Building Inclusive and Livable Cities

Discovering the Power of Community in Unexpected Places

Aug 10, 2015
// By Blair A. Ruble
Blair and Sally at the National Rehab Hospital July 2015

Recently, I have been hearing a lot about supporting “community” as a way to address pressing urban challenges, such as rising crime, entrenched poverty, and substandard education systems.  The concept of “community” – especially those deemed to be “sustainable” and “resilient” – has come to be a currency of the realm in discussions about cities, development, and rebounding from disaster. Any understanding of “community” loses texture and vitality as it becomes a term of art spoken too often in policy debates without much thought. 

Where Does Baltimore Go From Here?

May 07, 2015

As calm begins to return to Baltimore many long standing issues remain. They were not resolved during decades of decline and they are not likely going to be resolved in the short term. We asked Blair Ruble, Vice President for Programs and Director, Urban Sustainability Laboratory at the Wilson Center how the community can begin to move forward.

Misty Copeland to Dance Swan Lake at DC’s Kennedy Center

Apr 06, 2015
// By Blair A. Ruble
Misty Copeland performs in 2005 in Century City, Calif--Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

History will be made at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater on the e

Theater and the Heart of a City: Moscow’s Teatr.doc’s Confrontation with Authority

Jan 07, 2015
// By Blair A. Ruble
Teatr.doc

On the evening of December 30, 2014 -- just as two dozen or so patrons were settling into their seats at a purposefully ramshackle basement theater in central Moscow to watch a film about the ongoing conflict in Ukraine -- police officials and a television crew entered the hall, declared a bomb threat, and asked everyone to evacuate.  Despite the declared urgency that a bomb might go off, the police checked and recorded the documents of everyone in the audience and requested that they wait in paddy wagons parked outside for their own protection.  When questioned about the wisdom of taking 4

“Beauty and the Beast:” A Tale of Entrepreneurship and Community

Dec 15, 2014
// By Blair A. Ruble

     Synetic Theater has another hit on its hands with its new production of Beauty and the Beast.  “It gives you goosebumps,” writes the website Broadway World; “A lush, almost feverish theatrical experience, impressive to see and satisfying,” gushes Talkin’ Broadway blog; “fresh and frightening,” declares the Washington City Paper; and “graphically clever” as well as “bewitchingly ideal conveyance,” notes the doyen of Washington critics Peter Marks in the Washington Post.  

Performance and Power from Kabuki to Go Go

Sep 29, 2014
// By Blair A. Ruble
Performance and Power from Kabuki to Go Go

Just eight years after establishing a powerful military regime that would last 26 decades, Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu became so disturbed by a troupe of itinerate actors that he expelled them from his Suruga military base.  The group performed in a popular new style known as “kabuki.” To critical observers such as Ieyasu and his coterie of military strong-men, kabuki dancing consisted of women of ill-repute showing themselves off to potential customers.  While an overly simplistic characterization, early kabuki performance seemed to many to be primarily about sell

The Sound of Music Is The Sound of Community Resilience

Jul 29, 2014
// By Blair A. Ruble

On a recent pleasant summer evening, my wife and I found ourselves at Washington’s Southwest Waterfront listening to a free sunset concert by one of the fabulous jazz divas of our times, Washington’s Sharón Clark.  Sharón, who packs important clubs from Broadway to Irkutsk and is frequently compared by critics to Sarah Vaughn, was performing before people who know and appreciate what a special singer she is.

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