Skip to content

Hi, I’m Colin Marshall

… a Seoul- and sometimes Los Angeles-based essayist, broadcaster, and public speaker on cities and culture.

I write for Guardian CitiesOpen Culturethe Los Angeles Review of Books (including its Korea Blog), and I’m now at work on the KCET series Los Angeles in Buildings, the crowdsourced urbanist-cultural-travel journalism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and a book called The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles.

I’ve also written for Boom: A Journal of California (and guest-edited its issue on architecture, infrastructure, and the built environment), Bookforum, Boing Boing, Put This On, The Japan Foundation, The Millions3QuarksdailyThe Quarterly Conversation, and Maximum Fun.

Each month I appear on a Seoul urbanism radio feature on TBS eFM’s Koreascape. Previously, I hosted and produced the world-traveling podcast Notebook on Cities and Culture [RSS] [iTunes], which evolved from the public radio program The Marketplace of Ideas. 

My video essay series The City in Cinema examines cities (especially Los Angeles) as they appear on film.

My public speaking, which I’ve done in places like Portland’s Hollywood Theatre, the San Francisco Urban Film Festival, Seoul National University, Yonsei University, Chapman University, California State University Long Beach, and the Seoul Book and Culture Club, usually covers this same suite of cities-and-culture-related topics.

You can also keep up with me on Twitter and Facebook as well.

콜린의 한국 이야기: 플레이 볼

내가 일본어를 공부하기 시작했을 때 일본국제교류기금에서 제작한 일본어를 가르치는 동영상 연재를 봤었다. 그것은 <일본어를 배우자>라는 제목이었고 내가 태어났던 1984년에 만들어졌다. 연재의 주인공은 특별한 국적이 없는 서양인인 얀이라는 주인공으로 건축 회사에 일을 하러 일본에 온다. 거기에 살면서 아파트를 빌리고 회식을 하고 라디오를 사고 국내여행을 하는 등 여러 가지의 경험을 하는 장면에 나온다. 가장 재미있는 편들 중에 하나는 얀이 일본 야구 경기를 보러 가는 것이다.

야구는 전 세계에서 미국을 대표하는 스포츠로 잘 알려져 있지만 나는 그러한 미국에서 태어난 미국인임에도 불구하고 원래 야구뿐만 아니라 어떠한 스포츠에도 관심이 없는 편이다. 그러나 나는 지난 몇년 동안 스포츠를 운동 그 자체가 아닌 문화적인 현상으로도 볼 수 있는 방법이 있음을 알게 되었다. 야구를 통해 미국 문화를 이해할 수 있다면 다른 야구를 하는 나라의 문화도 이와같은 방법으로 이해할 수 있다. 한국 문화에 관심이 많은 나는 그것 때문에 오랫동안 한국 야구 경기를 보고 싶었지만 여기에 산지 일년 반이 됨에도 불구하고 한국 야구를 볼 기회가 전혀 생기지 않았다.

나는 미국에 살 때 일본어를 공부하기 시작했고 한국에 살면서도 일본어를 계속 공부하고 있고 최근에 복습으로 <일본어를 배우자>를 다시 봤다. 몇 달 전에 아시아를 여행하는 로스앤젤레스에 사는 친구를 만나러 동경에 갔다. 우연히 그 친구도 여행을 하는 칼리포니아에 사는 그의 또다른 친구를 동경에서 만나기로 해서 우리 셋은 다 같이 일본식 저녁 식사를 했다. 대화하면서 내가 만난 적이 없는 줄 알았던 나의 친구의 친구가 어느 순간 익숙한 사람처럼 느껴지기 시작했다. 알고보니 내가 대학교 다닐 때 그 대학의 교수인 그가 가르쳤던 수업을 들은 적이 있는 것을 깨달았다.

나의 옛 교수님이 동경에 있는 이유는 매년 여름에 연세 대학교에서 수업을 가르치러 한국에 가지만 올해에는 일본에 들르고 싶었기 때문이다. 나는 재미교포인 옛 교수님을 대학교 때에는 “제임스 경진 리”로 알게 되었지만 이번에는 더 친숙한 “짐”으로 부르게 되었다. 우리의 저녁 식사는 성공적이어서 그와 나는 그가 수업들을 끝내면 서울에서 같이 야구 경기를 보러 가기로 했다. 계획한 그 날에 나는 조금 늦게 일하게 되어서 <일본어를 배우자>의 주인공인 얀과 같은 위치에 놓일 수도 있다는 것이 느껴졌다.

야구 경기가 나오는 편에는 얀의 일본 호스트 가족의 아이들은 이미 경기장의 관람석에 앉아서 선수들이 연습하는 것을 보고 있고 이와는 다르게 경기를 보러 갈 것을 약속한 얀은 아직도 사무실에서 타자기로 타이핑을 하고 있다. 마침내 기다림에 지친 호스트 가족의 아들은 공중전화에서 얀에게 통화해서 어디에 있냐고 물어보고 얀은 부장님이 모르게 조용히 곧 퇴근하겠다고 대답한다. 나는 잠실 경기장행 지하철을 타면서 얀처럼 느꼈고 기차가 한강을 건너면서 경기를 볼 것에 신이 나기 시작했다.

짐을 만난 종합운동장 역의 출구와 경기장 밖 공간에서 상상도 못 할 만큼 많은 것을 사 먹을 수 있다는 것에 놀랐다. 미국에서는 경기장 밖에서 소주와 구운 오징어 같은 것들을 살 수 있다 해도 당연히 경기장 안에 가져 갈 수 없지만 한국에서는 어떠한 것도 가지고 들어갈 수 있는 것처럼 보였다. 게다가 경기장 안에서 판매하는 음식도 비교적으로 저렴하다. 내가 어렸을 때 시애틀 매리너즈 경기를 보러 갔을 때 주차 요금뿐만 아니라 핫도그를 포함한 여러 음식과 물건들이 굉장히 비쌌다는 것을 기억한다. 이와는 상반적으로 한국에서는 표와 오징어와 맥주를 사면 가격은 총 20,000원쯤에 달한다.

그 날의 경기는 LG 트윈스 대 롯데 자이언츠였고 우리는 롯데가 특별히 열렬한 팬들이 많다고 들은 적이 있어서 롯데 응원자들의 좌석 구역에 앉았다. 샌프란시스코 자이언츠 야구복과 비슷한 오렌지색과 검은색 옷을 입는 치어리더들이 자주 나와서 공연을 하고 선수가 타석에 들어설 때마다 나오는 특별한 그 선수에 대한 노래를 불렀다. 경기의 중간에 우리는 공기를 넣어 모자처럼 머리에 쓸 수 있는 롯데의 오렌지색 비닐 봉지들을 받았다. 그러나 우리가 아무리 열심히 응원했지만 롯데는 한 점도 득점하지 못하고 졌다. 그때까지 짐과 우리와 같이 경기를 보고 있었던 짐이 초대한 외국인 교수들과 대학원생들 이미 집에 돌아갔지만 나는 맨 끝까지 지켜보고 싶었다.

<일본어를 배우자>에서도 얀과 그의 호스트 가족 아이들은 요코하마 타이요 훼일즈 대 한신 타이거즈인 경기를 맨 끝까지 지켜본다. 나는 일본에 처음 가서 오사카에 머물렀을 때부터 오사카의 팀인 한신 타이거즈에 괸심을 갖고 있다. 이번 달 초 오사카에 다시 갔고 한신 타이거즈 경기를 보러 가서 한국 야구와 비교할 생각이 있었지만 유일한 시간이 되는 밤에는 한신 타이거즈는 오사카가 아니라 동경에서 경기를 하는 것이었다. 그래서 한신 타이거즈의 역사적으로 깊은 코시엔 경기장 대신에 오사카에 있는 토라시라는 한신 타이거즈 응원자 바에 갔다. (토라는 일본어로 호랑이를 뜻하고 호랑이는 물론 영어로 타이거이다.)

토라시에서 경기의 시작부터 끝까지 모든 시간을 보냈다. 텔레비전 생방송으로 경기를 보면서 키린 일본 맥주를 마시고 바텐더와 한신 타이거즈와 오사카 문화에 대해서 얘기했다. 바텐더는 오사카에서 태어난 재일교포이었지만 한국에 온 적이 없고 한국말을 전혀 못 해서 나는 내 서투른 일본어를 사용할 수 밖에 없었다. (그는 한국 문화를 잘 모르지만 적어도 한국의 대표 음식인 “키무치”를 좋아한다고 했다.) 나는 처음 두 시간 동안 바의 유일한 고객이었지만 마지막 세번째 시간이 시작하고 대학교 나이처럼 보이는 여자 두 명이 들어와서 앉았다.

그 때에 한신 타이거즈는 예전부터 라이벌 팀이고 롯데 자이언츠와 샌프란시스코 자이언츠처럼 오렌지색과 검음색을 입는 요미우리 자이언츠에게 지고 있었다. 한신 타이거즈는 한 점도 득점하지 못했지만 우리 넷은 다 같이 계속해서 환호해서 마지막 인닝에서 그들은 마침내 득점했다! 나는 야구에 특별한 관심이 없고 스포츠보다 문화적인 젓에 대해서 생각하는 편이지만 나는 그 순간을 아주 즐겼다. 내년 여름에 한신 타이거즈의 홈구장인 코시엔 경기장에 갈 기회가 생기면 그들이 이기길 바란다.

This week’s city reading: how Angelenos evolve, what “ghost signs” reveal, and the weakness of “best cities” lists

Why the ‘best cities to live in’ list rewards the safe and the clean (Gavin Haynes, The Guardian) “The Economist’s clientele are exactly the people David Goodhart characterised as the ‘Anywheres’ in The Road To Somewhere, his take on the populist revolt that gave us Brexit, Trump and global politics’ present weirdness. Unlike the more geographically immobile ‘Somewheres’, they are highly educated, highly mobile cosmopolitan globalists, of the kind deposited by huge corporations in Delft or Delaware to run a bureau or consult on a project. They want to plug-in-’n’-play.”

The Evolution of an Angeleno (Reed Alvarado, Getting There) “‘I love walking into these stations and imagining what they are going to look like in the future.’ It’s an interesting thought. Will there one day be enough traffic or political will power to justify the in-station concession stands we are used to in other cities? Will there be more digital visuals or art? More entrances and exits like the one that recently opened at 7th and Metro he uses to make his way to work?” (Don’t get me started on the whole “7th and Metro” thing.)

Your City’s ‘Ghost Signs’ Have Stories to Tell (Matthew Kruchak, Citylab) “When the side of a 111-year-old brick building lit up in Winnipeg, Canada, on a recent night in July, a crowd of about 50 people looked up to see a newly vivid message that had been there all along: “Porter & Co., crockery, china, glassware, lamps, silverware, cutlery.” A few moments later, the words faded and a new message appeared: “The Home of Milady Chocolates.” This late-night light show was a seance of sorts, and Craig Winslow was the medium.”

Dongdaemun Postcard: From Stall to Tower, Merchant to Tourist (Sydney Yejin Chun, Korea Exposé) “‘The most difficult part of my job is probably interacting with customers of different ethnicities. It’s really bad, but I find that I’m so much more comfortable with Korean people,’ said Shim at the stall. ‘It’s much easier to strike up a quick conversation and chat with them, which also makes it easier to sell products. But I’m in the process of improving on my interactions with other customers.'”

The Auto Frame: a Vehicle for Transgression? (Nick Kaufmann, Medium) “This ‘automotive frame’ developed throughout early controversies of ‘jay drivers’ vs. ‘jay walkers’ and subsequent push by industry leaders like Charles Hayes to cast blame for collisions away from the vehicle itself, and frame the street as the rightful domain of the car. Hayes ‘warned his colleagues that bad publicity over traffic casualties could soon lead to ‘legislation that will hedge the operation of automobiles with almost unbearable restrictions.’ The solution was to persuade city people that “the streets are made for vehicles to run upon.'”

Why Seattle Builds Apartments, But Vancouver, BC, Builds Condos (Margaret Morales, Sightline Institute) “The short answer is economics. In Vancouver, apartments are saddled with an unfavorable tax code, making condos the more lucrative multi-family housing investment even despite high rental demand. In Seattle’s skyrocketing rental market, one that’s climbed even faster than the condo market in recent years, apartment buildings are much more financially attractive, while condos come with bigger risks and, typically, lower returns.”

Guardian Cities: How to Make a High Line

Every city wants a High Line. When Joshua David and Robert Hammond first dreamed of turning a long-disused elevated railway track overgrown with weeds into a linear park for Manhattan, they could scarcely have imagined the day – about 10 years and more than $180m later – when fellow urbanists in Miami, Seoul, Toronto, London and Sydney would strive to replicate their project’s phenomenal success.

“Part of the High Line’s allure lies in its seeming impossibility,” says Adam Ganser, vice president of planning and design at Friends of the High Line. “It was so unlikely that this project would happen that I think it provides some optimism around similar crazy concepts in other cities around the world.” The fact that it attracts five million visitors per year and an estimated $980m (£756m) in tax revenue might also have something to do with it.

But as major cities fall over each other to adapt the relics of their industrial past into engines of tourism and property booms, the chorus of detractors is growing. The charges against the mini-High Lines of the world are numerous: racial segregation, gentrification, cost, ugliness and outright idiocy. London’s Garden Bridge project has just collapsed amid widespread opposition from the very population it hoped to titillate. Even Hammond – whose penitence included setting up the High Line Network, a coalition of designers and planners meant to help other High Line-like “adaptive reuse” projects avoid his mistakes – acknowledges the problems. “We were from the community. We wanted to do it for the neighbourhood,” he said in a recent interview. “Ultimately, we failed.”

So, how do you do it right?

Read the whole thing at the Guardian.

Korea Blog: “Detroit”‘s American Riot and “A Taxi Driver”‘s Korean Massacre

Earlier this month, Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit opened in theaters across America, dramatizing an increasingly oft-referenced eruption of violence in relatively recent American history. At just about the same time, Jang Hoon’s A Taxi Driver (택시운전사) opened in theaters across South Korea, dramatizing an increasingly oft-referenced eruption of violence in relatively recent Korean history. The tagline of the American film’s poster insists that “it’s time we knew” exactly what happened during the 12th Street Riot that accelerated the Motor City’s long decline to come in the summer of 1967; the tagline on the Korean film’s poster needs to invoke no more than “a taxi driver going to Gwangju in May of 1980” for everyone to know exactly what he’ll drive into.

Having described Bigelow’s film as about “police violence — the violence of white police officers against black residents of Detroit,” New Yorker film critic Richard Brody dissents from its widespread acclaim, calling it not just a failure but an atrocity. “It’s clear that Bigelow intended to present a set of historical facts that would offend viewers’ sensibilities, spark righteous outrage at the brutality and the injustice inflicted upon the movie’s main characters, and induce viewers to reflect on the persistence of racist injustice in the United States today,” he writes. But the movie’s presentation of what happened in Detroit, especially a “protracted scene of captivity, terror, torture, and murder in the Algiers Motel,” makes him wonder how Bigelow and her collaborators could have filmed it at all.

“How could a director tell an actor to administer these brutal blows, not just once but repeatedly?” Brody asks. “How could a director instruct another actor to grimace and groan, to collapse under the force of the blows? How could a director even feel the need to make audiences feel the physical pain of the horrific, appalling police actions?” Detroit‘s “meticulous dramatization of events intended to shock,” he writes, “strikes me as the moral equivalent of pornography.” It makes me wonder how he’d judge A Taxi Driver‘s less aggressive but similarly unsparing depiction of the 1980 massacre in the city of Gwangju, whose still-unknown death toll, as against the 12th Street Riot’s 43 (along with more than a thousand injured and near-apocalyptic property damage) ranges from 144 to 2,000.

Read the whole thing at the Los Angeles Review of Books.

This week’s city reading: This Year’s Best Design Cities, When Airbnb Overtakes Your Building, the Lonely Los Angeles of “Heat”

The World’s Best Design Cities 2017 (Metropolis) “The crowds coursing down Via Tortona or gathering outside Bar Basso for one week in April are no more than a memory when the city is deserted in August. For years, it was also a city of extreme traditionalism: The Salone del Mobile’s gravitational pull on innovative international designers seemed to have little enduring influence on the native design culture. The Triennale hardly helped matters, producing devotional homages to the maestri of midcentury design rather than celebrating new talents. Today, however, Milan is slowly being catalyzed as a design city through interdisciplinarity, a powerful force that was suppressed here and elsewhere through the professionalization of the industry.”

Montrealer sole resident of condo building after other units rented on Airbnb (Andrea Bellemare, CBC News) “Chapman was a former Airbnb host himself, but decided to stop listing his home after his girlfriend moved in.” As someone who shared the article put it, “That was my facorite J.G. Ballard novel.”

To Attract Riders, Call Transit ‘Congestion Free’ (Jarrett Walker, Citylab) “In most cities, rail is protected from traffic but buses aren’t, so the average person’s concept of buses includes being stuck in traffic. But being stuck in traffic has nothing to do with whether you’re on rails or tires. Many old streetcar lines (and most new ones in the U.S.) are mixed with car traffic and suffer frequent disruption as a result. Meanwhile, buses can be highly reliable where they are protected from traffic, as in the best Bus Rapid Transit systems. Talking about a ‘congestion-free network’ is an excellent way to get people past this confusion.” See also my interview with Jarrett Walker on Notebook on Cities and Culture.

Goodbye Highways (Nate Berg, Landscape Architecture) “The growing number of freeway-focused projects represent a new era of thinking about all the space we’ve ceded to high-speed transportation. These projects—both under construction and in the planning process—are showing how to reimagine parts of the urban environment that are too easily ignored. These largely infrastructural spaces can serve more than one purpose. With some creativity and a bit of risk taking, cities can recast their freeway landscapes to play a bigger role in meeting their needs.”

Someone Wants to Build a Vertical Forest in Toronto (Amy Grief, BlogTO) “‘We thought that it’s ironic that a country like Canada blessed with so much wood resources hasn’t put in a lot more effort into that kind of direction,’ says Stein, regarding building with wood.”

The Loneliness Of Los Angeles In Michael Mann’s ‘Heat’ (Carman Tse, LAist) “He sets the noir tone off the bat with an opening shot of McCauley’s arrival at Metro’s Redondo Beach Green Line station, aided by a conveniently-placed steam pipe and Elliot Goldenthal’s ambient score. For the rest of the film, McCauley is linked to L.A.’s transitory spaces and movement. He’s a man without a sense of space or home (recall the aforementioned unfurnished Malibu pad). Even the armored truck heist that is Heat‘s inciting incident takes place underneath the interchange of the 10 and 110 freeways—a space ignored by the thousands of commuters that travel right over it every single day.”

Seoul Urbanism on TBS eFM’s Koreascape: Seoul’s identity crisis

Each month I join Kurt Achin, host of Koreascape on Seoul’s English-language radio station TBS eFM, for an exploration of one of Seoul’s urban spaces. This time we talk about my recent Guardian article on the branding of Seoul and the city’s efforts to resolve its ongoing identity crisis: hiring place-branding consultants, importing foreign architectural prestige, launching high-profile urban regeneration projects, putting up posters that encourage Seoulites to feel good about their city, introducing slogans like “I.Seoul.U,” and even more besides.

Stay tuned for further explorations of Seoul’s architecture, infrastructure, and other parts of the built environment. You can hear our previous segments here.

This week’s city reading: Detroit stays flawed, Mexico City kills parking minimums, corporations flee the suburbs

The new Detroit’s fatal flaw (Heather Ann Thompson, Washington Post) “Way back in July of 1967, just before that infamous evening when Detroit went up in flames, city boosters had been feeling pretty optimistic about the Motor City’s future. Detroit, then the nation’s fifth-largest city, was a metropolis that epitomized all that postwar America had to offer. Home to the Big Three automakers, it boasted higher-paying jobs for working people than many other cities. The Federal Housing Administration helped its residents enjoy unusually high rates of homeownership. Charismatic leaders all worked together to keep the wheels of the Motor City turning smoothly and unceasingly toward a more prosperous future.”

‘This is definitely a moment’: Olympics crown LA’s remarkable renaissance (Rory Carroll, The Guardian) “The renaissance comes amid a challenging time for New York, which has long scorned LA as a rival for America’s greatest city. Having lost a bid to host the 2012 Olympics to London, New York is now enduring a ‘summer of hell’ on its crumbling subway, prompting authorities to declare a state of emergency. This did not stop the New York Times poking fun at LA nabbing the 2028 Games, asking if this would herald new Olympic events such as ‘longest juice cleanse’ or “least original movie idea’.”

A generational failure: As the U.S. fantasizes, the rest of the world builds a new transport system (Yonah Freemark, The Transport Politic) “It’s actually not that complicated to conduct transport policy in a manner that adapts to change. You don’t need competitions to gather the input of ‘geniuses.’ You don’t need magical new technologies when we have systems that work today. You don’t need to encourage speculation from the private sector, whose primary interest is in making high returns on their investment, not the public interest. You need a (reasonably) long-term commitment to individual projects, across political lines and among multiple political jurisdictions. You need to amass the public resources to pay for them. And then you need a competent workforce to design, construct, and operate the lines. American society has not shown itself capable of any of those things.”

Mexico City Is Killing Parking Spaces. Pay Attention, America (Aarian Marshall, Wired) “Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera Espinosa this month announced a new policy that limits how many parking spaces builders can build. He hopes to spur development, which sounds counterintuitive. Without parking spaces, where will commuters rest their rides? But it turns out sprawling parking lots and looming garages can actually create more traffic and make housing less affordable and city streets more difficult to navigate.”

Corporations are leaving suburbs: Can anything reverse the trend? (Patrick Sisson, Curbed) “One of the most interesting aspects (and potentially troubling takeaways for suburban mayors) of the Core Values report is that all manner of companies are making the move downtown: tech giants, startups, Fortune 500 firms, small businesses. Of the nearly 500 companies included in the report, 245 had relocated from a suburban location. The shift has been fast, pitting suburbs—and even tech hubs—against other top-tier urban areas.”

Updating Toronto’s Architecture Bible (Mark Byrnes interviewing Alex Bozikovic, Citylab) “People who actively love Toronto as an urban place have mostly been downtowners who live in old, pre-Modern houses from a time when Toronto was a low-rise city, so that’s how they think of Toronto. But it’s equally a city of high-rises and it’s taking a while for that to sink in, culturally. You’re missing a lot of Toronto’s story by not paying attention to the modern city because that’s when everything really happened here.” (See also my own interview with Alex Bozikovic on Notebook on Cities and Culture.)

Los Angeles in Buildings #7: the Central Library

Stand outside any entrance of Los Angeles’ Central Library, look up, and you see only tall buildings, all of them clearly dating from the mid-20th century and later. 611 Place, Aon Center, the twin towers of City National Plaza, and the Citigroup Center all bear the marks of the late 1960s and ‘70s; in the 1980s and ‘90s appeared the Gas Company Tower and, tallest of all, the U.S. Bank Tower, commonly known as the Library Tower. That last gets its nickname not from the presence of public library facilities on any of its 73 floors, but from the source of the air rights – literally, the legal right to build upward into the air – that allowed it rise to 73 floors in the first place. That skyscraper owes its existence to the library, but the library also owes its existence to that skyscraper.

In this context of utilitarian verticality, an aesthetic common to downtowns across America since the time of postwar “urban renewal,” the Central Library can look like a relic from an era of altogether different values. But when it first opened in 1926, it looked like an arrival from a future of altogether different values, having taken shape, after several revisions, in a style almost avant-garde in its use of hard geometric edges, raw concrete surfaces, abundant allusions to distant places and times – Egypt, Rome, Byzantium, the Islamic world – and a philosophical foundation in addition to its concrete one. The Los Angeles Public Library, having had to move from rented space to rented space since its founding in 1872, had finally arrived in its own permanent home: not just a building in which to store books, but a temple to knowledge itself.

The design, both inside and out, makes that purpose explicit. At the top of one staircase a goddess statue has always stood, flanked by a pair of sphinxes and holding open a book whose pages offer a multilingual selection of quotations: the Bible’s “In the beginning was the word,” Seneca’s “Knowledge extends horizons,” Keats’ “Beauty is truth, truth beauty.” Her body bears images of mankind’s progress from East to West: the Egyptian pyramids, the tablet of the Ten Commandments, the Parthenon, Notre Dame, the Liberty Bell, a procession of covered wagons. Her name is “Civilization,” and her creator is Lee Lawrie, a sculptor best known for the forcefully symbolic works made for some of the grander American buildings of the early 20th century, especially the bronze Atlas seen in front of Manhattan’s Rockefeller Center (and on certain editions of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”).

Read the whole thing at KCET.

콜린의 한국 팟캐스트: 하루키를 찾아가시는 신성현

신성현 씨는 일본 소설가 무라카미 하루키에 관한 Finding Haruki라는 블로그를 운영하신다. 몇년 전에 무라카미의 작품과 삶에 관련된 장소들을 찾으려고 이본을 널리 여행하면서 블로그에서 그 여행에 대한 글을 쓰셨다. 그 다음에 <하루키를 찾하가는 영행>이라는 책도 출간하셨다. 여기나 아이튠즈를 통해 다운받을 수 있다.

This week’s city reading: New York’s housing crisis, Philip Roth’s Newark, the alt-right on architecture

Tenants Under Siege: Inside New York City’s Housing Crisis (Michael Greenberg, New York Review of Books) “At the town hall meeting, the mayor, trying to explain why he hasn’t set aside more units for those near the poverty line, said, ‘There are swamps of people who make less than $40,000 a year. People who make $50,000 need help, too.’ To a renter in the audience anxious about her future, he admitted, with a touch of sadness, that his housing policy ‘may not help you personally. New York may not be exactly the same city you’ve known.'”

How Vancouver became China’s aviation hub to the West (Howard Slutsken, CNN Travel) “Vancouver also holds the title of the ‘most Asian city outside of Asia,’ consisting mainly of Chinese, Indians and Filipinos, according to Canadian census data. In 2017, Statistics Canada projected that by 2036 around 78% of immigrants in Vancouver would be from Asia. Vancouver has become such a popular destination for Chinese investors looking to spend their money abroad that the provincial government in 2016 levied a 15% tax on foreign home buyers.”

20 Ways to Fix Los Angeles (Hillel Aron, Los Angeles Weekly) “The first law in need of reform requires that every new building provide a minimum number of parking spaces, which, according to developer Mott Smith, can be prohibitively expensive. Only about a third of households in Los Angeles have more than one car, yet apartment developers usually must secure 2.5 parking spaces for every housing unit they construct. Doing away with or at least easing the parking requirement would lead to more housing units being built, Smith and others says. As for people living in a building without parking, they could be forced to pay for it — or they could decide to go carless.”

Why Is the Alt-Right So Angry About Architecture? (Amanda Kolson Hurley, Citylab) “This being Infowars, Watson turns the rhetoric up to 11. The founders of Modernism were ‘the social justice warriors of their time,’ he says, ‘aesthetic terrorists.’ Michael Graves’ Denver Public Library is an ‘atrocity.’ Boston City Hall is a ‘callous abomination.’ The Whitney Museum in New York is an ‘abortion of a building.'”

From brutalism to Borgen to blogging: how the language of cities has changed (Oliver Farry, New Statesman) “It may even be this changing face of the urban environment and of the perception of cities that is driving this interest. After decades of being associated with social decay, alienation and violence, cities have enjoyed a newfound good press in the past 15 to 20 years. Gentrification is the most obvious vector but there is more than simply that to explain how people are more comfortable in cities. Falling crime rates, particularly for violent crime, on both sides of the Atlantic, have encouraged people to be adventurous and more attentive to their surroundings.”

Here a City Shall Be Wrought (Daniel Brook, Harper’s) “We walked up the hill past the empty incense stand. At the top, the path opened onto the school’s recess yard, which had survived the quake and the subsequent bulldozing and was now littered with rescue vehicles that had pulled out buried survivors. The square had only a temporary, movable blue-and-white sign reading memorial park in Chinese. What it was memorializing it did not say. I asked Zhang why she thought the square lacked a permanent, official plaque, but, after hesitating for a moment, she decided not to respond.”

Save the Kosciuszko! A Cri de Coeur for an Unloved Bridge (Sean Wilsey, New York Times) “I propose that it stay as a gathering place for all of us, especially those who never gather: the shouters, the chain smokers, the lotto-card scrapers and stressed-out cursers who’ve rumbled across it for 78 years. It should stand as an observation platform, a stubby Eiffel Tower (which it resembles) of the other boroughs. A High Line for schlubs. A High Line for everyone.” (See also my interview with Sean Wilsey on the Los Angeles Review of Books podcast.)

Philip Roth’s Newark (Steven Malanga, City Journal) “Roth’s stories reject the easy, conspiratorial view that Newark and other cities started to die because of a plot against them by government planners in favor of growing suburbs, exacerbated by white racism. In Roth’s novels, Newark’s Jews are on the move long before government-financed highways stretch into the suburbs or civil unrest wracks their city. And Roth makes clear that they’re following the grown children of German and Irish immigrants, who’ve already decamped in search of sprawling homes, big backyards, and other outward signs of the American dream.”