Google Ngram: Urban and Imaginary in American and British English

What is the relationship between urban and imaginary? This is a question defining my thinking right now. One way to consider this in relation to how people are writing about these concepts. Google Ngram makes it possible to look at the relationship between these words in the works scanned by Google Books. What is the relationship these graphs suggest?  It should not be a surprise that the word urban and imaginary seem to overlap in British and American English in the late 1960s is not a surprise. By the late 1960s, many people were imagining new visions for cities. The contour of this process was evident in planning, architecture, and literature. In all those academics and creative were writing about new forms and powerful transformations that were possible and needed.  The spike in the early 1900s and then in 1940s in British English also corresponds to bigger questions of transformation and destruction in the United Kingdom. Nothing is shocking, but perhaps this visualization is a to spark conversation.

American English, 1800-2000

British English, 1800-2000

Rethinking the City: Sports and the City

I'm one of the organizers for Rethinking the City (RTC). RTC is dedicated to building a dialogue within our community and with changemakers around the world about the forces that shape cities and how we can participate in positive change in our own city through arts, engagement, service, and enterprise. RTC hosts a monthly symposium and produces a radio program dedicated to promoting and understanding the contemporary dialogue around community change. The RTC Symposium is the last Tuesday of every month and features local, national and international changemakers sharing insights and actions. RTC radio airs every Monday afternoon at 4:00pm on WPRK radio 91.5FM in Orlando, Florida (streaming online). Finally, the RTC Facebook page ( offers resources and information for the community.  In March 2015, I curated a discussion focus on the impact of sport in the city.  Enjoy!!!

“I’m a sportsman.” - Lucky Luciano

What does Salvatore Lucania, Lucky to his friends (and enemies), have to do with our concerns this month? You see Lucky says something about the place of sport in the modern city. Sport, like Lucky is emblematic of the transformative narrative that defines the twentieth century. This mercurial nature is worth reflecting upon. Luciano called himself many things: salesman, sportsman, and chauffeur. These labels were for public consumption and help build an attractive public persona. Sport has been called an engine of growth, a tool to boost community identity, and a means to promote external recognition. Today, we label (rightly) Lucky a criminal. Sport too is defined as an inescapable part of the urban experience. History condemns Luciano, but contemporary discussion of sport continues to debate benefits and dangers. Who are the winners and who are the losers? Do sport stadiums help the community? Does the entire community benefit from sport teams? Does sport serve the interest of a few and victimize others? In the end, do the costs outweigh the benefits? Join us on March 31st at 6:30pm for a discussion featuring Dr. Rick Eckstein from Villanova University. Eckstein is an experienced observer of the complex issues surrounding the construction of publicly financed sports stadiums and the surrounding communities.