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The National Flower

“Our national flower is the concrete cloverleaf,” wrote Lewis Mumford in 1961. Driving per person continued to rise steadily for 43 years after that, and then it stopped. Automobile miles per capita have declined every year since 2004. Also, those concrete cloverleafs have become expensive maintenance problems. One could say the national flower has begun to wilt.

Quote source: Top 10 Reasons for a New American Dream - BetterCities.net

Images: the cloverleaf interchanges of Atlanta’s I-285

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Neon New York | Via

It was for photographs of New York, such as these taken for LIFE magazine, that Andreas Feininger (1906-1999) attained fame. A trained architect, Feininger turned to photography at age 30. In 1939, he emigrated from Europe to New York, where he made photography his career.

Just three decades earlier, a large-scale neon light was switched on in front of the public for the very first time when Georges Claude — aka “the Edison of France” — demonstrated his invention at the Paris Motor show in December 1910.

Claude’s company was creating huge amounts of neon as a waste product of its core business, liquefying air, and it was this supply of neon that kicked off the age of the neon sign. With his patents, Claude had a monopoly on neon sign production.

The neon signs might have been made purely for advertising. A variety of colors could be made to light tubes that were bent into any and every shape, including letters and numbers. In 1913, three years after the Motor Show a huge Cinzano sign was on display in Paris, and in 1923, Claude sold two neon signs to an LA car dealership — the first American neon signs. (They said “Packard.”)

Licensing smaller manufacturers to create neon signs in specific geographic territories, Claude’s neon sign company took a percentage of the entire business, valued at $16.9 million by 1931. A year later, his patent expired. By 1940, almost 2,000 small workshops were crafting neon signs in the U.S.

Underworld - light lines.

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In the night of 23 January 1904, the town of Ålesund, Norway, was destroyed in a violent fire. Only one person died, but more than 10,000 people were left without shelter.
After a period of planning, the town was rebuilt in stone, brick, and mortar in Jugendstil (Art Nouveau), the architectural style of the time. The structures were designed by approximately 20 master builders and 30 Norwegian architects, most of them educated in Trondheim and Berlin, drawing inspiration from all over Europe.
The town today has an unusually consistent architecture, most of the buildings having been built between 1904 and 1907. Jugendstilsenteret is a national interpretation centre, visitors can learn more about the town fire, the rebuilding of the town and the Art Nouveau style.

(From Wikipedia)
Photos by James Stringer