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Products of the Mind




Howard Blackson, Urban Designer, Placemaker, and Raconteur

Products of the Mind Episode 7: Howard Blackson, Urban Designer, Placemaker, and Raconteur

Welcome to Episode 7 of Products of the Mind. In this episode, I interview urban designer Howard Blackson. How does he create physical environments, and what are we not seeing when we look around our cities?

Howard Blackson

Howard Blackson is an urban designer; but since nobody seems to know what that is, he’s happy to educate us.

In this episode we get some interesting history on urban design, including the fascinating connection between the Weimar Republic (the predecessor to Germany’s Nazi regime) and Harvard’s Design School. We’ll discuss the human habitat, also known as the “built environment,” and Howard will give us insights on issues such as:

  • How do you start the design of a new city?
  • Where do you put the center of a town?
  • Is suburbia sustainable?
  • Can we replicate the 1950’s?

The discussion leads us to other quite interesting topics such as: utopianism; Frederick Law Olmsted’s plan for New York’s Central Park; design and economics (such as mixed-use buildings versus Walmart); and how homelessness, gentrification, and the housing crisis all relate to design.

Do you know what you’re looking at when you drive around your city? What are you looking at without actually seeing? How do cultural cues and values impact design? How can you be involved with creating a better built environment? This and so much more with Howard Blackson.

Learn more about Howard Blackson and his work here: http://howardblackson.com/

Stay up to date with Howard on Twitter: @hblackson

Check out the non-profit San Diego news organization Voice of San Diego, which is mentioned in this episode, here: http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/

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The Credits

As always, the music for this episode was provided by Le Chateau. The track name is “Bury You.” Go buy it on Soundcloud!

The illustration accompanying these show notes is by Whit Harris.

This episode and these show notes © 2015 David Lizerbram

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