The Photographs of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre
In downtown Detroit, the streets are lined with abandoned hotels and swimming pools, ruined movie houses and schools, all evidence of the motor city’s painful decline. The photographs of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre capture what remains of a once-great city – and hint at the wider story of post-industrial America.
[This is an eerie story by Sean O'Hagan of the Observer, Jan. 2, 2011 that is a commentary on a new photo-journalism book by Marchand and Meffre. What struck me was how it chronicled the lifecycle of a city in its death-throes. This describes a chronic despair that goes beyond what is still arising from the acute disaster that struck New Orleans - because Detroit's situation is like society has abandonned the city as if it were a chronically ill parent in a Dickensian old age institution. It is a stark reminder that the most fantastic investments in brick and mortar, do not a city make -- it is the breath of consciousness and culture that brings the marble and glass artefacts and art to life. Despite the dark shadow of this story, the last paragraph (copied below) offers a glimmer for future re-birth. For the full story click on "Detroit in Ruins" above.]
The Ruins of Detroit tells the city’s story so far in one starkly beautiful photograph after another, all of which add up to nothing less than an end-of-empire narrative. Or as Sugrue puts it: “The abandoned factories, the eerily vacant schools, the rotting houses, and gutted skyscrapers that Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre chronicle are the artefacts of Detroit’s astonishing rise as a global capital of capitalism and its even more extraordinary descent into ruin, a place where the boundaries between the American dream and the American nightmare, between prosperity and poverty, between the permanent and the ephemeral are powerfully and painfully visible. No place epitomizes the creative and destructive forces of modernity more than Detroit, past and present.”
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Posted in Inner, Level 4 Blue, Level 7 Yellow, Master Intelligence, Storytelling - Cultures, tagged children, education, meshwork, New Orleans, schools on May 9, 2009 |
Thanks to Amy Hartman and Don Beck for passing along a very clear message from a New Orleans Catholic School who has a whole system meshwork for educating kids.
Check it out here at Principal Moran’s of Archbisop Rummel HighSchool.
The fervour of the Principal’s message affirms the values of healthy Blue, while designing the school’s structures and culture from Yellow. He also talks about the Master Intelligence of how life conditions are created to : Take care of Self; Take care of Each Other; Take Care of This Place.
This is the kind of intelligence which enables an Integral City
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I just finished a final edit on the last Imagine Abbotsford Dialogue — to be reported in The Abbotsford News May 14, 2009.
This dialogue was on the Health and Community of Abbotsford. One Policy Maker from the Fraser Valley Health Authority remarked that the community gains greater health benefits by investing in kids than in any other demographic of the community. The payback is enormous — for every dollar invested in kids, the community saves four dollars in the future. That is an huge return on investment.
Where do the dollars invested in childhood development largely get spent? In the education system (not the health care system) — but the paybacks are in the whole community system.
David Brooks talks about the Harlem Miracle today, outlining the story of Geoffrey Canada in Harlem and his Promise Academy in the Harlem Children’s Zone. The results of Canada’s school performance have so impressed researchers using rigorous evaluation templates, that they have changed their minds about the intractability of Harlem’s school and social problems.
Brooks points out the fierce standards that Canada demands of his students and his teachers. And he makes no bones about the value of teaching his students middle class values that include mutual respect, impulse control, self-discipline and hard work. His black students have closed the black-white performance gap that exists in most of the other New York schools — proving that the gap is not impervious to change.
The comments following Brooks article reveal that Promise Academy admits students by lottery (not selection) so they are accepting all comers. Further, the charter school provides support for the kids before and after school AND addresses the competencies of their parents, by offering them parenting classes.
Sounds like two streams of research — one in healthcare and one in education — are proving that one of the most intelligent investments city’s can make is in their children. Not surprising!! The bees figures that out millions of generations ago.
btw, seems like Promise Academy has created a very integral solution that integrates structural, cultural, intentional and behavioral aspects to create life conditions for educating kids. Don Beck points out that it is an elegant meshwork approach!!
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