Monday, August 28, 2006

drinking in nürnberg

The city of Nürnberg was a big suprise to me. Besides being the place where those crazy Nazis held their enormous rallies, today's Nuremberg [the name in English] is a combination of historical medieval walls and buildings mixed with modern design, home to the most outstanding collection of art in Germany, the birthplace of the pocketwatch, and home to the best pierogie I have ever eaten on this side of the Warsaw Pact states.

And it was a great place to have a drink.

You'll see what I mean when you see the design of their drinking fountains they have all over the place.

Just push the button at the base, and water flows out. A great combination of form and function. Here is my foot in action:

The fountains were also a source of amusement and debauchery when walking around town at 3:30 in the morning. They provided some must-needed ammunition to attack friends from England, Australia, and Scotland . . .

And Nürnberg was the city with the largest number of wig shops I have ever seen.

man, this place has everything.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

saxon club, eat your heart out

went to a wedding of a good friend and ex-roomate last weekend. The reception was held at a chateau built in France during the early 1600s.

not too shabby.

here are some photos of the estate:

So even though the reception had a 6-course sit down meal and continued until 5am, just for the record, there was no cookie table. [click here and here for more information on cookie tables]

Friday, August 25, 2006

steel valley movie

"we are a network, and not a hierarchy"

such was the quote about the strength of the blogging community and their production of ideas, which came from the Meet the Bloggers recent interview with Tim Ryan - Youngstown's representative in the halls of Congress. You can listen to the entire interview here.

George Nemeth of Brewed Fresh Daily provided this opinion on the interview:
"I was engaged by this remarkable young man and his yearning for all of us to live in a world of ideas and limitless possibilities. He sees the vision, he knows how to lead us toward it, and he knows the difference between hierarchical and networked. He’s a communicator, and I guess you’ll just have to listen to the podcast to see what I mean. Tim Ryan may be the best chance any of us has, either side of the aisle, to move forward and attain our potential as a people. I can’t say enough. Listen. This is the future, beckoning."

now that's an endorsement of vision.

Another interesting thing I came across for the first time while surfing last night is a movie called "Steel Valley". The film has Youngstown native and Ursuline grad Ed O'Neil playing one of the movie's main characters.

So while the movie is not a dead-on biography of Mr. Ryan's rise to Congress, the plot shares a similar theme.

wow. that was quick.

I wonder when the first Jay Williams' movie is going to be in the theaters . . .

Thursday, August 24, 2006

get these muthaf*ckin' snakes out of muthaf*ckin' youngstown

UPDATE: (from Paris, 9:03pm CET)

I just made it back to the apartment from the subway stop near Rue de Jonquoy where I took this photo:

So, Prenez ces putain serpents de muthaf*ckin' youngstown!

Youngstown native and 1967 East High graduate Dave Dalessandro was the writer for the original screenplay from which the new movie "Snakes on a Plane" was based.

read the Vindicator article here.

read the Pitt article here.

'nuff said.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

strolling through stuttgart - part II

The next day after a night out at Winter Fest Summer Fest, I made it over to the new Mercedes-Benz-Daimler-Chrysler Museum in Stuttgart.

Really a stunning building. It just opened in May of this year.

Upon entry, you take these elevators to the top of the building. After seeing a stuffed horse and the world's first automobile, you slowly descend around the perimeter of the building seeing the history of the company and its place in German and world history.

Along the way, you have a handset which tells stories, highlights inventions, and provides historical information. I am not really a big car nut, but I spent 5 hours there.

And then, as all modern museums do, the end of the tour dumps you out into the gift shop.

But this gift shop was nuts.

In addition to the Mercedes-Benz polo shirts and blingish keychains, there were four floors of Mercedes cars that one can sit in, look over, and begin leasing. Cars were available to drive off the lot.

crazy. Maybe we should build a Avanti Museum.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

strolling through stuttgart - part I

Also last week I made a visit to Stuttgart, Germany's 6th largest city. There are 600,000 in the city and about 3 million in the metro area.

Stuttgart is home to the headquarters of Daimler-Chrysler, Porsche, and Bosch. The few days I stayed there, they were in the middle of the summer festival in what is left (not much actually) of the historical part of their downtown. It was odd because during the "summer festival" temperatures did not go above 50 degrees. It was mid August and everyone was walking around in ski jackets and scarves. Here is a photo of the central fountain with the opera illuminated in the background:

Small candles surrounded by multi-colored paper lit all the paths near this square. It looked great. Here is a closeup of these candles . . . a nice, non-expensive way to add color to the environment at night:

As the music played at the various stages in this area, the buildings changed color as well. Here is a quick movie of the what the place looked like.

Just around the corner is a new art museum in the downtown. I love the architecture. Maybe the new building for the Williamson School of Business at YSU can incorporate parts of this building for its design. The new structure can really have that "beacon on a hill" look.

I really like how the stairs are situated around the building. The galleries are furthest in, and like a shell, the stairs are further out right next to the glass exterior.

And in the cafe at the southern entrance, there was a great piece of morphing art. Cycles of persian rugs and turkish carpets were created over and over again as hipsters listened to a dj playing drum and bass in the background. very cool.

Monday, August 21, 2006

interactive art in karlsruhe

Last week I made a stop in Karlsrhue to visit some colleagues at the Fraunhofer Institute in Karlsruhe Germany. Karlsruhe is the center of a metro area about the same size as that of Youngstown's.

For a city of Karlrhue's size, it seems to have a remarkable about of arts and cultural institutions. One is the Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (Center for Art and Media Technology) and I had the chance to visit. Here is a photo of the outside of the building:

Three very large floors were dedicated to interactive art. There was even art in the men's bathroom.

One of the coolest pieces I saw was a screen projecting bubbles onto a wall. As a person made a swipe at the bubbles, the bubbles made noises as they bumped off your silhouette. Check out this clip:

Karlsruhe has a large chateau/castle in the middle of the city and many of the main streets emminate from this building. Kinda like the Capitol in Washington DC.

In the stone street in front of this building, they did some neat design. During the day, all of these stones look the same. But at night, certain stones light up and illuminate the ground. I'm still not sure how they did this, but it was really cool.

And one last picture is dedicated to this advertisement in the window of a store. I'm not sure what they were selling (it wasn't toilets) but it certainly caught my eye.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

did they leave or did they die?

Today's morbid post develops from an article in today's Plain Dealer about how Cleveland's population is sliding below 400,000 for the first time in a hundred years.

The article goes on to say that "White residents left [Cleveland] in greater numbers, but black residents also moved out" and that Cleveland's population is growing older and poorer in addition to getting smaller.

But are people moving out or dying out?

I calculated a few additional stats for cities around Ohio from the American Community Survey Data. These values are presented in the following manner:

city name:
% of population over 55 - % over 65 - % over 75 - % over 85

16.8% - 8.7% - 4.1% - 1.0%
20.2% - 11.1% - 5.5% - 1.5%
20.3% - 11.3% - 6.3% - 1.3%
22.0% - 12.1% - 6.3% - 1.3%
26.9% - 16.5% - 9.2% - 1.8%
27.6% - 17.7% - 10.3% - 2.5%
Mahoning County:
28.4% - 16.6% - 9.1% - 2.2%

Most of these communities are indeed getting older and the truth is, in 25 years many of their citizens in the age brackets above will be dead.

And unless the population will be replaced, these cities and regions will have an excess of housing, infrastructure, and government that will need to be adressed.

Aging populations may also be tied into the sustainability of the local workforce. A story in today's Youngstown Vindicator describes the effort to downsize the number of hourly workers at the Delphi plant in Trumbull County. The original plan was to shrink the workforce from 3,800 workers to a bit over 1,000. But 3,400 hourly works took the buyout, and now union leaders are concerned if they can run the facility with only 400 workers. Is the acceptability of the buyout related to the age of the workforce?

I'm not sure of the answer . . .

But is now the time to discuss regional or state-wide land use planning and housing policies to address population loss and unsustainable sprawl?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

three-part series on allentown on 33 news

This week, Amy Radinovic from 33 wytv news did a three-part series on the history and economic development of Allentown, Pennsylvania. You can watch these three segments here, here, and here.

One of the first stories this blog ever covered was a three-part review of Safford´s Allentown PhD thesis which compared the Youngstown and Allentown regions from a social network theory perspective. You can read these three segments here, here, and here.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

new floral display in metz

About four months ago, I wrote an entry describing how some cities in Europe add floral displays to cover their open plain spaces during the summer months. This week, I returned to the city of Metz in France to further investigate exactly how these displays were constructed. (click here to read the original post)

This year the city of Metz decorated the space in front of their main train station with a mix of flowers, grass, stones, and sculpture:

This year's design celebrates the arrival of the high-speed TGV train to this part of Eastern France, cutting the travel time to Paris from 3 hours to 1.5 hours.

This display really hightens the beauty of the surrounding buildings.

During the rest of the year, this space is a completely flat surface. When starting construction, the designers place what looks to be a series of beams which are 3 to 4 inches in depth around the perimeter of the planned area.

This bracketing allows for a series of sprinklers and pipes for watering to be placed, as well as rich planting soil to be contained within the planned space.

The design is even more remarkable from the air. On the observation platform, one can see the swirls and curves of color below.

Buses operate right next to the displays, as they shuttle passengers throughout the city.

People are given enough space to walk between the arrangements.

So can something like this be designed and constructed in the central square along Federal Street next our historical structures? Every year, a new design can be utilized. After a few years, professional photographers would have amassed enough photos of this to create images to be sold on posters and postcards.

Should an idea like this become a reality in our downtown?