[Image of crowd at Saturday's concert at the Lincoln Memorial by flickr user tallrobert]
Much has has been made of the fact that President Barack Obama is the first big city president, a citizen who has spent a good deal of his life in urban areas. With all the world watching today's inauguration, we're a bit surprised, and pleased, to see the LA Times is taking a unique tack on covering the inauguration. The paper is putting its (Chapter 11) money where its mouth is and has sent architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne to Washington to file a series of dispatches this week. Hawthorne is focusing on the inauguration through the prism of urban policy, public spaces and infrastructure. Thus far, he's posted these clips of Obama on the campaign trail talking about architecture and urbanism, as well as this examination of public space: "Just when Rem Koolhaas, Mike Davis and other urban scholars had convinced a generation of planners, architects and critics that public initiative was gone for good in this country, and that only in shopping malls and virtual gathering spaces could the character of contemporary urban life be understood, the city -- the real city, made of pixels and servers, yes, but also of steel, glass and open space -- is back at the center of the political conversation, not to mention in the center of the inaugural spotlight." Looking forward to more from the Mall.
· Barack Obama and architecture: A pair of video clips [LA Times]
· Public space takes center stage at Obama inauguration [LA Times]