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Thread: Counterculture and Urbanism

  1. #1
    Cyburbian The Terminator's avatar
    May 2006

    Counterculture and Urbanism

    Lets talk about the effect of alternative lifestyles on public space!

    Urban Spaces had a profound influence on me as a young punk and contributed to my going into the Planning profession. If it wasn't for those early experiences in Tompkins Square, the Lower East Side, Bushwick and Philly in marginal and mainstream spaces, I dont know if I would be who I am today.



    What counter-cultural influences do you have in your city/municipality/region?

  2. #2
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
    Jun 2003
    at the neighboring pub
    Not city-specific, but I have noticed that individuals that were/are part of counterculture (particularly punk) seem disproportionately represented at a higher level in the planning profession compared to other professions. No real deep commentary from me, although I have theories about it. I just think it is interesting.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  3. #3
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
    Feb 2004
    on my 15 minute break
    My take: the punk movement would never have occurred but for two things/phenomenon: nuclear weapons and urban decay. There are many subgenres and offshoots of punk, but one central tenet shared by all is a sense of nihilism (no future no future......) brought on by the idea that everyone living in a city could be vaporized with little or no warning tomorrow. Also important is the notion that governments not only allow but actively promote policies that ensure there will always be an 'underclass' living on the proverbial fringes in urban areas. Punk is a musical art form of the dejected and rejected. Gangsta rap later moves in to subsume this role.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  4. #4
    Punk is about nihilism and coping with events that seem out of your control. It's a middle finger with a snarl. Maister is right about nuclear war and urban decay of the 70's that served as the roots for punk. I would add that economic turmoil and limited job prospects fuel it as well. Not sure if rap is the heir to the punk movement or not. But then again, my experience with rap is limited.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
    Feb 2004
    Chicago, IL
    Up until the last year the Dunkin Donuts at Clark and Belmont in Chicago was known as Punkin Donuts, since it was a hang out for the punk scene. Although I'm sure how much of a punk scene there was there toward the end.


  6. #6
    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
    May 2002
    Between here and there
    After high school, I spent a lot of time during my college years in downtown Flint. The local punk scene was pretty big at the time. It being an alternative scene attracted lovely, gorgeous women that dyed their hair jet black, wore chunky heels, and attired themselves in black dresses and tights.

    I later found out that these women were called goths. That planted the first seed of what affects me today. As I type this in my office, I'm wearing a black hoodie, black combat boots, and four rings on my finger to go with my ear studs. It's as far as I'm willing to go in a professional environment and they go great with my black pants and dress shirt.

    By the way, my son is now 13 and throwing himself into punk music. It's been a lot of fun playing some old stuff for him.

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