The invention that shrank the world

The intermodal container changed our world. We would never have the interconnected and global economy of today without Malcolm McLean and his system of containerization. Email: wendoverproductions@gmail.com Twitter: @WendoverPro Please consider subscribing for more great videos about our world! Attributions: Northeast passage photo by Collin Knopp-Schwyn and Turkish Flame “Faster Does It” song by Kevin MacLeod Additional footage provided by VideoBlocks...

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Planning for the Peripatetic

– Bruce Long Many Ancient Greek Philosophers were peripatetic: they would walk about a lot whilst thinking, and whilst talking, and whilst arguing, and whilst – thinking some more. The Peripatetic school was founded by Aristotle. It was an actual school of philosophy – which the Greeks were apt to establish as a general rule in their spare time, and lots of other times. Academies were central to the philosophical life of Athens and Ancient Greece. Now, with the current available data from neuroscience and the health sciences about the benefits of walking for our general health and wellbeing...

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Philosophical ideas that impact planning decisions and directions

– Viv Straw Unlike philosophers of science, planners cannot point to a single philosophical idea that drives their decision-making processes. Science and its resultant technological outputs are founded on a theoretical paradigm. The Universe is made up of materials and energy sources that act, perhaps react,  in predictable ways. This fundamental constant allows scientists to study the phenomena to find the patterns and eventually design new technologies to take advantage of research findings. For science to be successful, it is necessary to be able to repeat the test and get the same result: this is evidence based science. The...

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The Philosophy of Planning Is Everywhere Urban Planning Is

– Bruce Long The state of the art in urban, town, and city planning provides lots of examples of how planning philosophy is always operating in the background in planning scenarios. We have mentioned in previous articles that the primary contemporary planning philosophies are constructivism, positivism, and functionalism (mostly in China). Constructivists see the solution to problems as being situated with the beliefs, imaginations, and intuition of people. Constructivists about urban and planning regard that the important data and research used to plan an urban environment should come from such things as studies centered upon social psychology and testing...

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Narratives and Planned Urban Spaces

– Bruce Long Much philosophical and literary theoretic ink has been spilled on the subject of narratives and texts. Human beings document everything internally and cognitively, and socially, and literarily, and historically – using narratives (of many different kinds in stylistic, semantic, and syntactic terms). It is so obvious, and so natural, that one might say that discussing it is either a fool’s errand, or a kind of intellectual snake oil selling. Add to this that disciplines like continental philosophy and literary theory are panned as empty pseudo-intellectual waffle (certainly some if it is, but that is apparently true...

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Urban Planning Constructivism: The Constructivist State of the Art

– Bruce Long In an earlier article I discussed links between planning constructivism and positivism, and philosophical core concepts and disciplines like pragmatism. In another article I discussed the application of the language and concepts of the traditional philosophical disciplines of ontology (metaphysics) and epistemology to the field of information science – specifically the semantic Web, big data, and simulation theory – and the deployment of those tools by planners doing modeling for planning. In that article I mentioned that positivist and constructivist considerations were converging somewhat because of the reliance of both approaches on different kinds of large...

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Harmony in Constructed Social Spaces, and a Metropolitan Internet Cafe Denizen

– Bruce Long What does urban and city planning have to do with Foucault’s conception and discussion of the panopticon, Aristotelian virtue ethics, and Plato’s conception of harmony as conducive to the existence of a just city?Let’s start with the (philosophically expressed) end in mind: happiness (psychological and subjective). Following a hybrid constructivist and positivist conception of what makes for a psychologically and physically healthy living space, contemporary psychology (hopefully part of the 50% of it that is scientifically falsifiable) has identified a number of features that are critically important to psychological health in urban spaces: Greenspace: Trees and natural aesthetics...

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Social Epistemology and City Planning Philosophy

– Bruce Long In a previous article, we investigated the link between the traditional philosophical (core) disciplines of ontology (the study of what exists and how, which is nowadays largely subsumed under science and especially physics) and epistemology (the study of knowledge: what it is and how we get and possess it.) We found that – especially in the case of ontology – there is a very specific contemporary set of concepts and matching technologies in computer science that map to the philosophical discipline. In this article, I will focus more on the question of how epistemology relates to city planning...

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The Character of the City: Agency and Structure

– Bruce Long In the last article in our series, we discussed the character of the city. We asked what the character of a city could be considered to be, and we answered this in terms of primarily continental philosophy, but with interdisciplinary references to, and hybridisation with, analytic and Anglo-American discipline, and with more scientistic approaches to philosophical appraisals of living spaces and lived experience. We focused particularly on existentialism (over postmodernism) and we introduced the concept of reader response and reader reception theory in literary theoretic and information theoretic terms: the idea that lived experience and reception...

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Rousseau and the City

What impact did Rousseau’s version of the social contract have on planning theory in the 20th century? Compared with Hume and Lock, Rousseau had a view of the social contract as a contact between the people and the government. This is the form of the contract that the USA seems to have considered in the development of their constitution. But has it had an impact on Planning and design theory?

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Planning Themes Introduction

This article is the first in a series exploring themes derived from Randolph Hester and others for development of place/cities, an Australian Ecological Democracy framework. Viv Straw if a Fellow of the PIA and Tony Trobe is an Architect who writes for the Canberra Times. TT: Viv you have some radical ideas about the future of planning in Canberra and our cities, in general, would you like to explain them to us? VS: Tony, Globally four major trends characterise changes in urban typology. The first of these is urban resurgence which is a function of people moving back to cities. Cities are attractive, lively places to live and work, and centres of intellectual and creative capacity. The second is the High-tech, global economy which has been a driver of recent economic expansion and new opportunities in cities. The third is a recognition that there is a need to diversify land uses and build solid revenue basis, and the need to create livable urban centres. And the fourth is a trend towards an increased investment in mass transit or urban transit opportunities and to orient development toward urban transit rather than private commuting options. The convergence of these trends leads to the realisation that a substantial market exists for new forms of walkable, mixed-use urban development around a new light rail, rail or rapid bus interchanges. More than 100 American...

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