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Urban Think Tank Introduces the Empower Shack to the Slums of Western Cape

Urban Think Tank Introduces the Empower Shack to the Slums of Western Cape | PROYECTO ESPACIOS | Scoop.it

International studio Urban Think Tank are currently exhibiting the ‘empower shack‘ in zurich. The project is developed as an adapting response to urban informality, offering not only improved housing but a strategy that allows the citizens of self-built urban communities to dynamically structure their urban environment as an instant response to their needs.

An economical protoype two story metal-clad modular structure can be self-built. Each home is allotted a determined amount of space that allows the structure to expand as the inhabitants need it, still fitting within a more organized framework. Transsolar has also made it possible to incorporate solar energy on every rooftop.

The ongoing project is intended to alleviate the housing crisis in informal settlements during a time when the government has begun incrementally improving the housing situation.


Via Lauren Moss
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America's Most Diverse Neighborhoods

America's Most Diverse Neighborhoods | PROYECTO ESPACIOS | Scoop.it

Which neighborhoods best reflect American diversity?


To answer this question, the country’s most diverse neighborhoods and metros were identified using Census data on race and ethnicity and diversity was measured as the share of a metro area’s or ZIP code’s population in its largest racial or ethnic group: the smaller the share of the largest group, the more diverse the neighborhood is...

With maps, charts and statistics, the analysis provides an interesting look at the diversity of communities and counties across the country, with it being highest in California and Hawaii, and much of the South.


Learn more about diversity in America's communities at the article link...


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Place Capital: Re-connecting Economy With Community

Place Capital: Re-connecting Economy With Community | PROYECTO ESPACIOS | Scoop.it

Reform—of transportation, food systems, and so many aspects of the way we live—is no longer about adding bike lanes or buying veggies from a local farmer; the time has come to re-focus on large-scale culture change.

Advocates from different movements are reaching across aisles to form broader coalitions. While we all fight for different causes that stir our individual passions, many change agents are recognizing that it is the common ground we share—both physically and philosophically—that brings us together, reinforces the basic truths of our human rights, and engenders the sense of belonging and community that leads to true solidarity.

Even when we disagree with our neighbors, we still share at least one thing with them: place. Our public spaces—from our parks to our markets to our streets—are where we learn about each other, and take part in the interactions, exchanges, and rituals that together comprise local culture.


Read the complete article for more on the ideas and strategies that positively contribute to our public spaces and enhance interpersonal connections, economic opportunity and placemaking.


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Rural Urban Framework: Designing Projects that Help Communities Come Together

Rural Urban Framework: Designing Projects that Help Communities Come Together | PROYECTO ESPACIOS | Scoop.it

Often lost among the headlines about China's astonishing development has been a growing interest in the corresponding transformation of the Chinese countryside. At the forefront of architectural research and experimentation in this area is Rural Urban Framework (RUF), a studio headed by University of Hong Kong professors Joshua Bolchover and John Lin.


Since 2006, Bolchover and Lin, who originally hail from England and Taiwan, respectively, have been working with nonprofit organizations, private donors, and local governments on projects in villages throughout China. In Qinmo, in southern Guangdong province, they converted a disused school building into a community center, complete with a demonstration farm. In northern Shaanxi province, their Lingzidi bridge spans a small river to better connect local residents with agricultural fields, while accommodating washing, fishing, and small-truck access.

“Nowadays, 50 percent of the world lives in cities,” says Lin. “But we're interested in the other 50 percent—especially in China, one of the most intensively urban and intensively rural places in the world.”


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Communities Aren't Just Places, They're Social Networks

Communities Aren't Just Places, They're Social Networks | PROYECTO ESPACIOS | Scoop.it
A conversation with urban sociologist Zachary Neal on his new book, The Connected City.


Cities are obviously more than just the sum of their physical assets — roads and bridges, offices, factories, shopping centers, and homes — working more like living organisms than jumbles of concrete. Their inner workings even transcend their ability to cluster and concentrate people and economic activity.

As sociologist Zachary Neal of Michigan State University argues in his new book, The Connected City, cities are made up of human social networks.

Neal took time to discuss his book and research with Atlantic Cities, explaining how cities work as living organisms and why what happens in Las Vegas cannot stay in Las Vegas.


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From relic to revolutionary: streetcars revitalize city transit | SmartPlanet

From relic to revolutionary: streetcars revitalize city transit | SmartPlanet | PROYECTO ESPACIOS | Scoop.it
More than a half-century after streetcars were abandoned and burned, at least a dozen U.S. cities are working to revive them.


The revitalization of Portland, Ore.’s Pearl District, where empty warehouses were replaced with art galleries and abandoned rail yards gave way to multi-family housing, truly began for some when a streetcar line opened there in 2001. As the streetcar shuttled passengers around the once-decrepit neighborhood, it also swept billions of dollars of investments into the revived community.

What’s more, streetcars can protect the environment. “If you have clean electrical energy sources and feed them into the tram system,” said

Patrick Condon, a professor at the University of British Columbia and author of Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities- “it is greenhouse gas zero.” That combination of smart urban development and eco-friendly transit, he said, means more sustainable cities by 2050. “The real benefit of thinking about trams is not the vehicle itself,” Condon said, “but rather how the whole city works and how you move from place to place in a way that’s elegant, comfortable and greenhouse gas zero.”


Read on for details and examples that feature the potential positive benefits of reviving the streetcar- a 'clean alternative to cars'.


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