During TEDx Zwolle I gave a lecture about water in the city around the world. The sea and the rivers have shaped the identity and the country itself. Climate change increases the risk of flooding and drought. The effects of a disaster in a densely populated country like The Netherlands are incalculable. Climate change is now forcing itself upon us: a new reality that cannot be ignored. Read the article…
For my monthly live talkshow in Amsterdam, Stadsleven (‘City Life’ ) I interviewed internet critic Evgeny Morosov, prolific essayist and author of ‘To Save Everything, Click Here’ (translated in Dutch by publisher De Wereld as ‘Om de wereld te redden, klik hier’). The theme this month (May 2014) is ‘Slow City’, about how to reconquer calm and focus in hectic urban life, and I talked to Morosov about the virtues of boredom and the onslaught on our time and attention by addictive social media. Morosov admits that he is vulnerable too: he sometimes locks away his router cable and smartphone so as to have a chance to be creatively bored.
For my live monthly talkshow Stadsleven (‘City Life’) the theme in April 2014 was ‘Big Data: What does the city know about me?’. One of my guests, via Skype and video, was the Columbia sociologist Saskia Sassen, well-known for her research on globalization and migration. “Much of the design of smart cities generates a city that is not smart enough,” she says. “Actually they are pretty stupid.” Too much standardized technology leads to a loss of local knowledge, says Sassen. “Ultimately you need openness.”
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, PBS – the American Public Broadcasting System – came to the Netherlands to learn about the Dutch approach to water. How should the New York region protect itself from the next Sandy? I was one of the people interviewed, and talked about the Dutch attitude to water as a ‘frenemy’. Watch the entire documentary here.
Paris is still very much the center of the French universe, but a country as proud of its culture as France is feels duty-bound to invest in making that patrimoine accessible. In recent years the French government has spent serious money on two new cultural satellites in the disadvantaged north, the Centre Pompidou in Metz and the Louvre in the former mining town of Lens.Meanwhile the spectacular new building for the Louvre in Abu Dhabi, designed by Jean Nouvel, is expected to open in 2015. Read my article for the LOEBlog of Harvard’s Loeb Fellowship.