Your new post is loading...
The 19th century was a century of empires, 20th century was a century of nation states and the 21st century will be a century of cities...
This outstanding infographic (courtesy of postscapes.com) begins with some information about our current state of urbanization.
Did you know that 1.3 million people are moving to cities each week?! It then explains the need for smart cities and delves into what is required to establish these intelligent connected environments, how the smart city may take various forms in the developing worlds and what specific technologies are necessary to achieve such grand goals in practice.
The Rockefeller Foundation's resiliency challenge will give 11 American cities support to improve their ability to bounce back from disaster.
As more of the world's population moves into urban areas, and climate change increases the likelihood of flooding and extreme weather, cities all over the globe will need to strengthen their ability to withstand disasters.
This year, the Rockefeller Foundation is giving a few lucky cities a push with its 100 Resilient Cities challenge, which aims to give metropolises support to design and implement disaster contingency plans.
Los Angeles firm Gehry Partners will collaborate with London office Foster + Partners to carry out phase three of the Rafael Viñoly-designed masterplan, adding a shopping street to connect the old Victorian power station with a new London Underground station, and building residential neighbourhoods on either side.
The two firms will co-design the retail stretch, known as The High Street, which will encompass shops, restaurants, a library, a hotel and a leisure centre. Foster + Partners will add residential buildings to the east, while Gehry will work on the residential zone to the west - the architect's first major project in the UK.
Super-typhoon Haiyan, the single most powerful storm ever recorded, is an unsettling harbinger of troubles to come.
Weather systems across the globe have gained intensity and force over the past few years due to our rapidly warming planet. New defenses are needed to protect our metropolitan centers, most of which are located within a stone's throw of the ocean. The solution: fight nature with nature.
Supplementing civil engineering projects with ecological defenses is only part of the overall solution to dealing with our rapidly changing environment. Early warning systems, effective evacuation strategies, education, and better building codes must be integrated into the larger scheme of of sustainable city development and planning if we plan on living anywhere near our growing oceans...
Sherbourne Common, transformed from a brownfield site along a neglected stretch of Toronto’s waterfront, transcends the conventional definition of a park by interweaving a stormwater treatment facility with landscape, architecture, engineering, and public art. As the newest addition to Toronto’s revitalized waterfront, it's both an outdoor living room for the emerging mixed-use community and an urban park intended to serve the broader constituency of downtown Toronto.
Conceived as a catalytic node along the waterfront, Sherbourne Common was built in advance of private development. The commitment to public realm was paramount to the client’s vision for the regeneration of Toronto’s waterfront. Sherbourne Common along with other waterfront public realm contributions are becoming well used beautiful moments along the lakeshore strung together with a new waterfront promenade and a future grand boulevard. This is strong evidence of the significance and power of building public realm in generating new vibrant urban communities on post industrial lands...
Madrid-based MTM arquitectos have strategically planned the design of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid’s campus in the capital and largest city of Spain.
The Spanish studio’s proposal is laid out according to the university’s original plan centred on common spaces so as to ensure, through an integrated and inclusive urban development strategy, accessible focal points which serve to align both Madrilenians and faculty students’ interests, increasing social interactions.
MTM arquitectos’ forward-thinking approach to urban design aims to provide the campus with a legible structure and a distinctive identity. Built form is therefore used as a substitute to hermetic and restrictive borders in order to define accesses, as well as to create the stage for a compelling and spontaneous urban life.
'Cities represent three quarters of energy consumption and 80% of CO2 emissions worldwide, and represent the largest of any environmental policy challenge. Urbanisation is only set to increase, cities house half the world's population today but are set to host three quarters in 2050.
To cope with this continued urban growth we will need to invent new ways to manage cities and make them more effective. The convergence between digital technology and the world of energy, or Energy 3.0, will pave the way for a new ecosystem of services which will enable both a better quality of life and reduced energy consumption.'
Via Stephane Bilodeau
From the architect. Turenscape was commissioned to design a wetland park of 34.2 hectares in the middle of a new town, which is listed as a protected regional wetland. The site is surrounded on four sides by roads and dense development. As such, water sources into this former wetland were being cut, and the wetland was under the threat. Turenscape’s strategy was to transform the dying wetland into a ‘green sponge’ – an urban stormwater park, which will not only rescue the disappearing wetland, but will also provide multiple ecosystems services for the new urban community.
The challenges are obvious: How can a disappearing wetland be preserved when its ecological and biological processes have been cut off by the urban context? How can such a wetland ecosystem be designed to provide multiple ecosystems for the city? And what is the economic way to deal with such a landscape? The solution was to transform the wetland into a multi-functional stormwater park that will collect, filtrate, store stormwater and infiltrate to the aquifer, whilst being productive and life supporting, providing new recreational and aesthetic experiences for the city.
Architect Thomas Heatherwick, together with actor and green activist Joanna Lumley have conceived what they call the ‘garden bridge’; a scheme that sees a lush green space connecting north and south london, in response to a call for proposals simed at improving pedestrian links across the river Thames.
The structure is an elevated garden that will offer a place in which to enjoy unparalleled views of the city, while providing new walking routes between the popular covent garden and soho quarters. It will also enhance London’s already rich and diverse horticultural heritage of allotments and community gardens, heathlands, parks and squares; further fulfilling its reputation for being one of the greenest urban areas of its size in the world.
The world’s first open source piece of hardware was the bicycle, according to the Open Source Hardware Association. To be more precise, it was the draisine, introduced as a two-wheeled human-propelled walking machine in 1817.
Technologists of the day added things like pedals, chains and rubber tires, as the bicycle became one of the world’s most widely used and loved machines. Nearly two centuries and a couple billion bicycles later, entrepreneurs are applying computer controls, GPS and wireless connectivity to bikes to help save the world’s cities from automobile gridlock...
In the book, “Sustainable Urban Metabolism,” newly published by MIT Press, the authors set out a new program for doing something that has not yet been achieved: understanding just how many resources cities consume, and establishing, in effect, a holistic framework for producing an environmental balance sheet for every city.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is, no surprise, all about keeping things green. What better way to do so than knowing exactly which cities boast the greenest buildings?
According to the EPA, to qualify on this list the buildings have to “make real commitments” day in and day out. Commercial buildings make up 45 percent of America’s greenhouse gas emissions and half of all energy use—in other words, a green building can make a big impact. With a supersized carbon footprint, people who share their space with more environmentally conscious buildings can get an extra boost of benefits themselves, such as cleaner air.
A new mixed-use development, called “EyeBAM,” is the latest addition to Brooklyn’s burgeoning Downtown Cultural District.
Dattner Architects, Bernheimer Architecture, and SCAPE / Landscape Architecture, have been selected by the Mayor’s Office and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development to design a 12-story building with109 apartments (40 percent affordable and 60 percent market rate), a restaurant and two arts-and-science-focused organizations, Eyebeam and Science Gallery.
Designed to engage with neighboring cultural institutions, the restaurant will flow into the new Arts Plaza, which will include outdoor seating to activate the space.
To further accentuate the cultural space, the architects plan to implement a glazed exterior on the lower levels. The material palette, composed of terracotta and brick, is a nod to Brooklyn’s architectural history.
“We wanted to create a scale and texture to the building that was both contextual to the neighborhood but also gave the building its own identity."
New Holland Agriculture have chosen the winner of the international competition for their 1,500 square meters pavilion at the World Expo 2015 in Milan. The proposal, by Carlo Ratti Associati, is called Earth Screening, and features an agricultural field on its roof, similar to a giant 3D printer thanks to the constant activity of two robotized, self-driving tractors.
Emanuela Recchi, chairman of Recchi Engineering, describes Earth Screening as “a pavilion capable of expressing the principles of sustainability, efficiency, and energy production of a modern ‘Sustainable Farm’.” The design concept proposes an innovative and efficient pavilion, allowing visitors to interact with the latest research, products and innovations developed by New Holland.
The aim is that the energy for the pavilion – including that for the selfdriving tractors on the roof – will be generated on site. After the Expo, the New Holland pavilion will be dismantled and reconstructed in a second location as an innovative didactic farm, embodying the very idea of recycling and sustainability.
Building adaptable structures will save time, money, and material waste.
There's a growing belief among architects and designers that all urban parking garages should be built with these "good bones," which will allow them to be re-purposed in the future. For a variety of reasons, from higher gas prices to greater densification to better transit options, city residents will continue to drive fewer cars. As a result, we'll eventually require fewer parking lots. The ability to adapt a structure rather than tear it down will save developers time, money, and material waste...
Holm Architecture Office was recently commissioned for an idea proposal to revive the existing buildings of the Domino Sugar Factory in the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. The factory opened in 1856 and was once the sugar processing center of the U.S. before it shut down in 2004. The factory has been empty since then.
HAO's proposal for the Domino Culture Factory combines public and private programming that regenerates the abandoned factory into a cultural and educational destination for local communities and all who visit.
New images unveiled this week reveal that the third and final phase of New York's High Line park will feature an enclosed amphitheatre filled with plants.
The bowl-shaped structure will create a new north-east gateway to the popular park - created across an abandoned elevated railway by architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, landscape architects James Corner Field Operations and planting designer Piet Oudolf - and will form part of a new stretch wrapping around New York's old freight train yards. Named The Spur, the structure will be positioned at the widest point of the High Line, across the intersection of 10th Avenue and West 30th Street, and is conceived as "an immersive experience of nature.
The German city is planning a green network that will cover 40% of the city area, contributing to resilience and allowing biking, swimming and nature watching in the city
The European commercial hub promotes bicycling as the main mode of transportation, and plans to build a network around bikes and pedestrians, linking car-free roads to parks and playgrounds, from the city centre to the suburbs.
Welcome to Hamburg, an environmental pioneer whose planned green network will cover 40% of the city's area. "It will connect parks, recreational areas, playgrounds, gardens and cemeteries through green paths", says Angelika Fritsch, a spokeswoman for the city's department of urban planning and the environment. "Other cities, including London, have green rings, but the green network will be unique in covering an area from the outskirts to the city centre. In 15 to 20 years you'll be able to explore the city exclusively on bike and foot."
Cities are experiencing rapid growth across the Global South. With this growth however, also comes economic disparity and environmental degradation. Can microfinance offer a solution to these growing concerns?
With mass urbanisation has also come significant concern with regard to economis disparity and environmental sustainability.
From one perspective, rural to urban migration is thought to be helping to alleviate poverty by pushing more people into the middle class. Additionally, increased urban population density is seen to be ‘green’ because it lowers dependency on private vehicle use and increases resource efficiency. From another perspective however, mass urbanisation also causes a variety of problems across a range of geographic scales: socio-economic inequality, slums, sprawl, deforestation, air pollution, excessive waste and poor water management, to name a few. There is no ‘silver bullet’ for these problems...
Smart cities, if they are ever to emerge, will likely center around redesign of urban buildings and infrastructure that will make them “self sustaining” and reduce carbon emissions and other “negative externalities.”
The Chinese city of Shenzen, a candidate for green transformation if there ever was one, and Asian Cairns will be a group of six “space age” looking buildings that will produce food for residents. The project will cover 79 acres (320,000 sq. m) with green vegetation incorporated into the structures of the building. Dubbed “farmscrapers” instead of “skyscrapers” the buildings will include housing, office space, shops and recreational areas.
Photovoltaic and photo thermal solar cells as well as wind turbines will be incorporated into the structure of the building to provide more energy than is consumed by residents. Callebaut designed the building so that no fossil fuels will be necessary, completely eliminating CO2 emissions.
Trylletromler’ is the Danish word for the zoetrope, a 19th century device that activates an impression of movement within a still image. The Renaissance garden of Rosenborg Castle, Copenhagen, forms the context for a new pavilion that is accessible to all public, innovative in its spatial expression and is challenging by its idiom.
FABRIC therefore introduced a new spatial concept by stretching the understanding of the ‘pavilion’ towards the most elementary architectural element in garden design: the fence.
The fence is made out of three thousand standard pieces of Nordic timber, which are joined using an irregular pattern of wedges. Based on these three principles an intriguing floor plan was designed using a composition of ten perfect circles..
NEXT architects has won a competition to design a pedestrian bridge for Changsha, China, with plans for a wavy structure based on a Möbius strip.
The structure will comprise a sequence of undulating steel ribbons that combine to create a never-ending surface, with intersecting connections, based on the principal of the Möbius ring. The form is also intended to reference traditional Chinese crafts.
The bridge will create three different routes across the water, including one that reaches a height of 24 metres to offer views of the harbour, the city and the surrounding mountains. Lighting fixtures will highlight the profile of the structure after dark.
In a world where people live more mobile lifestyles than they have for centuries, cities are facing a problem they rarely planned for: their citizens move away. When jobs and resources start to decline, modern cities, such as Detroit, suffer difficult and often wasteful processes of urban contraction. In contrast to this, Manuel Dominguez’s “Very Large Structure,” the result of his thesis project at ETSA Madrid, proposes a nomadic city that can move on caterpillar tracks to locations where work and resources are abundant.
Read on to see more on this provocative project – including a full set of presentation boards in the image gallery.
For two Sundays every summer, the open streets event StreetsAlive draws between 6,000 and 8,000 people — on bikes, sneakers and rollerblades — into the space that is normally occupied by cars in downtown Fargo, North Dakota and nearby Moorhead, Minnesota.
The event began as a healthy living initiative, but organizers say that as it has grown in popularity over the last three years, the event has evolved into something potentially transformative.
Local leaders are trying to use StreetsAlive to educate the public about the benefits of non-motorized transportation, and it seems to be working. Last year’s theme was “Life After Cars.” Embarking on a regional planning process, local officials reported high levels of support for amenities like bike lanes.
In a 180-degree change from previous decades, during which public space was thought of mainly in terms of facilitating automobile circulation, the City of Paris has been implementing an ambitious strategy to rethink the role of the car in the city.
The new approach, which puts the quality of the urban experience at the heart of urban policy, has led to a complete redefinition of Paris’s urban spaces...