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The Urban Landscape: Designing With Cities, Not For Them

The Urban Landscape: Designing With Cities, Not For Them | scatol8® | Scoop.it
When the city is viewed not as a destination for design but as the source material for it, a new relationship between design and the urban landscape is possible.

Whether it’s repurposing a billboard to act as a humidity collection system for clean drinking water in Lima, Peru, or integrating Wi-Fi capabilities into Madrid’s paving stones with the iPavement initiative, cities are increasingly expanding the capabilities of their existing assets and reforming the urban terrain as a landscape of opportunity.


The truth is that a city has all the resources it needs; the key to unlocking these resources is seeing the urban landscape not as the end result of a previous creative process, but as the beginning of a new one—a landscape to design with, not for.


Via Lauren Moss
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Town Square Initiative: New York - Urban Planning and Design Concepts

Town Square Initiative: New York - Urban Planning and Design Concepts | scatol8® | Scoop.it

The Town Square Initiative is a yearlong volunteer effort in which Gensler designers set out to unearth and re-imagine unexpected open space in cities around the globe. All 43 Gensler offices were invited to participate in the conceptual project, in which we challenged our designers to identify open space in the city and reimagine it as a town square.


Visit the link for more images, diagrams and information on Gensler New York’s design of their future city.


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Heat from North American cities causing warmer winters, study finds

Heat from North American cities causing warmer winters, study finds | scatol8® | Scoop.it

Researchers say extra heat generated by huge cities explains additional warming not explained by existing climate models.


Those who wonder why large parts of North America seem to be skipping winter have a new answer in addition to climate change: big city life.

A study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, found that the heat thrown off by major metropolitan areas on America's east coast caused winter warming across large areas of North America, thousands of miles away from those cities.

 

Scientists have for years been trying to untangle how big cities – with the sprawl of buildings and cars – affect climate. The study suggests cities themselves have far-reaching effects on climate, in addition to the climate pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuels.


Via SustainOurEarth, Digital Sustainability, Lauren Moss
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Innovation & Public Space: Melkwegbridge by NEXT Architects and Rietveld Landscape

Innovation & Public Space: Melkwegbridge by NEXT Architects and Rietveld Landscape | scatol8® | Scoop.it

The new Melkweg Bridge in Purmerend (NL) connects the old and new parts of the city with a unique design that accomodates both pedestrians and cyclists.


Developed by Dutch studios NEXT Architects and Rietveld Landscape, the bridge crosses the Noordhollandsch Kanaal to connect the historic city centre with the growing Weidevenne district in the south-west and is the first stage in a masterplan for the canal and its periphery. It does so with a steeply arching upper level for pedestrians and a zig-zagging lower level for cyclists and wheelchairs. The massive arch reaches the height of 12m above water level and offers incredible views over the city, with a high lookout that is an attraction in itself, letting users fully experience the relationship between the new and historic center of Purmerend.

 

"The aim of the design team was to create a new area with a specific identity, which could work as a connector between the old and the new centre," said NEXT Architects' Marijn Schenk...


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Reading the City: What Makes a City Smart?

Reading the City: What Makes a City Smart? | scatol8® | Scoop.it

In Barcelona last month for a conference on smart cities (specifically, on how technology can make cities smarter). There were intriguing presentations and cool-looking “smart” trucks & electric bikes. I could have spent a lot more time “interfacing” with all the technology housed in the Fira de Barcelona convention center.

But I didn’t.


There are two common-sense truths to smart cities.

First, technology is awesome, yes, but we should be viewing it not as a silver bullet but one admittedly phenomenal tool of many in any city’s arsenal. (And, as many asked when the power went out during a panel discussion: How do you have a smart city with no electricity?)

 

Second, the most successful technologies are well-hidden — invisible, even. So after absorbing about all I could about open data, demand-based pricing and fiber optic networks, I reached a decision: I’m in Barcelona. I can learn a lot more about how a city works by actually experiencing it...


Via Jandira Feijó, Territori, Lauren Moss
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The Top 10 Most Livable Cities of 2012

The Top 10 Most Livable Cities of 2012 | scatol8® | Scoop.it
The Quality of Living Survey is conducted annually by Mercer to help multinational companies and organizations fairly compensate their employees when assigning them to international placements.
This year, the company evaluated the local living conditions of more than 460 cities worldwide, and the survey was based on 39 factors, divided into 10 categories: Political and social environment, economic environment, socio-cultural environment, medical and health considerations, schools and education, public services and transportation, recreation, consumer goods, housing, and natural environment.

According to the list, European cities still make up the top of the crop this year, seizing eight out of the top ten slots. Among them, Switzerland and Germany proved best-performing, with three cities in the top ten.
In the Asia-Pacific region, Auckland retains its position as the highest-ranking city when it comes to quality of living. China had three cities edged into the top 100 list, with Hong Kong performing best at the 70th place, Taipei ranked 85th, and Shanghai at the 95th spot...
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Feed Your City: How Architecture and Farming Work Together

Feed Your City: How Architecture and Farming Work Together | scatol8® | Scoop.it

It’s easy to argue that architecture plays a part in the world of food; most restaurants are uniquely designed to better the dining experience after all. However, the architect’s ties to the industry go much deeper, and designers are beginning to revolutionize the way we see & manage food production.


As these cities grow, it is important that we continue to find new and innovative ways to provide for the populace. Vertical farming and urban agriculture offer relief in metropolitan environments, helping to reduce the pressure of public food supply while also changing our traditional approach to food production.


See 11 great examples at the article link...


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A Vision of a Carbon-Zero Urban Future: An Interview with Alex Steffen

A Vision of a Carbon-Zero Urban Future: An Interview with Alex Steffen | scatol8® | Scoop.it
How the world's wealthiest cities can beat back climate change.

 

From the Atlantic Cities:

 

Alex Steffen calls himself a planetary futurist. That means he has confronted some grim realities in the nearly 10 years since he founded Worldchanging.com, an online publication that pioneered coverage of climate change and related issues in the early years of the 21st century.  
He’s kept busy writing and speaking about creative, sustainable solutions that could help us find a way to survive and even thrive in the face of a planetary challenge that political leaders in the United States have been reluctant to face.
His most recent book, which comes out November 26, is called Carbon Zero: Imagining Cities That Can Save the Planet. In it, he lays out his case that "remaking the world’s wealthiest cities over the next 20 years may prove the best—perhaps the only—chance we have of avoiding planetary catastrophe."

I talked with Steffen the other day via Skype about post-Sandy climate politics, how to "ruggedize" a city, and whether we’re all doomed. This is an edited version of our conversation.


Visit the link for the article & interview...


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The City In Motion: Architecture + Mobility

The City In Motion: Architecture + Mobility | scatol8® | Scoop.it

Cities never stand still, so why should architecture? The future of buildings is adaptability, and mobility can augment the special powers of architecture to encompass greater experiences, while contributing more to the urban whole at large. Still, it’s not enough for buildings to move on their own; it’s the development and infrastructural connective tissues between and beyond city blocks that proves just as important.

The way we get around the city is changing, and so the services that the city has to offer are shifting as well. Fixed institutions like universities and libraries will need to be just as agile as food trucks. Commerce can venture out from their flagship shops on Soho and literally “pop-up” and sprout throughout the city. Similarly, more will be expected from cars and automobile circulation, just as larger urban developments will need to be embedded with urban spaces.

Motion is the key to the future of the city, and the A+: Mobility Award will honor the best project that reflects this fundamental shift...


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Top 7 Websites for creating Future Cities

Top 7 Websites for creating Future Cities | scatol8® | Scoop.it

Over 50% of the world's population now lives in cities, so the conditions are ripe for improving, adjusting and rethinking the urban landscape and city life. The web flourishes with digital platforms for community discussion, since now it’s city dwellers - rather than governing executives - that actively take part in city-related decision-making...
Check out the following seven websites that harness the power, wisdom and knowledge of the crowds to cultivate smarter future cities.


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Cities on Rails: Mobile Master Plan Turns Trains into Towns

Cities on Rails: Mobile Master Plan Turns Trains into Towns | scatol8® | Scoop.it

Modular thinking is brilliant and infectious, expanding and spreading from industrial-revolution technologies to three-dimensional printing... even to cities!


The Swedish architecture firm Jagnefalt Milton explores this issue in their daring and award-winning design of A Rolling Master Plan, conceived of as a way to utilize existing rail routes to shift entire towns – or even cities – worth of people and places.


Consider seasonal migrations, for instance: festivals, markets, concerts and other events that move throughout the year. What if they could take their architecture with them as they traveled? Then there are hotels, restaurants and other commercial functions that see demand change over time as well as by season. What if they could deploy rooms or eateries around a country at will? Sure, it is conceptual, but the real-life applications are astonishing once you start thinking about ways buildings could adapt if only they could move more freely...


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The Uninvisible Art of Amazing Urban Camouflage | WebUrbanist

The Uninvisible Art of Amazing Urban Camouflage | WebUrbanist | scatol8® | Scoop.it
Camouflage isn't just for natural environments - it can be used surprisingly effectively in urban surroundings as well.

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Urban Sustainability: The cities of the future will be grown, not built...

Urban Sustainability: The cities of the future will be grown, not built... | scatol8® | Scoop.it

The cities of the future will have waste-to-energy plants, not shopping malls or churches, at their center, according to urban designer Mitchell Joachim of Terreform ONE.

At DLD Cities in London, he said "cities have centers that celebrate previous centuries -- in Europe, the cities celebrated spirituality, with cathedrals. After some time, the cathedrals became downtown cores- and celebrations of capitalism and commercialism".

The cities of the future will celebrate "the belief of what keeps us alive" - or elements of the city that make our lives better.

 

Terreform ONE, a green design company in Brooklyn, explores biohacks for the ecological issues facing modern cities. For instance, the waste New York City produces every hour weighs as much as the Statue of Liberty - in the future that waste could be recompacted into building blocks, or recycled "bales". Looking beyond recycling, though, it would be even better to create a city which didn't produce waste in the first place...

That means growing thousands of homes -- building a new suburb could involve twisting, pruning and manipulating large trees into the frames of buildings. "There would be no difference between the home and nature -- it would be something that would be a positive addition to the ecology," explained Joachim.

 

For more information on these innovative concepts, including biomimicry and new green technology proposals for future cities, stop by to read the complete article and visit referenced links on urban sustainability...


Via Lauren Moss, John Boitnott, AlGonzalezinfo, Amy Melendez, Library We Want
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Imagining A Future City Filled With Driverless Cars And Without Any Parking Spaces

Imagining A Future City Filled With Driverless Cars And Without Any Parking Spaces | scatol8® | Scoop.it

As self-driving cars move from fantasy to reality, what kind of effect will they have on cities?

A research and urban prototyping project called Shuffle City investigates, and in the process, becomes a manifesto for a new kind of modern city--one that depends less on traditional public transportation like buses or light rail and more on creating a fleet of continuously moving automated vehicles to serve urban mobility needs.

Shuffle City looks at the new possibilities that could arise from cities transitioning to cars without drivers. If cars were put into some constant flow as a public good, and if people didn’t all have their own vehicles, there would be no need for the concrete wastelands and lifeless towers that serve as a parking infrastructure in the urban landscapes of car-centric cities like Phoenix and Los Angeles (Under the current ownership model, the average car spends 21 hours per day parked.)

The share of city space ruled by parking lots will shrink, making way for more green space, environmental buffers, workspace, housing, retail, and denser planning for more walkable cities...


Via Lauren Moss
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José Antônio Carlos - O Professor Pepe's curator insight, August 7, 2013 8:41 AM

Um desenho da cidade de nossos sonhos. Carros sem motoristas, ruas sem espaço para estacionamento, e por aí vai.

Kim Spence-Jones's curator insight, August 8, 2013 2:53 AM

Interface between cars and homes is an interesting area of R&D. Everything from entertainment synchronising to battery management.

miguel sa's curator insight, September 4, 2013 4:17 PM

Jacque Fresco has been talking about this sort of thing for awhile now, looks like its coming closer to reality~ 

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Hot in the City: Reducing Heat from Urban Waste

Hot in the City: Reducing Heat from Urban Waste | scatol8® | Scoop.it

Cities are hotbeds of sustainability, right? From urban agriculture to social enterprise, you’ll find lots of innovative approaches in urban centers, particularly those on the US coasts. Put a lot of people together in one place, and you generate a lot of ideas.


You also generate a lot of heat, it turns out: a new study in Nature Climate Change argues that urban centers (particularly on coasts) generate a lot of waste heat… and that heat is contributing to the weird weather patterns we’ve been seeing lately. This isn’t climate change (in the way we’ve conventionally considered it), nor is it the “urban heat island” effect. Rather, according to the research team that authored the study...


Via Susan Davis Cushing, Lauren Moss
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Gerry B's curator insight, February 11, 2013 12:58 AM

About time something should be done on exhausts coming from cities. 

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35 Urban Innovations We're Watching This Year

35 Urban Innovations We're Watching This Year | scatol8® | Scoop.it

In the Global Innovation Series, presented by BMW i, Mashable highlights new technologies that will improve the urban experience.


City dwellers are always thinking about mobility, energy, shelter, safety and efficiency, and many technologies and startups in cities all around the globe are developing new tools to ameliorate these daily problems. If these concepts come to fruition, then the future of cities is looking bright.


Whether you're thinking easier ways to park your car or ideas for the home of the future, studying how we'll live in the next 10, 50 or 100 years can reshape the habits and challenges we face today. In this article link, there are 35 topics we've covered in the series, and they offer an exciting glimpse into the future of city life...


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Is China's lakeside city the future of urban planning?

Is China's lakeside city the future of urban planning? | scatol8® | Scoop.it

China's next new city will be designed by US firm KPF, next to Hunan's regional capital, around a 40-hectare lake.


Adjacent to Changsha, the ancient capital city of Hunan, the design implements the sort of urban innovation that creates a sustainable and truly habitable environment.

"We can introduce integrated urban innovation," von Klemperer says, "we can combine water transport with localised energy production, cluster neighbourhood centres, advanced flood prevention and water management, and urban agriculture. Meixi is an experiment in future city planning and building. It will serve Changsha as a new CBD, but it will also serve as a paradigm for other Chinese city planners. It's a kind of live test case."


The firm seeks to achieve these goals through its dense, mixed-use urban, plan, with integration with surrounding mountains, lakes, parks and canals. Meixi Lake will eventually be home to 180,000 inhabitants, living in "villages" of 10,000 people, clustered around the canals...



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Connecting the Physical & Digital Worlds: Smarter Systems for Smart Cities

Connecting the Physical & Digital Worlds: Smarter Systems for Smart Cities | scatol8® | Scoop.it
Technology is being used in ways you would never expect to help solve fundamental problems, from managing a football stadium on game day, to helping manage transportation systems and emergency operations.

As organizations and large facilities like stadiums, museums, schools and government buildings continue to grow and provide more people with faster, better, innovative services, we need to make them more efficient--not by cutting back services, but by getting insight and intelligence on how our physical world functions.
From roads to vehicles to buildings to HVAC systems and lights, thousands of objects not only need to be managed, but how they interact and affect each other must be optimized. By addressing and answering these fundamental questions, we can get real insight to drive better decision making and efficiency.

If we analyze this data, we can find inefficiencies or make connections we never would have imagined. By connecting the physical and digital worlds, these massive organizations that are part of our daily lives can deliver more efficient services to us all...
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Making Smarter Cities | The Atlantic

Making Smarter Cities | The Atlantic | scatol8® | Scoop.it
As population growth drives urbanization, the environmental impacts of cities are becoming increasingly important. By 2050, some 90% of the U.S. population and 70% of the world population will live in cities, according to the University of Michigan's Center for Sustainable Systems.

As a result, interest in "smart cities" that provide technologically advanced services and infrastructure is increasing: The global smart city market is projected to cross $1 trillion in 2016, with players such as IBM and Accenture leading the way.

"Successful cities will need to differentiate themselves to attract investment and productive residents," said Ruthbea Yesner Clarke, Research Director of IDC's Smart Cities Strategies, in a recent report. Constrained financial resources, fast-growing populations, and aging infrastructures are driving investment in smart cities, she said.
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2012's Best Smart Growth Projects, According to the EPA

2012's Best Smart Growth Projects, According to the EPA | scatol8® | Scoop.it
A food store in Vermont, rezoning in Portsmouth, and five other neat efforts.

'The Environmental Protection Agency announced seven winners of its 2012 National Awards for Smart Growth Achievement recently. As I have noted in the past, the smart growth awards are given for creative, outstanding initiatives that protect the health and the environment of our communities while also strengthening local economies...'


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Katarxis 3:  New Science, New Urbanism, New Architecture?

Katarxis 3:  New Science, New Urbanism, New Architecture? | scatol8® | Scoop.it

Katarxis is an online publication regarding urbanism and architecture which in its 3rd edition, incorporates science into the equation. With words and thoughts from Christopher Alexander, Andres Duany, Nikos Salingaros, Leon Krier, Philip Ball, Brian Goodwin and Ian Stewart among others. The issue also incorporates the legendary 1982 debate, between Christopher Alexander and Peter Eisenman.

 

"People used to say that just as the twentieth century had been the century of physics, the twenty-first century would be the century of biology… We would gradually move into a world whose prevailing paradigm was one of complexity, and whose techniques sought the co-adapted harmony of hundreds or thousands of variables. This would, inevitably, involve new technique, new vision, new models of thought, and new models of action. I believe that such a transformation is starting to occur…. To be well, we must set our sights on such a future." Christopher Alexander

 

Christopher Alexander's Essay here: http://www.katarxis3.com/Alexander_Architecture_Science.htm

 

Christopher Alexander and Peter Eisenman debate here: http://www.katarxis3.com/Alexander_Eisenman_Debate.htm


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Invisible Cities - Christian Marc Schmidt

By revealing the social networks present within the urban environment, Invisible Cities describes a new kind of city—a city of the mind. It displays geocoded activity from online services such as Twitter and Flickr, both in real-time and in aggregate. Real-time activity is represented as individual nodes that appear whenever a message or image is posted. Aggregate activity is reflected in the underlying terrain: over time, the landscape warps as data is accrued, creating hills and valleys representing areas with high and low densities of data.
Invisible Cities maps information from one realm—online social networks—to another: an immersive, three dimensional space. In doing so, the piece creates a parallel experience to the physical urban environment. The interplay between the aggregate and the real-time recreates the kind of dynamics present within the physical world, where the city is both a vessel for and a product of human activity. It is ultimately a parallel city of intersections, discovery, and memory, and a medium for experiencing the physical environment anew.


christianmarcschmidt.com/invisiblecities


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Harvard’s New Ecological Urbanism App: A Glimpse of Our Urban Future

Harvard’s New Ecological Urbanism App: A Glimpse of Our Urban Future | scatol8® | Scoop.it

The Harvard Graduate School of Design released its Ecological Urbanism app last month. The interactive app adapts content from the GSD book of the same name, which explores how designers can unite urbanism with environmentalism.


Combining data from around the world, the app “reveals and locates current practices, emerging trends, and opportunities for new initiatives” in regard to the future of cities.


A collaboration between the school and Second Story Interactive Studios,the app stems from the GSD’s Ecological Urbanism conference and dovetails with the duo’s ongoing efforts to explore sustainability in our cities of the future.

More than 100 participating architects and designers have provided content for the project, including such heavyweights as OMA, Rem Koolhaas, Kara Oehler, and Stefano Boeri. And the ever-evolving app allows designers and academics to add research and project updates as they happen...


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Using Smartphones to Improve Walkability

Using Smartphones to Improve Walkability | scatol8® | Scoop.it

When it comes to walking in the city, our smartphones provide us with pedestrian sat-nav, reviews of the best places to visit and even measure how many calories we’re burning. In fact, recent research suggests that our phones are encouraging us to even explore more places.

 

Now, a new mobile app provides an essential tool for the walkable lifestyle. It enables people to check the walkability of the street they’re standing in, as well as discover new walkable streets in other areas and add their own reviews.

The free app uses over 600,000 street ratings from Walkonomics.com, covering every street in San Francisco, New York and England. But unlike other walkability apps, which only measure how many destinations are within walking distance, the Walkonomics app provides 5-star ratings for 8 different categories of pedestrian-friendliness:

Road safety Easy to cross Pavement/Sidewalk Hilliness Navigation Fear of crime Smart & beautiful Fun & relaxing

 

The Walkonomics mobile app provides a crowdsourcing tool for events, allowing more people to be involved, add reviews and post suggestions. With more cities to be added, the app has the potential to become the new ‘must-have’ app for not only discovering and enjoying walkable streets, but also transforming and making streets more pedestrian-friendly...


Via Jandira Feijó, Lauren Moss
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Cities: Drivers of Sustainable Human Development & Prosperity

Cities: Drivers of Sustainable Human Development & Prosperity | scatol8® | Scoop.it
As we plan for the future of our planet, it is imperative that we consider the effects of development on both the environment and human populations. A city is only truly sustainable if it uses natural resources efficiently while still fully meeting the needs of its inhabitants and a decent standard of living.

Recently, the UN Human Settlements Program (UN-HABITAT) launched its “State of the World’s Cities Report 2012/2013” which addresses the prosperity of cities. According to the report, the first step to achieving prosperity is to define the goal: What does prosperity mean in 2012? This is a difficult question to answer given the vast disparity of living conditions throughout the world. Additionally, it is imperative that the definition of prosperity today consider the needs of future generations. To this end, UN-Habitat developed a “City Prosperity Index,” which translates the five dimensions of prosperity identified by UN-Habitiat—productivity, infrastructure development, quality of life, equity and social inclusion, environmental sustainability—into measurable indicators (see page 15 of the report).

 

This definition of the prosperous city is consistent with the principles of a smart, sustainable and just city... further reading at the article link


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