Guerilla Public Service

A short version of the story
Richard Ankrom is an artist and sign painter. One day he was driving north on the 110 freeway in LA. He missed the exit to the Interstate 5 North he wanted to take and got lost. He later understood that the I-5 exit was not indicated on the green overhead sign. In 2001 he crafted the I-5 North sign himself. With a group of friends he assembled the sign at the place where it supposed to be.

The nice part of the story
The company running the freeway found out about the sign from an article in a local newspaper. Ankrom had hoped he could get his sign back after they took it down; he wanted to hang it in an art gallery. However, the company didn’t take the sign down. The guerrilla sign had passed the inspection.

The full story and an update on the replacement of the sign with improvements in 2009.

Anti-Gentrification Restaurant

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Read this NYT article by Ginia Bellafante on Brooklyn’s Anti-Gentrification Restaurant.

A great initiative by people who are aware that restaurants will follow and settle in the area who very likely will have little sensitivity to the needs of the neighbourhood.

The photo above shows a class in the Brownsville Community Culinary Center in Brooklyn. The program helps prepare participants for careers in the food and restaurant industry.

The initiative involves, amongst others, chef Claus Meyer, who is also know for opening the restaurant Gustu and cafés in La Paz, Bolivia to train young people for jobs in the food world.

Five myths about infrastructure

To know what infrastructure we need to build, we need to have an idea of what kind of world we want to live in.

Joel H. Moser’s (*) discussion of Trump’s ‘Infrastructure Week’ and misconseptions on what IF is and does for society that are commonly present in politics and public debates today. This five infrastructural myths are discussed in his Washington Post article:

1. New infrastructure projects would reduce unemployment.
2. Regulations kill infrastructure projects.
3. Private investment leads to infrastructure projects.
4. Infrastructure spending will spur growth.
5. We know what infrastructure we need.

(*) “Joel H. Moser is  the founder and CEO of Aquamarine Investment Partners, an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.” (see article)

From house occupation to pop-up-event

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A newspaper article on interim uses (and pop-up events) in Zurich as a driving force for business investment. A few sentences from the article translated:

“In the past, landlords would do everything to discourage squatters, today they give them a valid contract.”

“Liberal handling of squatters exerts pressure on landlords, to renovate immediately or release for interim use.”

“[…]interim uses cover operating costs of empty properties. They contribute retaining value because interim users invest in infrastructure. And interim use enhances the image of the place. A non-place is transformed into a place to be. The value of the property increases. Not the least, illegal squats can be avoided.”

” ‘Zurich owes a lot to the 1980s squatting movement’, says ETH-lecturer Philippe Klaus. Cultural interim uses like those on the Gerold-Areal or in the Toni-Molkerei have helped to free Zurich from its image as a somehow rigid financial hub and to present the city as lively and innovative place. ‘Interim uses have become places for business start-ups’, says Klaus. Emphasising that this is worth mentioning the more so as in Switzerland, compared to other countries, the government provides for only little start-up financing contribution for young entrepreneurs.”

The Wikipedia entry ‘pop-up retail’