While reading an article about the way cheap parking encourages driving, “Low parking costs may encourage automobile use,” I saw this quote; I think it nails the relationship between sprawl development and limited transportation options:
Danish Architect/Planner Jan Gehl and Janette Sadik-Khan of the NY DOT recently prepared a report for New York City called “World Class Streets” (PDF here). It suggests that “a vastly disproportionate amount of space is allocated to parking cars than to public seating spaces.”
every now and then we receive mindblowing contents about concepts and newest inventions. This time we received a link to a sunshade from Wouter a former student from us. Hey what a cool concept, but its a rendering and the time the louvers start flipping outwards raised directly questions we have to ask every day in our studio…what about wind loads, what about the forces on the axles and do you really think you are able to control each of the flaps individually…
Never the less a great looking proposal, still questionable but maybe some time we are able to build it in reality …
A new study sponsored by Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.
Noting that warnings of ‘collapse’ are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that “the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history.” Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to “precipitous collapse - often lasting centuries - have been quite common.”
The research project is based on a new cross-disciplinary ‘Human And Nature DYnamical’ (HANDY) model, led by applied mathematician Safa Motesharri of the US National Science Foundation-supported National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, in association with a team of natural and social scientists. The study based on the HANDY model has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed Elsevier journal, Ecological Economics.
It finds that according to the historical record even advanced, complex civilisations are susceptible to collapse, raising questions about the sustainability of modern civilisation:
"The fall of the Roman Empire, and the equally (if not more) advanced Han, Mauryan, and Gupta Empires, as well as so many advanced Mesopotamian Empires, are all testimony to the fact that advanced, sophisticated, complex, and creative civilizations can be both fragile and impermanent."
By investigating the human-nature dynamics of these past cases of collapse, the project identifies the most salient interrelated factors which explain civilisational decline
“Local governments are learning that it is not sustainable to have our population and development patterns too geographically spread out. Existing and new taxpayers are burdened by the costs of extending and maintaining extra miles of roads, utility lines, pipes, pump stations, and general urban services are are necessary to serve low-density development patterns on the urban edge.”—Spokane Mayor David Condon (via sprawlnation)
While low-tech solutions should be the low-hanging fruit and high-touch components of urban design, we still need high-tech ideas to resolve the issues of the 21st century. The old roads of our past do not always lead us to new paths.
High tech green is not green at all. The low tech green will win out. It’s back to the future with bikes and walking not hover cars running off of “Mr Fusion” compost recycling. Now we must admit our dreams and fantasies of the future were just that nothing more and certainly not plans. And engage in planning and building so as to make walking and bicycling an enjoyable experience, as enjoyable as say …driving a flying car.
One of our colleagues Koen Mulder is busy with research about masonry patterns, he was already supported by a national subsidies, now he would like to finish his work with an interesting book about this topic. To make this possible, Koen is asking for a crowd funding - order the book today, get in in 2015
We have to mention that the book will be in dutch first, but who knows an english version may follow.
With cities seeking to involve diverse voices in city-making to get beyond “the usual suspects,” Vancouver urbanists Brent Toderian and Jillian Glover examine how cities in their region are finding new ways to increase civic participation.
As more people choose to live in cities, local governments find themselves facing increasingly complex issues in city-making. Demands for affordable housing and public transit, tensions around gentrification and density, even connecting the dots between city planning and climate change, are just some of the more high-profile critical conversations our cities need. Solutions can come from many places, but smart cities realize that engaging the broad public in the city-making process leads to better answers and a deeper public ownership of our future.
Faced with this knowledge, cities are struggling to develop new and innovative community engagement methods, including those that embrace new technologies, social media, and collaborative design methods, to better bring the public into conversations on the future of city life. Let’s face it—not all of our engagement in recent decades has been very engaging!
This article’s authors have looked across Metro Vancouver (a region known internationally for its public consultation) for recent best practices and lessons in better community engagement. While some new methods are bringing key services online, others are as simple as changing the location of council meetings or getting people walking and talking in their neighbourhoods. All of these lessons involve moving beyond traditional consultation practices that cities have relied on for decades.
Although lessons can come in many forms, and these don’t necessarily represent the “best,” here are ten lessons from Metro Vancouver that we found particularly worth sharing.
For my individual project at Transsolar Academy I’d like to generate a low-tech, high-impact building skin typology, by studying climate, material properties, form, angle, orientation, design innovation etc., that can be used for both residential and commercial buildings to optimize thermal and visual comfort.
An architect plays a very important role is people’s lives. He/she can make or break lifestyles. I feel that architecture in Bangladesh is now at a crossroads. It is moving either downhill from here or towards augmenting the quality of life and upholding our culture with the built environment.
“The human race used to maintain a balance with nature. But for the last two centuries, emphasis has switched to an expansion of area and infrastructure, leaving behind the standards of human existence, our natural behaviour and basic living values.”—Jepranshu Aganivanshi on creating cities that are balanced with nature. (via thisbigcity)
“I fear we are witnessing the “death of expertise”: a Google-fueled, Wikipedia-based, blog-sodden collapse of any division between professionals and laymen, students and teachers, knowers and wonderers – in other words, between those of any achievement in an area and those with none at all.”—
'Expertise' as used here almost always requires the acceptance and approval of the Powers That Be - automatically excluding anyone who has knowledge that comes from experience (look, ‘expert’ and ‘experience’ have the same root for a reason), who can’t afford/has no access to traditional institutions through which ‘expertise’ is conferred, whose expertise conflicts with the agenda of those Powers, etc., etc.
The glory of Google and Wikipedia and everything like them is their ability to democratize knowledge. Furthermore, that is precisely what teachers want: to help people learn stuff, whether they normally would or not, whether it’s taught in schools or has been thrown aside for three months of test prep, whether it’s the area someone specializes in or is simply curious about… There’s no reason whatsoever that knowledge has to come from a ‘professional’ rather than some other source; that doesn’t make the knowledge any less potent, or any less true.
There is no division between “students and teachers, knowers and wonderers”. I am a teacher; I am also a student, always, because no matter your knowledge, you can always learn more. ‘Knowers’ v. ‘wonderers’? Really? How do you think people come to know things in the first place? I’m definitely an ‘expert’ on a number of things—an institutionally certified expert, even!—but I still wonder about all those things. Besides, who determines what is ‘knowing’? Plenty of those things I have expertise in are *not* institutionally certified, and that makes my expertise not one whit less.
For instance: I know a shitload more about recovering from traumatic brain events than my neurologist. He knows all about how these things happen in the first place, all the ins and outs and mechanisms; however, when it comes to practical advice for what’s necessary to not continue to fuck yourself up in the weeks afterward, he learns a hell of a lot from me. He’s an MD/PhD, he’s about as ‘expert’ as you can get; but that’s nothing in the face of actual experience. In fact, the main reason I knew he was an infinitely better doctor than the other neurologists I’d seen is because he acknowledged how little he knew about the experience of, say, having your life force drained from you by anti-seizure medication. Despite his honest-to-Dog genius, he does not pretend to all-encompassing expertise, or treat his fount of knowledge as the only valid source - which makes him smarter and more ‘expert’ than anyone who thinks they know it all.
And everyone knows that the only difference between professionals and laymen is that one gets paid for their achievements and the other doesn’t. It’s such a pathetic example, really: ‘laymen’ is a word created to distinguish the people who were not endorsed by the institutional Powers That Be in religious life; the Jesus Christ of the Bible was a layman, and as such was anathema to the institution. Now, we’ve all seen how much we should blindly trust and accept what the Church/etc. tells us, right?
Finally, that bit about “achievement in an area” is utterly nonsensical. Is ‘achievement’ supposed to stand in for ‘experience’—which, as already noted, is never accepted as institutionally valid in conferring ‘expertise’? Does ‘achievement’ mean an official document a la a diploma? How many of the world’s political leaders have degrees in management, policy, diplomacy, etc.? Have they ‘achieved’ less than those who have studied those topics in a fucking ivory tower? To reverse the question, there’s that old saw about how those who can’t do, teach. Now, I think that’s bullshit, because teaching is a fucking skill, and plenty of people who have incredible achievement in an area can’t go into a classroom and convey any of that in a useful way. By the same token, when those people *are* good teachers, do we keep them out of the classroom because their ‘expertise’ comes from experience rather than academic success? Never.
This whole thing is bullshit. All those signal words—expertise, professional, layman, student, teacher, knower, wonderer, achievement—are deliberately misused, ignorant of their actual definitions and meanings, to make a faux-profound statement that has no purpose other than to bitch about how the Powers That Be are no longer as all-important in conferring expertise as they used to be.
You can be an expert without paying for it. That really pisses this person off.
“A new kind of obesity is now looming with our information, data, and media diet. We have only scratched the surface, but there is already way too much of information available, and it is way too tasty, too cheap, and too rich. Not a single day goes by without yet another service offering us more updates from our increasing number of friends, more ways to be disrupted by incessant notifications on pretty much any platform (witness the growing popularity of smart-watches), more news, more music, more movies, more, better and cheaper mobile devices, and a seemingly total social connectivity. Many of us are likely to pig out like we’re at an all-you-can-eat buffet.”—How Tech Is Creating Data “Cravability,” To Make Us Digitally Obese (via futuristgerd)
“Instead of planning for some abstract urban whole, planners are going to have to work for all the concrete parts of the city, the different classes, ethnic groups, and races it contains. And the work they do for these people cannot be laying out their future, the people will have no chance to mature unless they do that for themselves, unless they are actually involved in shaping their social lives.”—
Colin Ward - Anarchy in Action
Ward here takes an anarchist perspective in analysing the role of planning and urban design. Arguing that it should be up to people as a collective to help shape their own social environment.
"You can change everything about your house except the location," the old adage goes. The owners of Modern on Meadow loved everything about their Leawood neighborhood. It was the house that needed changing. The couple desired spaces that were open, modern and bright, and their 1950s single-story ranch home afforded them none of these things.
We set out to renovate it to fit their lifestyle. When it became clear early on that the program they needed wouldn’t fit inside the existing footprint, the renovation became an addition.