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October 7, 2011 Economics, Technology Comments (3) 1342

2011 – Steve Jobs dies and the world of Apple loyalists expresses their loss. Continue Reading

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Managing Change, or We Are Technology

September 3, 2011 Economics, History, Interpretation, Sustainability, Technology, Vision and Style Comments (3) 1239

Little Black Pearl, 47th & Greenwood, Chicago

Managing change is what the historic preservation/heritage conservation field does. It is not about preserving “the past” or old buildings but repurposing significant elements of the past environment for future use.

Modern historic preservation in the United States dates from the 1960s, and it came up in an era of “new history” that replaced the old political history (wars, leaders, battles, boundaries) with a history that tried to convey what was happening to most people in their social and economic everyday. In a sense, history – as an academic discipline – was catching up with the globalization that industrial capitalism had launched at the time of the American Revolution in the late 18th century. In the old history, agency – what makes things happen – was leaders and battles, etc. Agency in the new history had much broader social and economic dimensions. As my favorite Leeds musical group sang way back in 1979 “It’s Not Made By Great Men.” Continue Reading

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January 25, 2011 History, Technology, Vision and Style Comments (0) 989

This blog has occasionally taken issue with technology, especially when that technology seems designed not to facilitate a solution but simply to move product. But technology and desire, as Apple have shown us time and again, are fiercely interpenetrated, and often the hype of a technological advance like the iPod, iPhone or iPad is actually matched by category-creating performance. Suddenly we have a need we never had before.

Now the moralists and ideologists will fret that the new technology will transform us so much we will lose our moral or ideological compass, unless we can maintain control over the technology. That is the meme driving fantasies from H.G. Wells through the Terminator and the Matrix. If that idea makes you feel better, go ahead and have it. But it is wrong. Of course the technology changes us, it always has. Continue Reading

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