

News 10.28.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Before the $185 million or so dollars that turned an unused mile-and-a-half stretch of elevated rail in New York City’s Chelsea district into the High Line, Robert Hammond and Joshua David would take neighbors up there for a walking tour.

“It was sort of dangerous,” says Hammond, now one of the co-founders of Friends of the High Line, the nonprofit that oversaw the refurbishing. “There was a lot of debris and no clear pathway. Everyone had to sign a liability waiver.”

Hammond estimates he and David did about 100 of these small tours over a decade. As they explored the raised remains, they’d tell the story of how it was built, what the railcars used to carry, and how it had fallen into disuse in the 1960s after the growth of the trucking industry. But the tours’ goal was more than just a history lesson. At the time, Mayor Rudy Guiliani, who desperately wanted to tear down the structure, was in power. So the tours came with a please: Help us save it.

The plan worked.

“The project would not have happened if we hadn’t been able to do the tours, because you didn’t get the full experience if you were just looking at it from the ground. People would fall in love when they’d come up there,” Hammond says. “Neighborhoods are almost impossible to describe. You can see pictures, but you don’t know what it feels like until you walk it.”

Nearly two decades later, I still remember the wet cobblestones of the dank alleyways on a “Jack the Ripper walk” I took through Whitechapel. I felt how suffocating such confines would have been, could experience the smells, sights, and sounds of living in squalor with 78,000 others. Reading about the murders gives you contextual details about London, historical details about the city’s society, and biographical content about the victims. But nothing gives you the sense of the past world, or sells you on the importance of historical preservation, quite like walking the same physical space.

Something transcendent happens on walking tours. And those spatial-temporal elements in storytelling can have powerful effects in the neighborhoods where those stories are being told.

Read the rest of this article at: Curbed

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