Irina Vinnitskaya

Where Does Zoning Fit Into Our Future City Planning?

.GOV – Department of Planning

“Let’s dump the word “zoning,” as in zoning ordinances that govern how land is developed and how buildings often are designed. Land-use regulation is still needed, but zoning increasingly has become a conceptually inappropriate term, an obsolete characterization of how we plan and shape growth.” - Roger K. Lewis 

Zoning, a concept just over a century old, is already becoming an outdated system by which the government regulates development and growth.  Exceptions and loopholes within current zoning legislation prove that city planning is pushing a zoning transformation that reflects the current and future goals and needs of city building.  To determine how zoning and land use needs to evolve we must first assess the intentions of future city building.  

Planners, architects, legislators and community activists have already begun establishing guidelines and ordinances that approach the goals of sustainability and livability.  For example, the AIA has established Local Leaders: Healthier Communities through Design and has made a commitment to the Decade of Design: Global Solutions Challenge. City has come up with Active Design Guidelines: Promoting Physical Activity and Health in Design and its Zone Green initiative in regards to updating its zoning resolution. In addition, Philadelphia has augmented its zoning to include urban farms and community gardens and it is safe to assume that many other cities will follow this precedent.  

So what is it about current zoning codes that makes it so outdated?  Follow us after the break for more.

MIT Collaborates with AIA to Research Solutions for Healthy Urban Futures

Courtesy of Flickr User Sandeep Menon Photography

American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Center for Advanced Urbanism (CAU) have announced a research collaboration to support AIA efforts through the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), Decade of Design, a measure focused on improving the health of urban communities.  As the global population continues to shift toward urban environments, urban conditions of the past century have become too outdated to address the increase in population and pollution.  In order to advance the state of city livability, professionals in the design and planning fields must reconsider how urban environments need to be designed to work optimally in regards to social, economic and health challenges.  MIT’s collaboration with the profession-based organization of the AIA allows the school’s research to reach the professional world for application and development.  

MoMA: Applied Design

Dirk Vander Kooij (Dutch, born 1983) Endless Flow rocking chair. 2011. Architecture & Design Purchase Fund Photo:The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Design saturates every facet of our lives. As the new exhibition states: design is a fundamental tool in helping people respond to change.  Applied Design, running from March 2nd to January 31st, focuses on the various means and methods by which we design and the product of those varied paths that lead to innovation.

3D Printing ProtoHouse 1.0 and ProtoHouse 2.0 / Softkill Design

AA DRL ProtoHouse 1.0 – SoftKill

3D printing technology has made immense leaps in the last few years as equipment and specialized programming has been refined to produced fully occupiable and usable spaces.  In previous articles, ArchDaily has discussed the numerous advances in 3D printing technology and their potential applications. 3D-printed dwellings on the moon made of sand via D-Shape, full-scale rooms via the KamerMaker and a personal printer for your kids called the MakerBot are just some speculative and experimental prototypes that have emerged from extensive research and development.  The designers of the next experiment in 3D printing is design group, Softkill Design, which includes Nicholette Chan, Gilles Retsin, Aaron Silver, and Sophia Tang within the Architectural Association School’s Design Research Lab at the ‘behavioral matter’ studio of Robert Stuart-Smith.  Last year completed ProtoHouse 1.0, a high-resolution prototype of a house printed at 1:33 scale.  Research prototypes were generously supported by Materialise. 

More details on the technology and images of ProtoHouse1.0 after the break.

Ten Points for Liveable Cities: Lessons from Singapore

© Flickr User Chooyutshing

As urban populations expand, people are migrating to city centers in search of economic opportunities, which promise social mobility and access to education, health resources, and jobs.  Nations once considered in the “third world” are making leaps to accommodate growing populations with thoughtful considerations in designing these new urban capitals.  Population trends have shifted considerably and have contributed to some of the densest urban never before seen in history.  The rise in the classification of as “mega-cities” and the problems that such high population densities face speak to the fact that our cities have reached a saturation point that needs to addressing.

, an island nation in the Asian Pacific, is the third densest country in the world. Last year the Center for Livable Cities and the Urban Land Institute participated in a summit of leading planners and policy makers to discuss the steps that Singapore was taking in its development in response to its growing urban populations.  The result of the conference was a list of ten points that contribute to making Singapore a livable high dense city.

Follow us after the break for more on the 10 Points for Singapore.

AIA appoints Mary Ann Lazarus to lead Sustainability and Health Initiative

Haiti Orphanage and Children’s Center and USHBC Partners

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has appointed HOK’s green-building leader , FAIA, to a consulting position as a Resident Fellow.  In this position, Lazarus will help guide and influence a program heavily based in sustainability and health as the AIA implements its ten-year pledge to the Decade of Design: Global Urban Solutions Challenge, a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action.  The purpose of the commitment is to document, envision and implement solutions that leverage the design of urban environments through research, community participation, and design frameworks.  It is a commitment based in the interest of public health with special attention to the use of natural, economic, and human resources.

More about Mary Ann Lazarus’s work and future at the AIA after the break.

San Francisco Paves the Road to Zero Waste

© Flickr user Sudheer G.

Approaching zero- is a matter of changing the way our culture thinks about use and reuse.  It’s not an impossible task, and San Francisco is leading the march to establish a feasible means of enacting public , structuring programs and educating the public on what it means to be “zero-waste”.  With a goal set for 2020, the Bay City hopes to keep 100% of its waste out of landfills.  Mayor Ed Lee estimates that the leading waste management company “Recology” is diverting nearly 80% of trash from landfills to be recycled or turned into compost.  This begins with a public that sets a standard and gains traction as citizens embrace the goals of the city.  Support programs reinforce these guidelines that eventually become habits and a cultural response to treating our environment.

Read on after the break for more on San Francisco’s road to “zero-waste”.

Smart Solution for Compact Living: Tiny Apartments, High Design

How can a small 420 square foot apartment transform into eight comfortable rooms?  It takes smart solutions that incorporates modulation and interior planning that conforms to everyday needs in an increasingly competitive environment of living space.  Founder of Treehugger.com, Graham Hill takes the viewer on a tour of his “Life Edited” apartment that provides a sustainable living solution to compact apartments in urban environments like New York City.  This apartment provides all the amenities necessary with some additional effort of converting rooms to fit everyday needs.  Interested in seeing this apartment transform into a living room, bedroom, kitchen, dining room and guest room? Join us after the break to find out.

Video: Lebbeus Woods Tribute / Steven Holl and Sanford Kwinter

32BNY, in collaboration with Spirit of Space, has relaunched a website in a corner of the internet structured as a videopolemic to explore architectural discourse in a revolutionary way.  The first video in the series is a tribute to the late Lebbeus Woods.  Woods was an aggressive philosophical thinker of architecture and space.  He launched worldy ideas into his architecture through imaginative leaps – exploring , society, ethics and the human condition as it pertained to architectural space in the form of vivid and dynamic drawings.  His work has inspired his contemporaries to think outside of the physical space of architecture.  Steven Holl and Sanford Kwinter discuss some of his ideas and philosophies through his quotes and inspirations.  The video serves as a reminder, and to some a guide, as to how to build upon the philosophy of architecture beyond the physical.

More on the video after the break.

Developing Adaptable Housing for the Elderly and a Path to Sustainability

Maxwan Architects + Urbanists

In recent years there has been a lot of talk in the United States about our , mostly in terms of social security funds and medicare.  We have asked how we should deal with the impending problem that our elderly will outnumber the population that will serve as their caretakers.  While speculations for a solution have generally settled within the realm of the economy, urban planners and architects are asking a different set of questions and looking for solutions regarding how we design.  It is important to note, that while most of the discussion has been framed about the aging “baby-boomer” generation, Jack Rowe – speaking at the symposium for Designing Homes and Neighborhoods for an Aging Population in Washington, DC - pointed out that this concern is a conservative estimate of the bigger problem in our “demographic transformation”.  In fact, the trend is far more expansive; medical advancements and a longer life expectancy mean that for the next few generations each aging population is expected to outlive its parents and will exceed the population of its children.  This makes the issue at hand a more over-arching concern, or as Rowe later states, an issue that all members of society must face.

This is why we must think about architecture and in terms of adaptability for the aging, as we have already starting thinking about it in terms of handicapped accessibility.

More after the break…

East River Blueway Plan / WXY Studio: New York City’s Plan for Flood Barrier Along East River

East River Blueway Plan / WXY Studio

The City of has long awaited renovations to the East River Greenway. Squeezed between the FDR Drive to the west and the river to East, there are a few scattered public parks connected by a path that has been weathered and torn apart over the years. The proposed “Blueway” is a coordinated collaboration – between Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Community Boards 3 and 6, State Assembly Member Brian Kavanaugh, and ’s WXY architecture and - that takes suggestions from the general public to develop a scheme that works within the framework of the existing Greenway and provides specific sites waterfront access, development of wetlands and greater connectivity to the city and its waterways.

The stretch along the Greenway, which is the focus of WXY’s scheme, runs from Midtown East at 38th street to the Brooklyn Bridge. Running along the FDR, this area expands towards the river and finds its way under the highway’s overpass. Unlike the Hudson River Parkway along the West Side Highway, the East River Greenway has meager waterfront access and few piers to facilitate its development.  A study, executed by several city departments in 2011, determined ways to improve amenities along the Greenway and proposed incorporating elements such as ambient lighting and street furniture.  Now the focus has shifted to the river itself to determine ways in which to increase its usability and accessibility   After Hurricane Sandy revealed the vulnerability of the hard edge of the East River, these same design considerations are now being used to create a resistant and effective buffer against future storm surges.

See what’s happening at the East River Blueway Plan after the break.

Governor Cuomo’s Solution for Ravaged Homes in NYC’s Coastal Region

© Governor’s Office / Tim Larsen

After months of debate, the United States Congress has passed a bill that will allocate $51 billion to Hurricane Sandy relief helping the thousands who lost their homes and businesses to the devastating storm last October.   Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that $400 million of the aid will be used to fund ’s buyout program, an initiative to help address the damaged homes and coastline.  The program is two-fold; in part it will help reimburse the property damage caused by the storm, but the initiative has a larger goal, which is to address the nature of coastal flooding and create a barrier that would mitigate the damage created to the coast by storm surges in the future.  Since the storm, there have been many suggestions as to how to prepare for the type of damage brought on by of 2012 and Hurricane Irene of 2011.  These suggestions range from flood gates to barrier reefs. Cuomo’s buyout program, as reported by the Architect’s Newspaper Blog, hopes to encourage residents along vulnerable flood zones to sell their land to the city for the development of a natural coast that would absorb the impact of strong winds and storm surges.

More after the break…

Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A.

YouTube Preview Image

The Getty Trust is partnering with Pacific Standard Time to present 11 individual exhibitions throughout LA’s museums that will explore the history and heritage of the city’s modern architecture and its influential designers.  As musician, photographer and architectural blogger Moby boasts, “LA has the most diverse architecture of any city on the planet”.  Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in LA will explore this diversity that covers post World War II architecture through today with specific points of view ranging in architectural style, influence and decade.  The exhibitions, which will run from April through July 2013, are a follow-up to last year’s Pacific Standard Time: Art in LA, 1945-1980. The focus of the exhibitions will range in scale and cover the monumental and everyday architectural moments that make LA unique.  Exhibitions will present iconic modernist homes and cultural landmarks as well as coffee shops, car washes, and the freeways in addition to  the un-built architectural fantasies of modernism and post-modernism.

Follow us after the break for the eleven exhibitions that will be part of PST’s event.

My Hair is at MoMA PS1 / TempAgency: Kutonotuk & mcdowellespinosa

2013 YAP Finalist: TempAgency

“My Hair is at MoMA PS1″ is exactly what it sounds like.  TempAgency, composed of architecture firms Kutonotuk and mcdowellespinosa, has designed an installation that uses human hair from hair salons and barbershops as architecture.  The finalist for 2013 MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program found inspiration in the material waste to develop a project of cultural and significance.  Join us after the break for more images.

George Square Controversy

George Square Competition Entry / John McAslan + Partners

There has been some controversy over the past few months for the George Square redesign in , Scotland, since we last announced the six shortlisted architecture firms in December.  Following the submission and assessment by a jury in January, the project went through an upheaval when Labour leader of the Glasgow City Council, Gordon Matheson announced that the submitted designs would be scrapped in favor of a “facelift” for the square.  Numerous reports on the Herald Scotland present conflicting arguments for the turn of events and the abrupt change in plans have left the council, jury, firms and the public in discontent.  It is unclear what the status of the project is today, but for the moment it is on hold as the council discusses ways in which to proceed.

Follow us after the break for more.

Projected Increase for Nonresidential Construction in 2013

AIA Consensus Forecast

Late last month, the AIA released a report indicating that nonresidential construction is projected to increase by approximately 5% this year.  While the recovery of both residential and nonresidential construction markets continues to grow slowly, the indication that it is steadily increasing marks a sense of security or stability that owners are beginning to identify in the .  In the commercial and industrial sectors, hotels are seeing the largest projected growth at 15.7%, with retail and office buildings hovering between a 7 to 8% growth rate.  In the institutional sector, construction growth is projected to be highest in health care facilities, which is expected to rise by 4.4%, while public safety spending is expected to decline in 2013.

More on the report after the break.

Brookings Institution Reports University-driven Urban Economies Proposer

WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/ Shortlisted Proposal for Kent State; Click on the photo for more.

Think the best way to promote the economic and creative development of a city is to build stadiums and shopping malls? Think again. In a recent New York Times article, Steve Lohr reveals the findings from a Brookings Institution study that looks into where and why specific cities emerge as hubs of creativity and innovation.  By studying the patent filings of the United States’ 370 metropolitan areas, the study revealed that cities with the most innovation were centers of education and research.  San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, ; Burlington-South Burlington, Vermont.; Rochester, Minnesota; Corvallis, Oregon; and Boulder, Colorado topped the list as the “output of innovation”.  Lohr suggests that this data can help promote policies that encourage urban development for economic feedback.

More after the break.

Registration now open for 2013 AIA National Convention

2013 National Convention

It’s that time of year again: the 2013 AIA National Convention is gearing up to provide architects with the latest technological, conceptual and innovations over the course of a three-day conference in Denver, Colorado.  This year’s theme: Building Leaders, is an opportunity for architects to see leading achievements in the profession as well as build upon their own knowledge.