Building the World

March 6, 2017
by buildingtheworld
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March!

St. Petersburg: price of admission to the new city was one large stone, by order of the tsar. Image: wikimedia commons.

March! It’s a month that begins with a command. In fact, some opine that the fourth day may be pronounced as an imperative. Many great achievements thus began: Cyrene was discovered and built in response to a command of the Oracle at Delphi; the Grand Canal was dug by orders of successive emperors. St. Petersburg was built in stone, by directive of Tsar Peter who set, as price of admission to the new city, one large stone. What commands your attention, and action, to march forth?

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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July 14, 2016
by buildingtheworld
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Antique Road Show: Paris bans Past to save Future

Deux Chevaux or 2CV. Cars made before 1987 banned in Paris to improve environment. Image: wikimedia commons.

Known for fine vintage fashion and cognac, for museums enshrining glories of centuries past, city of connoisseurs of aged fromage et vin, Paris will no longer welcome antique automobiles. July, month of the revolution, marked the change: no cars made before 1997 will be allowed on the boulevards on weekdays, between 8am – 8pm. Regulations will tighten soon: in 2020, cars built before 2010 will be restricted. In 2014, after smog veiled the Eiffel Tower, Paris banned half its autos on the road, alternating days by license plates, a practice followed in Mexico City and elsewhere. Effects were so dramatic that the city cancelled the plan after 24 hours after pollution cleared, perhaps in part responding to complaints of 3,859 drivers fined for driving on the wrong day. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York, co-chaired a meeting of mayors in parallel with COP21. The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, now brings together 7100 cities from 119 countries. Cities may be able to change policy faster than nations; St. Petersburg once demanded one stone as price of admission to the city. If cities can accelerate environmental improvement, ‘Banned in Boston’ could take on new meaning.

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

 

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December 30, 2014
by buildingtheworld
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Winter Innovation

 

Basketball. Image: wikimedia commons.

December is the birthday month of one of America’s most popular sports. Stormy New England winters confined college athletes in Springfield, Massachusetts, indoors. Using two peach baskets affixed to the railing of a balcony, Dr. James Naismith invented, and named, the game of basketball to keep athletes in shape throughout the winter of 1891. The game of hoops proved to be a rapid success. The first international match was played in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1909 (the American team lost); by 1936, basketball entered the Olympics (the American team won).

For more: www.hoophall.com.

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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April 2, 2014
by buildingtheworld
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45.3N x 34.4E: Power of Ports

The Crimea. Image courtesy of wikimedia.

Popular with the ancient Greeks, who called its main river Borysthenes, favored by the Romans, Bulgars, Goths and Huns, the Crimea offers port access on the northern border of the Black Sea, with the advantage of also being on the western shores of the Sea of Azov. In medieval times, the Crimean Khanate united the area, but later it became the Taurida Oblast in 1783, and still later the Soviet Crimean Oblast, transferred to Ukraine in 1954. Finally, in 1991, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea was born, only to be challenged in 2014. Why so many changes ? Advantageous port territory, milder winters, access to the Dnieper River (fourth largest in Europe). Today operating more than 12 seaports, the Crimea demonstrates the power of ports. The importance of waterways and ports can also be seen in the Canal des Deux Mers and the Erie Canal. Another famous port,  St. Petersburg, once the capital and Russia’s largest seaport, still carries the cultural imprint of its founder, Czar Peter the Great, in 1703. Can present day Crimea take inspiration from aspects of St. Petersburg’s success, including business monopolies? Perhaps in partial explanation of why the game’s greats are often Russian, St. Petersburg was once the only source of chessboards. What strategies for economic and cultural success should the Crimea envision for coordinates 45.3N by 34.4E?

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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March 19, 2013
by zoequinn001
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Rock Czar

St. Petersburg, from the Daily Mail, at dailymail.com

Historically, the price of admission to St. Petersburg was once a stone. When Czar (did you know that Czar is Russian for Caesar?) Peter the Great decided to build a new capital for Russia, he first used wood as the building material. But his goal was to fashion a city of lasting grandeur, and stone was preferred for endurance. Therefore, the Czar handed down two imperial decrees: first, he forbade building with stone anywhere in Russia except in St. Petersburg, so that all stonemasons had to come to the new city if they wished to work in their craft; second, he put out the whimsical but direct order that no one could enter the city unless the person brought a stone for admittance.

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Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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June 5, 2012
by zoequinn001
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Beards are so last season!

Peter the Great set a new style. He wanted Russians to look more European and not so “old fashioned.” The move of the capital to the western area of Russia emphasized connection with Europe. And so he taxed beards to dissuade men from wearing them. Many portraits of Peter shows him without beard, but sporting a fashionable mustache:

Czar Peter by William Faithorne II, from Library of Congress, at loc.gov.

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Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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