Hiatus, update

It’s been a while since I last posted anything. There is really no sole reason to blame for this hiatus – just a variety of things coming together. To make use of the diary aspect of blogging and to bridge the time until my focus returns, herewith some personal updates and thoughts just ahead of the holidays.


Zooming along the Den-en-toshi Line

Mainly for the Japan book project, I have continued to explore Tokyo’s history and architecture from over here in the US. For one, I recently bought a great book about Sakakura Associates, the architecture firm of Junzo Sakakura, one of Japan’s foremost modern architects. Sakakura worked under Le Corbusier in the master’s Paris atelier and cooperated with him on Tokyo’s Museum of Western Art.

Previously I looked at villas┬ádesigned by his company near Aoyama and Shibuya. The works of Sakakura (and his successors at the firm) are almost everywhere. His station designs for Shibuya and Shinjuku are probably among of the most “used” architecture on the globe.

The other topic I am delving deeper into is the Den-en-toshi Line, already covered on this blog here. I am now researching a potential chapter together with a Japanese academic. It sheds more light on the early days of the “Garden City” project that created living space for nearly 400,000 people along a 20-kilometer-long railroad corridor in Tokyo’s south west.

One of Metabolist Kikutake’s lesser-known projects – “Pear City” – was actually designed under commission from Tokyu. The railroad corporation was looking for grand designs for its Den-en-toshi Line. Kikutate’s thinking about networks and “channel development” is fascinating. Several built projects from the 1960s and 70s, all along the line, could bring this topic back to life.

In Germany, meanwhile, we now finally have a government after a few long weeks of political arm wrestling and grassroots democracy in the SPD. I had posted some thoughts about the ongoing “export debate” here and since started debating with a good friend of mine who does not entirely agree with me (to say the least). The exchange was fruitful and I plan to write about the topic again at some point in the future – especially looking at corporate taxation and investment rates.

My thinking on impact investing has grown a little broader since I discussed social impact bonds, making it difficult to engage in the off-hand commentary. The more I think about the topic, the more I am inclined to study more carefully income disparities, the role of the state going forward in providing social goods, and what have you.

I guess the lack of focus as of late has something to do with branching out a little into more philosophical terrain that I am not overly familiar with. And curating my Tumblr, of course.

Anyway, now it’s almost Christmas and this year, my parents are visiting us over here in New York. That will most probably result in another hiatus, this time not because of a lack of focus, but due to a complete focus on switching off and enjoying the holidays! I hope the same goes for you!

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