Famous Urban Quotes

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At first I stayed in a hotel – the Inn On The Park, the location for the famous story about me ringing the Rocket office and demanding they do something about the wind outside that was keeping me awake. This is obviously the ideal moment to state once and for all that this story is a complete urban myth, that I was never crazy enough to ask my record company to do something about the weather; that I was simply disturbed by the wind and wanted to change rooms to somewhere quieter. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you that, because the story is completely true.
Elton John (Me)
What the famous big blue Boy Scout told to a green Kryptonite? What?? YOU rock!
In 1995 Bank of America issued a famous report on sprawl in California. The bank pronounced: 'Urban job centers have decentralized to the suburbs. New housing tracts have moved even deeper into agriculturally and environmentally sensitive areas. Private auto use continues to rise. This acceleration of sprawl has surfaced enormous social, environmental, and economic costs, which until now have been hidden, ignored, or quietly borne by society.
Dolores Hayden (Building Suburbia: Green Fields and Urban Growth, 1820-2000)
I am no ecological Pollyana. I have borne, and will continue to bear, feelings of wholehearted melancholy over the ecological state of the earth. How could I not? How could anyone not? But I am unwilling to become a hand-wringing nihilist, as some environmental 'realists' seem to believe is the more mature posture. Instead, I choose to dwell, as Emily Dickinson famously suggested, in possibility, where we cannot predict what will happen but we make space for it, whatever it is, and realize that our participation has value. This is grown-up optimism, where our bondedness with the rest of creation, a sense of profound interaction, and a belief in our shared ingenuity give meaning to our lives and actions on behalf of the more-than-human world.
Lyanda Lynn Haupt (Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness)
When Rin Tin Tin first became famous, most dogs in the world would not sit down when asked. Dogs performed duties: they herded sheep, they barked at strangers, they did what dogs do naturally, and people learned to interpret and make use of how they behaved. The idea of a dog's being obedient for the sake of good manners was unheard of. When dogs lived outside, as they usually did on farms and ranches, the etiquette required of them was minimal. But by the 1930s, Americans were leaving farms and moving into urban and suburban areas, bringing dogs along as pets and sharing living quarters with them. At the time, the principles of behavior were still mostly a mystery -- Ivan Pavlov's explication of conditional reflexes, on which much training is based, wasn't even published in an English translation until 1927. If dogs needed to be taught how to behave, people had to be trained to train their dogs. The idea that an ordinary person -- not a dog professional -- could train his own pet was a new idea, which is partly why Rin Tin Tin's performances in movies and onstage were looked upon as extraordinary.
Susan Orlean (Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend)
the fact is, our relationships to these corporations are not unambiguous. some memebers of negativland genuinely liked pepsi products. mca grew up loving star wars and didn't mind having his work sent all over the united states to all the "cool, underground magazines" they were marketing to--why would he? sam gould had a spiritual moment in the shower listening to a cd created, according to sophie wong, so that he would talk about tylenol with his independent artist friends--and he did. many of my friends' daughters will be getting american girl dolls and books as gifts well into the foreseeable future. some skateboarders in washington, dc, were asked to create an ad campaign for the east coast summer tour, and they all love minor threat--why not use its famous album cover? how about shilling for converse? i would have been happy to ten years ago. so what's really changed? the answer is that two important things have changed: who is ultimately accountable for veiled corporate campaigns that occasionally strive to obsfucate their sponsorship and who is requesting our participation in such campaigns. behind converse and nike sb is nike, a company that uses shit-poor labor policies and predatory marketing that effectively glosses over their shit-poor labor policies, even to an audience that used to know better. behind team ouch! was an underground-savvy brainreservist on the payroll of big pharma; behind the recent wave of street art in hip urban areas near you was omd worldwide on behalf of sony; behind your cool hand-stenciled vader shirt was lucasfilm; and behind a recent cool crafting event was toyota. no matter how you participated in these events, whether as a contributor, cultural producer, viewer, or even critic, these are the companies that profited from your attention.
Anne Elizabeth Moore (Unmarketable: Brandalism, Copyfighting, Mocketing, and the Erosion of Integrity)
As Rodney Stark puts it, “Almost generation after generation, Christian writers recorded acts of persecution and harassment, to the point of slaughter and destruction, suffered at the hands of Muslim [Arab, Persian, and Turkish] rulers.”9 That said, the persecution and carnage had reached apocalyptic levels by the 1090s. THE CALL FROM CLERMONT It was in this context that, on November 27, 1095, Pope Urban II (r. 1088–1099) made his famous appeal to the knights of Christendom.
Raymond Ibrahim (Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West)
By the late nineteenth century, as British cities teemed with new inhabitants, crime rates rose and more established residents came to be afflicted with a new, urban, and distinctly modern anxiety. For the middle and upper classes, it centered acutely on the protection of property, coalescing in particular around city dwellers who were not members of the bourgeoisie. These included the working class, the poor, new immigrants, and Jews, all of whom were viewed increasingly as agents of social contagion - a threat in urgent need of containment.
Margalit Fox (Conan Doyle for the Defense: The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and the World's Most Famous Detective Writer)
The demographic ageing of Europe and other leading industrial countries is multiplied by the economic burden of immigration. For the time being, we can still hold out, but this will not last. The lack of active workers, the burden of retirees and the expenses of healthcare will end, from 2005-2010, with burdening European economies with debt. Gains in productivity and technological advances (the famous ‘primitive accumulation of fixed capital’, the economists’ magic cure) will never be able to match the external demographic costs. Lastly, far from compensating for the losses of the working-age native-born population, the colonising immigration Europe is experiencing involves first of all welfare recipients and unskilled workers. In addition, this immigration represents a growing expense (insecurity, the criminal economy, urban policies, etc.). An economic collapse of Europe, the world’s leading commercial power, would drag down with it the United States and the entire Western economy.
Guillaume Faye (Convergence of Catastrophes)
decided to move to London while the house was being emptied. At first I stayed in a hotel – the Inn On The Park, the location for the famous story about me ringing the Rocket office and demanding they do something about the wind outside that was keeping me awake. This is obviously the ideal moment to state once and for all that this story is a complete urban myth, that I was never crazy enough to ask my record company to do something about the weather; that I was simply disturbed by the wind and wanted to change rooms to somewhere quieter. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you that, because the story is completely true. I absolutely was crazy and deluded enough to ring the international manager of Rocket, Robert Key, and ask him to do something about the wind outside my hotel room. I certainly didn’t want to change rooms. It was 11 a.m., I’d been up all night and there were drugs everywhere: the last thing I needed was the hotel staff bustling in to help me move to a different floor. I angrily outlined the situation to Robert. To his lasting credit, he gave my request very short shrift. On the other end of the phone, I heard the muffled sound of Robert, with his hand over the receiver, telling the rest of the office, ‘Oh God, she’s finally lost it.’ Then he spoke to me again. ‘Elton, are you fucking insane? Now get off the phone and go back to bed.
Elton John (Me)
To move in and take over cities, squirrels needed an ally to reshape their landscapes. They found that ally in Frederick Law Olmsted. Olmsted introduced the idea that cities should contain large tracts of idealized wilderness (his most famous design was New York’s Central Park). It was ideal for reading poetry in the shade or wandering with a friend, but mostly, it was ideal for being a squirrel.
Nathanael Johnson (Unseen City: The Majesty of Pigeons, the Discreet Charm of Snails & Other Wonders of the Urban Wilderness)
Perhaps the most significant of these are two related aspects characteristic of Japanese urbanisation: the intense intermixture of differing land uses, and the extensive areas of unplanned, haphazard urban development. Mixed land use is so prevalent in Japanese cities that it may be hard to believe the government Figure 0.1 The “busy place” (sakariba) of Ueno is one Japan’s most enduring central city entertainment and shopping districts, and was already famous in the Tokugawa period for its theatres and nightlife.
André Sorensen (The Making of Urban Japan: Cities and Planning from Edo to the Twenty First Century (Nissan Institute/Routledge Japanese Studies))
Another famous town planning concept, the Finger Plan for Copenhagen, was based on a metaphor sand shown by a diagram, of a great hand resting over that city. Since 1947, the great hand has guided Copenhagen’s development. The merchant’s harbour, after which the city was named, sits in the palm of the guiding hand. Fingers point ways to new development. Power lines, telecom lines, and rapid transit lines follow the bones, arteries, veins and nerves of the fingers. Between those fingers we find the green lands of Denmark. Copenhagen was made into a garden city but the hand itself, of urban development, was grey.
Tom Turner (City as Landscape: A Post Post-Modern View of Design and Planning)
High overhead, in the reflected glare of arc lamps, one of the unfinished Fuller domes shut out two thirds of the salmon-pink evening sky, its ragged edge like broken gray honeycomb. The Sprawl’s patchwork of domes tended to generate inadvertent microclimates; there were areas of a few city blocks where a fine drizzle of condensation fell continually from the soot-stained geodesics, and sections of high dome famous for displays of static-discharge, a peculiarly urban variety of lightning.
William Gibson (Count Zero (Sprawl, #2))
The Historical Setting of Genesis Mesopotamia: Sumer Through Old Babylonia Sumerians. It is not possible at this time to put Ge 1–11 into a specific place in the historical record. Our history of the ancient Near East begins in earnest after writing has been invented, and the earliest civilization known to us in the historical record is that of the Sumerians. This culture dominated southern Mesopotamia for over 500 years during the first half of the third millennium BC (2900–2350 BC), known as the Early Dynastic Period. The Sumerians have become known through the excavation of several of their principal cities, which include Eridu, Uruk and Ur. The Sumerians are credited with many of the important developments in civilization, including the foundations of mathematics, astronomy, law and medicine. Urbanization is also first witnessed among the Sumerians. By the time of Abraham, the Sumerians no longer dominate the ancient Near East politically, but their culture continues to influence the region. Other cultures replace them in the political arena but benefit from the advances they made. Dynasty of Akkad. In the middle of the twenty-fourth century BC, the Sumerian culture was overrun by the formation of an empire under the kingship of Sargon I, who established his capital at Akkad. He ruled all of southern Mesopotamia and ranged eastward into Elam and northwest to the Mediterranean on campaigns of a military and economic nature. The empire lasted for almost 150 years before being apparently overthrown by the Gutians (a barbaric people from the Zagros Mountains east of the Tigris), though other factors, including internal dissent, may have contributed to the downfall. Ur III. Of the next century little is known as more than 20 Gutian kings succeeded one another. Just before 2100 BC, the city of Ur took control of southern Mesopotamia under the kingship of Ur-Nammu, and for the next century there was a Sumerian renaissance in what has been called the Ur III period. It is difficult to ascertain the limits of territorial control of the Ur III kings, though the territory does not seem to have been as extensive as that of the dynasty of Akkad. Under Ur-Nammu’s son Shulgi, the region enjoyed almost a half century of peace. Decline and fall came late in the twenty-first century BC through the infiltration of the Amorites and the increased aggression of the Elamites to the east. The Elamites finally overthrew the city. It is against this backdrop of history that the OT patriarchs emerge. Some have pictured Abraham as leaving the sophisticated Ur that was the center of the powerful Ur III period to settle in the unknown wilderness of Canaan, but that involves both chronological and geographic speculation. By the highest chronology (i.e., the earliest dates attributed to him), Abraham probably would have traveled from Ur to Harran during the reign of Ur-Nammu, but many scholars are inclined to place Abraham in the later Isin-Larsa period or even the Old Babylonian period. From a geographic standpoint it is difficult to be sure that the Ur mentioned in the Bible is the famous city in southern Mesopotamia (see note on 11:28). All this makes it impossible to give a precise background of Abraham. The Ur III period ended in southern Mesopotamia as the last king of Ur, Ibbi-Sin, lost the support of one city after another and was finally overthrown by the Elamites, who lived just east of the Tigris. In the ensuing two centuries (c. 2000–1800 BC), power was again returned to city-states that controlled more local areas. Isin, Larsa, Eshnunna, Lagash, Mari, Assur and Babylon all served as major political centers.
Anonymous (NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible: Bringing to Life the Ancient World of Scripture)
cost and technical difficulty are not the primary reason so many modern cities have been unable to provide water to their inhabitants. Again and again, the biggest obstacle has been what social scientists call governmentality and what everybody else calls corruption, inefficiency, incompetence, and indifference. French cities lose a fifth of their water supply to leaks; Pennsylvania’s cities lose almost a quarter; cities in KwaZulu-Natal, the South African province, lose more than a third. So much of India’s urban water supply is contaminated that the lost productivity from the resultant disease costs fully 5 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. More than thirty North American cities improperly test for lead in their water, including, famously, Flint, Michigan, where bungling local, state, and federal officials have forced residents to drink bottled water for years.
Charles C. Mann (The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow's World)
book The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction as a jumping off point, he takes care to unpack the various cultural mandates  that have infected the way we think and feel about distraction. I found his ruminations not only enlightening but surprisingly emancipating: There are two big theories about why [distraction is] on the rise. The first is material: it holds that our urbanized, high-tech society is designed to distract us… The second big theory is spiritual—it’s that we’re distracted because our souls are troubled. The comedian Louis C.K. may be the most famous contemporary exponent of this way of thinking. A few years ago, on “Late Night” with Conan O’Brien, he argued that people are addicted to their phones because “they don’t want to be alone for a second because it’s so hard.” (David Foster Wallace also saw distraction this way.) The spiritual theory is even older than the material one: in 1887, Nietzsche wrote that “haste is universal because everyone is in flight from himself”; in the seventeenth century, Pascal said that “all men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.”… Crawford argues that our increased distractibility is the result of technological changes that, in turn, have their roots in our civilization’s spiritual commitments. Ever since the Enlightenment, he writes, Western societies have been obsessed with autonomy, and in the past few hundred years we have put autonomy at the center of our lives, economically, politically, and technologically; often, when we think about what it means to be happy, we think of freedom from our circumstances. Unfortunately, we’ve taken things too far: we’re now addicted to liberation, and we regard any situation—a movie, a conversation, a one-block walk down a city street—as a kind of prison. Distraction is a way of asserting control; it’s autonomy run amok. Technologies of escape, like the smartphone, tap into our habits of secession. The way we talk about distraction has always been a little self-serving—we say, in the passive voice, that we’re “distracted by” the Internet or our cats, and this makes us seem like the victims of our own decisions. But Crawford shows that this way of talking mischaracterizes the whole phenomenon. It’s not just that we choose our own distractions; it’s that the pleasure we get from being distracted is the pleasure of taking action and being free. There’s a glee that comes from making choices, a contentment that settles after we’ve asserted our autonomy. When
The survey revealed, in areas quite close to known and even famous and well-visited Mayan sites such as Tikal, more than 60,000 previously unsuspected ancient houses, palaces, defensive walls, fortresses, and other structures as well as quarries, elevated highways connecting urban centers, and complex irrigation and terracing systems that would have been capable of supporting intensive agriculture. Previously scholars had believed that only scattered city-states had existed in an otherwise sparsely populated region, but the Lidar images make it clear, [...] that 'scale and population density had been grossly underestimated.
Graham Hancock (America Before: The Key to Earth's Lost Civilization)
Berlin wrote songs for a number of Astaire films of the period: Top Hat, Follow the Fleet, On the Avenue, Carefree. The two men became close personal friends for the rest of their lives. But the choice of Astaire as a Hollywood leading man is, at first glance, puzzling. Certainly, he was an extraordinary dancer, and songwriters appreciated his accuracy and clarity when singing their songs, even if his voice was reedy and thin. But a leading man? Essentially, Astaire epitomized what Berlin and other Jews strove to achieve. He was debonair, polished, sophisticated. His screen persona was that of a raffish, outspoken fellow, not obviously attractive, whose audacity and romanticism and wit in the end won out. It didn’t hurt that he could dance. But even his dance—so smooth and elegant—was done mostly to jazz. Unlike a Gene Kelly, who was athletic, handsome, and sexy, Astaire got by on style. Kelly was American whereas Astaire was continental. In short, Astaire was someone the immigrant might himself become. It was almost like Astaire was himself Jewish beneath the relaxed urbanity. In a film like Top Hat he is audacious, rude, clever, funny, and articulate, relying mostly on good intentions and charm to win over the girl—and the audience. He is the antithesis of a Clark Gable or a Gary Cooper; Astaire is all clever and chatty, balding, small, and thin. No rugged individualist he. And yet his romantic nature and persistence win all. Astaire only got on his knees to execute a dazzling dance move, never as an act of submission. His characters were largely wealthy, self-assured, and worldly. He danced with sophistication and class. In his famous pairings with Ginger Rogers, the primary dance numbers had the couple dressed to the nines, swirling on equally polished floors to the strains of deeply moving romantic ballads.
Stuart J. Hecht (Transposing Broadway (Palgrave Studies in Theatre and Performance History))
In October 1967 Richard Nixon published a now-famous article in Reader’s Digest titled “What Has Happened to America?” The article, which was actually written by Pat Buchanan, wrapped up all the nation’s turmoil in one package: Liberal permissiveness, Nixon/Buchanan claimed, was the root of all evil.3 “Just three years ago,” the article began, “this nation seemed to be completing its greatest decade of racial progress.” But now the nation was “among the most lawless and violent in the history of free peoples.” Urban riots were “the most virulent symptoms to date of another, and in some ways graver, national disorder—the decline in respect for public authority and the rule of law in America.” And it was all the fault of the liberals.
Paul Krugman (The Conscience of a Liberal)
You’ve probably heard the stories about lottery winners losing it all. They’re not urban legends; they really happen. The depths people fall to after big lottery winnings are heartbreaking and mindboggling. And it isn’t only lottery winners. You’ve also heard the stories about famous movie stars, recording stars, or star athletes who make incredible fortunes, literally hundreds of millions of dollars, and somehow manage to wind up broke and in debt. And when you heard those stories, you probably thought the same thing I did: “Man, I don’t know how they pulled that off, but if I made that kind of money I sure wouldn’t squander it all like that!” But let me ask you a tough question: are you sure about that? Speaking as one who’s made it to the top and then seen it all evaporate, all I can say is, you might be surprised. There’s a reason those lottery winners lose it all again, a reason those shining stars plummet to those dark places: they may have had the big breaks, but they didn’t grasp the slight edge. Their winnings changed their bank account balance—but it didn’t change their philosophy. The purpose of this book is to show you the slight edge philosophy, show you how it works, give you plenty of examples, and show you exactly how to make it a core part of how you see the world and how you live your life every day. Throughout this book, if you look carefully you’ll find dozens of statements that embody this philosophy, statements like “Do the thing, and you shall have the power.” Here are a few more examples that you’ll come across in the following pages: Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do.
Jeff Olson (The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness)
Doing so showed that there was another variable that was a strong predictor of a person’s securing an entry in Wikipedia: the proportion of immigrants in your county of birth. The greater the percentage of foreign-born residents in an area, the higher the proportion of children born there who go on to notable success. (Take that, Donald Trump!) If two places have similar urban and college populations, the one with more immigrants will produce more prominent Americans. What explains this? A lot of it seems to be directly attributable to the children of immigrants. I did an exhaustive search of the biographies of the hundred most famous white baby boomers, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Pantheon project, which is also working with Wikipedia data. Most of these were entertainers. At least thirteen had foreign-born mothers, including Oliver Stone, Sandra Bullock, and Julianne Moore. This rate is more than three times higher than the national average during this period. (Many had fathers who were immigrants, including Steve Jobs and John Belushi, but this data was more difficult to compare to national averages, since information on fathers is not always included on birth certificates.)
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz (Everybody Lies: What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are)
The lack of affordable housing regulation allows rents to rise with little restriction, and Oregon law prohibits local governments from enacting almost all rent-control policies outside of special subsidized units. But regulation, like Portland’s famous urban growth boundary, has also enhanced the number of multi-unit buildings being constructed inside a limited zone to avoid suburban-like sprawl. Although Portland’s rental rates are not skyrocketing at the speed of San Francisco or even Seattle, the U.S. Census ranks Portland as having one of the tightest markets in the nation. Despite tax-abatement programs for luxury neighbors like the Pearl District and the South Waterfront supposedly tied to affordable-housing units, the city Housing Bureau says they won’t even meet 2003 goals, much less expand and continue programs. Meanwhile, the average condo price rose 41 percent last year and the average apartment rental has climbed at a steady pace of six percent in 2012 and again in 2013.
Carol built her cabin in the wilderness for many of the same reasons as Thoreau, who went to the woods “to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could learn what it had to teach, and not, when I come to die, discover that I had not lived.” Like Thoreau, Carol was a student of nature and a geographical extension of the wilderness that surrounded her. Both explored a life stripped down to its essentials. They wanted “to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.” Thoreau believed wilderness provided a necessary counterbalance to the materialism and urbanization of industrialized America. It was a place of self-renewal and contact with the raw material of life. “In wildness is the preservation of the world,” he famously wrote. Thoreau was among the first to advocate for protecting America’s vanishing wildlands, proposing that the nation formally preserve “a certain sample of wild nature . . . a network of national preserves in which the bear and the panther may still exist and not be civilized off the face of the earth.” Wilderness preserves could provide a perpetual frontier to keep overindustrialized Americans in contact with the primitive honesty of the woods. In 1872—the same year that Tom and Andy founded Carnegie Steel—America designated its first national park: over two million acres in northwest Wyoming were set aside as Yellowstone National Park. A second national park soon followed, thanks to the inspiration of Sierra Club founder John Muir. He so loved the Sierra that he proposed a fifteen-hundred-square-mile park around Yosemite Valley and spent decades fighting for it. When Yosemite National Park was finally signed into law in 1890, Muir
Will Harlan (Untamed: The Wildest Woman in America and the Fight for Cumberland Island)