Community Plumbing

Let’s hear it for the neighborhood hardware store. It’s more than a common ground. It’s a place of exchange based on values in short supply elsewhere: competence, intention, utility, care, repair, and maintenance. In an era of black-boxed neural nets and disposable gadgets, the hardware store promotes a material consciousness and a mechanical sensibility. And it is a vital social infrastructure. Here, amidst the nuts and bolts, we cultivate the potential to order things, places, communities, politics, and values — we might even say, to build and repair worlds.

Let’s hear it for the neighborhood hardware store. Here, amidst the nuts and bolts, we cultivate the potential to order things, places, communities, politics, and values — we might even say, to build and repair worlds.

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  • Keith Eggener

Shannon Mattern

Shannon Mattern is a columnist for Places. She is a professor of media studies at The New School in New York City.

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Keith Eggener

Keith Eggener is a columnist for Places. He is Marion Dean Ross Professor of Architectural History at the University of Oregon.

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Gabrielle Esperdy

Gabrielle Esperdy is a columnist for Places. She is associate professor of architecture at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

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David Heymann

David Heymann is a columnist for Places. He is an architect, and the Harwell Hamilton Harris Regents Professor in Architecture at the University of Texas, Austin.

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