New DJ set by Johnnycakes

New DJ set by prairieform dj alter-ego, Johnnycakes; deep house and techno in the mix

Prairieform’s DJ alter-ego, Johnnycakes, has a new set up for your listening enjoyment. It has a bit of a planning/landscape/city theme this time around, at least as far as the samples go but probably as far as the music goes as well, as, well, this was crafted and mixed right here in the big bad city on September 15, 2015. To listen on the Prairieform site, click here, or to listen on Soundcloud, click here. Original cover art by yours truly.

John Kamp

First Vacant Lands event

Flyer for first citizen-science event as part of the Prairieform Vacant Lands Project, a project exploring weeds and  what grows in vacant lots and neglected spaces.

The first event for the Vacant Lands project is set for May 24 in Berkeley, CA. We will be taking a proverbial microscope up to all of the plants growing within neglected and overlooked spaces within the Broakland (comprises parts of Berkeley and Oakland) Study Area. As this is a citizen-science-based event, all are welcome and encouraged to attend. For more information, and to RSVP, you may click HERE.

An endless passing of time

Temporary installation by YZ

Can you think of a point in time in the city you live and/or love that you wish could have been frozen, there, so that it would stay that way for eternity? People talk endlessly of the good old days in cities, especially in the world’s larger ones, whose rates of change are ever-increasing and whose endless waves of new residents plant roots there and then consider that point in time, that point of settling in, the moment when it became their city, and those years that come thenceforth and how the city evolves will pale in comparison to that time when it was suddenly your city. As we know, cities are in a constant state of flux and evolution, much of it out of our immediate control, some of it not. We can wish that blissful pinpoint moment when we decided the city was ours will remain, but it never does.

The artwork featured in the Artist-in-Residence series Les Bains is a testament to this endless evolution of cities in all their ups and downs and highs and lows. The building housing these works was once a bathhouse, then a famed nightclub, and soon a (sigh) boutique hotel. In the interim, its crumbling glory will enshroud and host the works of many a street artist featured in the exhibition. For more photos, click here.

Creating a true urban playground

In the city of Utrect, Netherlands, the Dutch railway maintenance company ProRail has installed a slide at one of the city’s subway stations. For those who are in a hurry to catch the train, you can opt to take the slide down rather than pokily walk down the stairs. We’re wondering why it has taken so long for this kind of urban amenity to be put into practice. It’s a small investment that ultimately offers the promise of infusing into what could otherwise be a routine, monotonous commute, something just a bit zippier, a nice tonic to the stresses, work-induced overseriousness, and occasional doldrums of the modern world.

The great sell-off

There is growing talk and conjecture over the future of the American suburb, and, in particular, over the very large suburban home sometimes not-so-affectionately referred to as the McMansion. As baby-boomers begin to retire in increasing numbers and age past the point of being able to physically maintain large homes and accompanying grounds, planners are beginning to wonder whether some of these homes might not become subdivided into multifamily housing, and whether some will remain vacant, contributing to an ongoing glut of single-family homes. Rather than see this trend as unavoidable sad fate, we would like to see it as a golden opportunity to rethink and reimagine the suburban landscapes these homes sit within. If these dwellings are to become multi-family housing, this will mean increased density and thereby increased concentrations of spending power. If these areas were physically retrofitted to encourage the development of amenities within walking distance – meaning concentrating that spending power in particular areas – that spending power could translate into new suburban hubs of commercial and pedestrian activity. Think of it as the new Victorian Mansion surrounded by the 2010 version of San Francisco.

For more on the future of the McMansion, click here

For more on the baby-boomer-spurned housing glut, click here