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OECD predicts collapse of capitalism

mostlysignssomeportents:

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The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development — a pro-establishment, rock-ribbed bastion of pro-market thinking — has released a report predicting a collapse in global economic growth rates, a rise in feudal wealth disparity, collapsing tax revenue and huge, migrating bands of migrant laborers roaming from country to country, seeking crumbs of work. They prescribe “flexible” workforces, austerity, and mass privatization.

Read more…

(via emergentfutures)

Second Life: The Heineken WOBO Doubles as Beer Bottle and Brick

Fifty years ago, Heineken developed a revolutionary and sustainable design solution to give its beer bottles a second life: as an architectural brick. The concept arose after brewing magnate Alfred Heineken visited Curacao during a world tour of his factories in 1960. He was struck by the amount of beer bottles—many bearing his name—littering the beaches and the lack of affordable building materials for residents. In a stroke of genius (or madness), Heineken realized both problems could be solved if beer bottles could be reused as structural building components. Enlisting the help of Dutch architect N. John Habraken, Heineken created a new bottled design—dubbed the Heineken WOBO (World Bottle)—that doubled as a drinking vessel and a brick. As author and architecture critic Martin Pawley notes, the WOBO was “the first mass production container ever designed from the outset for secondary use as a building component.” The new squared off bottle was both inter-locking and self-aligning, allowing it to nestle seamlessly and snugly into adjoining “bricks.” With Habraken’s design, a 10 by 10 foot hut could be constructed with 1,000 WOBO bottles. Though a test run of 100,000 bottles was produced in 1963, the marketing department’s worries about liabilities doomed the project. The WOBO was subsequently and unceremoniously retired. Though only two official WOBO buildings remain, both on the Heineken estate in Noordwijk near Amsterdam, the concept remains a powerful and inspiring one one. Indeed, the experiment is a reminder of how a major corporation might seriously take on sustainability in an innovative way.

via experimentsinmotion:

(Source: archdaily.com)

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Streetmix3D

Last year, Code for America made an awesome app called Streetmix.

I want to take this app (open source!) and run with it, making a drag and drop webapp to redesign all public space: streets, squares, parklets, parks, intersections, tactical street festivals, the works. All the space between the buildings is up for grabs.

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Say you clicked on the Streetmix view in the bottom right corner of the mock-up above, it would expand to fill the screen so you could edit lane arrangements of various cross-section points. You could also edit on the plan view to show how those cross-sections connect, and to add paint and furniture (like planters).

Then you click to minimize the editing screen, and see the 3D view above again, which you can pan and zoom around.

Brian Mount already implemented a simple plan view fork of an earlier version of Streetmix, shown below. Imagine being able to paint onto that, and drop in elements like planters and parklets.

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Spencer Boomhower has made a reconfigurable 3D streetscape using Unity3D, below, that could also inform the app user experience.

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Anyone else interested? Shall we Kickstart it?

Count Studio630 in. I am using StreetMix to help design this year’s BetterBlockKC and several planning firms in Kansas City have used the open-source program to help design streets for new bicycle paths and streetcar routes.

Enormous Murals Inspired by Local Traders in Warwick, South Africa

Created by street artist Faith47 

viajedavu:

(via goingurban)

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The Troubling Decline of American Business Dynamism

(Source: thisiscitylab)

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"Parking spaces create heat islands and sources of polluted stormwater runoff. They hollow out cities and divide neighborhoods. They are significant generators of emissions, accounting for as much as 12 percent of energy consumption and greenhouse gases, and at least 24 percent of other emissions."

How Parking Spaces Are Eating Our Cities Alive | Citylab (via atlurbanist)

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The equity argument, very much de rigeur among planners these days, may be the most powerful. From San Francisco to New York to Paris, booming cities are staggeringly unaffordable. More attention to a diversity of housing types, and a little less concentration, may create places for average folk. “I don’t mean to sound all de Blasio,” he says, referring to New York’s equity-minded new mayor, “but there’s a little bit of that.”

-Why the ‘Garden City’ Is Making an Unlikely Comeback
[Image: Robert A.M. Stern]
via thisiscitylab:


There should be no new developments based on these principles. There should be a lot of redevelopment and fixing car-dependable areas to these principles. Fix the existing before building anew.

The equity argument, very much de rigeur among planners these days, may be the most powerful. From San Francisco to New York to Paris, booming cities are staggeringly unaffordable. More attention to a diversity of housing types, and a little less concentration, may create places for average folk. “I don’t mean to sound all de Blasio,” he says, referring to New York’s equity-minded new mayor, “but there’s a little bit of that.”

-Why the ‘Garden City’ Is Making an Unlikely Comeback

[Image: Robert A.M. Stern]

via thisiscitylab:

There should be no new developments based on these principles. There should be a lot of redevelopment and fixing car-dependable areas to these principles. Fix the existing before building anew.

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One industry at a time, from health care to music, small companies are transforming how we discover and contract with professionals. Now Architizer is getting into the game. The site, best known for featuring architects’ portfolios, is betting that it can attract real estate developers and private owners with ground-up projects and match those buyers with its community of design talent.
Read More>
viafastcompany:

One industry at a time, from health care to music, small companies are transforming how we discover and contract with professionals. Now Architizer is getting into the game. The site, best known for featuring architects’ portfolios, is betting that it can attract real estate developers and private owners with ground-up projects and match those buyers with its community of design talent.

Read More>

viafastcompany:

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(Source: sprawlnation)

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An attitude has arisen which says, “Before, there was crime and emptiness; now we’ve got galleries and coffee. You’re telling me you actually preferred crack dens?” This shuts down debate by asserting that art and cafés for incomers were the only viable antidotes to lawlessness and poverty, when in fact they merely shunt them elsewhere. It erroneously suggests that creative uses of urban spaces are an end point, and reveals the ugly undertone beneath much talk of neighborhood change: That these inner city areas are just too good to be squandered on the low-income people being displaced from them.

-The Pernicious Realities of ‘Artwashing’
[Image: Wikimedia Commons/Graeme Maclean]
via thisiscitylab:

An attitude has arisen which says, “Before, there was crime and emptiness; now we’ve got galleries and coffee. You’re telling me you actually preferred crack dens?” This shuts down debate by asserting that art and cafés for incomers were the only viable antidotes to lawlessness and poverty, when in fact they merely shunt them elsewhere. It erroneously suggests that creative uses of urban spaces are an end point, and reveals the ugly undertone beneath much talk of neighborhood change: That these inner city areas are just too good to be squandered on the low-income people being displaced from them.

-The Pernicious Realities of ‘Artwashing’

[Image: Wikimedia Commons/Graeme Maclean]

via thisiscitylab:

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The Triumphant Return of Private U.S. Passenger Rail

(Source: thisiscitylab)

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Fractal scapes by batjorge
Title: Wikipedia

via archsy:


The Next 20 Years Are Going To Make The Last 20 Look Like We Accomplished Nothing In Tech Alyson Shontell, businessinsider.com
The world is hit­ting its stride in tech­no­log­i­cal advances and futur­ists have been mak­ing wild-sounding bets on what we’ll accom­plish in the not-so-distant future.
Futur­ist Ray Kurzweil, for exam­ple, believes that by 2040 arti­fi­cial…

The Next 20 Years Are Going To Make The Last 20 Look Like We Accomplished Nothing In Tech
Alyson Shontell, businessinsider.com

The world is hit­ting its stride in tech­no­log­i­cal advances and futur­ists have been mak­ing wild-sounding bets on what we’ll accom­plish in the not-so-distant future.

Futur­ist Ray Kurzweil, for exam­ple, believes that by 2040 arti­fi­cial…

(Source: smarterplanet, via emergentfutures)

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We're still wasting money & land on highway-widening projects

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The image above compares Florence Italy with Metro Atlanta’s Interstate I-75/I-285 interchange. It’s a few years old, but it’s making the rounds on the web again thanks to some recent exposure. The line usually accompanying it claims that “entire city of Florence could fit inside Atlanta interchange” or similar.

It’s instructive in that it shows how much land space we waste on car infrastructure and how it could be better used (don’t get fooled by the lush green spot on the west corner of the interchange image — that’s about to become the new Cobb County Braves stadium). But it’s also a bit of a lie. It’s even in scale, but the Florence image shows only a portion of the historic center of that city. 

Contrasting these two places has merit as a kind of fun exercise in land use. But when it comes to Atlanta’s land and the amount we devote to cars, I’m more interested in two specific, very real things.

1.) The land within our neighborhoods wasted on car infrastructure

There are many Atlanta neighborhoods I could use for this comparison of properties developed for humans versus those for cars, but to be gallant I’ll allow my own home — the Fairlie-Poplar district — to take the heat.

Below is an image I’ve made that shows, in blue, the amount of land in Fairlie-Poplar that’s devoted entirely to car storage in the form of either surface lots or parking decks (in fairness, I just realized I missed one, so it’s even worse than it looks here). The headline I’d give this is “entire human-inhabited portion of FP could fit inside the land devoted to parking.” Basically, if you developed all the parking structures, you could build a second neighborhood inside itself.

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Because of the parking built for people visiting the large event facilities in Downtown, this is a more dramatic example than you’ll find elsewhere, but most every neighborhood has its unfair share of car-centric land use — space that is sitting empty much of the time and not offering the value it should to a potentially more livable neighborhoods.

2.) We’re still building these interchanges in Metro Atlanta and elsewhere

This week the Atlanta newspaper published a piece titled Big plans for Ga. 400/I-285 interchange just got bigger, about another interchange that’s only a few miles east of the I-75/I-285 one that was compared to Florence.

The State of Georgia is planning to add miles of lanes to those highways in an attempt to relieve congestion for car commuters. This, despite the overwhelming evidence that adding lanes on a congested highway can create more traffic via induced demand.

According to the news piece:

At an estimated cost of $950 million, it would be the most expensive road project in state history, paid for by going at least $130 million into debt, not counting interest costs. It would take three years of heavy construction to build. 

This is exactly the kind of project that a growing metro, already struggling with sprawl damage, needs to avoid. Instead of affordable infill housing in a format that encourages alternative transportation options, this highway-building project is the sort of thing that enables further sprawl and car dependency. 

Now is the time to learn from our mistakes in road building, not repeat them. We should build better neighborhoods, not bigger highways.

- See more at: http://atlurbanist.tumblr.com/post/89030934634/were-still-wasting-money-land-on-highway-widening#sthash.Z3DEJFn2.dpuf

via atlurbanist: