Food for urban thought

  • A really good article about Jonathan Gold in the New Yorker made me want to throw up when I read how much food he eats in a single day (can anybody tell me how much this guy weighs? my guess: 1,000 pounds). But it also made me think about how the layout of a city affects the food its restaurants serve: “Gold has observed that, unlike in New York, where immigrants quickly broaden and assimilate their cooking styles to reflect the city’s collective idea of ‘Chinese food,’ the insular nature of Los Angeles allows imported regional cuisines to remain intact, traceable almost to the restaurant owners’ villages of origin.  ‘The difference is that in New York they’re cooking for us,’ Gold told me.  ‘Here they’re cooking for themselves.'””
  • A final twist in the American story on eminent domain. Susette Kelo was a resident of New London. The New London Development Corporation wanted to buy all the houses in her neighborhood to build an “urban village” to revitalize the city. The state of Connecticut got Pfizer Pharmaceuticals to build a research unit in New London, luring them with the planned urban village and MASSIVE tax breaks. Kelo and her neighbors sued the city, in a landmark case that went all the way to the Supreme Court. The court ruled 5-4 that it was legal for the city to force homeowners to sell land to  private developers if it benefits the local economy. Now, Pfizer has announced it’s closing its facilities in New London, moving 1,400 jobs out of the city. Meanwhile, the urban village was never built. As one of my planner colleagues said, “it was  a stupid economic development strategy to begin with.”
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2 comments
  1. Bryant said:

    OMG! Kelo! I did learn something in grad school!

  2. nraman said:

    I hope you learned more than that! What about how to plan in the face of power? I do that EVERY single day.

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