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Doggerel Writing Contest: Undercelebrated Ideas for Cities

18:00 - 20 April, 2017
Doggerel Writing Contest: Undercelebrated Ideas for Cities

Doggerel, the online magazine of Arup in the Americas, is pleased to announce its 2017 Writing Contest! The topic: Describe an undercelebrated idea with great potential to shape better cities. Participation is open to design professionals, journalists, students, and anyone with an interest in the built environment. The grand prize winner will be awarded US$1,000, with up to two runners-up winning US$250 each. Winning submissions will also be published on Doggerel.

Call for Submissions: Vol. 24: Spaces of Struggle

07:00 - 17 April, 2017
Call for Submissions: Vol. 24: Spaces of Struggle, Spaces of Struggle
Spaces of Struggle

Urban regions are catalysts of change. They foster pragmatic politics that enables more progressive governance. “Progress,” however, has to contend with histories and structures that grew from exclusionary logic, uneven development, and the systematic exploitation of labor. Progress does not happen on its own; it emerges from the continued efforts of activists, engaged citizens, intellectuals, and professionals that strive for a more just city. It requires developing common platforms to facilitate the conflicts that inevitably come with differences. Spaces of Struggle is about creating spaces that harness differences and transforms them into momentum for progressive change.

Download High Resolution World City Maps for CAD

12:00 - 12 April, 2017

Mapacad is a website that offers downloads of .dwgs of dozens of cities. With 200 metropolises in their database, the founders have shared a set of their most-downloaded cities.  

The files contain closed polyline layers for buildings, streets, highways, city limits, and geographical data--all ready for use in CAD programs like Autocad, Rhino, BricsCad and SketchUp. 

Three Key Elements Needed to Revitalize Public Spaces and Promote Urban Life

08:00 - 24 March, 2017
Three Key Elements Needed to Revitalize Public Spaces and Promote Urban Life, Parque Cheonggyecheon en Seúl, Corea del Sur. © longzijun, vía Flickr
Parque Cheonggyecheon en Seúl, Corea del Sur. © longzijun, vía Flickr

The importance of public spaces in urban life is an issue that has been apparent since ancient Greece and is still with us today. Opportunities to meet and exchange ideas in these spaces are able to influence how the inhabitants participate in the development of their city, and occur in greater instances when public spaces are accessible to everyone.

However, in modern societies, the strategic role of these spaces has been limited. According to The City Fix, a blog on sustainable urban planning, one of the main reasons for this is the overabundance of automobiles. In fact, according to one study by the Brazilian Institute for Energy and the Environment, 70% of public spaces in urban centers are taken up by roadways and other spaces for cars, while car owners make up only around 20 to 40 percent of the city’s population.

How can public spaces be recovered to promote urban life? We discuss three important factors below.

6 Reasons Cities Are Located Where They Are

08:00 - 10 March, 2017
 6 Reasons Cities Are Located Where They Are, New York Skyline © Flickr user nehle. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
New York Skyline © Flickr user nehle. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Frank Lloyd Wright once described cities as both ‘our glory and our menace’. With more than half of the world’s population now living in cities, architects are becoming increasingly interested in their origins. Many fields of historical, geographical, and spatial research are devoted to exploring the evolution of cities, revealing a set of similarities across the globe. In a recent video, Wendover Productions described a common set of characteristics linking some of our largest cities, six of which we have outlined below. 

Taking the six factors below into account, where is the perfect ‘world city’? Watch the video after the break:

Knight Cities Challenge Names 2017 Finalists

16:30 - 17 January, 2017

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced the names of the 144 finalists in the 2017 edition of the Knight Cities Challenge, a nationwide call for innovative ideas aimed at transforming the organizations’ 26 member communities into more vibrant places to live and work. Open to innovators and designers from any field, the challenge requested submissions that responded to a simple prompt: What’s your best idea to make cities more successful?

These Are the 3 Bus Stop Types Needed For Sustainable Transit Solutions

08:00 - 7 December, 2016
These Are the 3 Bus Stop Types Needed For Sustainable Transit Solutions, © NACTO
© NACTO

The latest publication of the National Association of City Transportation Officials, NACTO, is the "Transit Street Design Guide" in which tips and proposals are presented on how to improve streets through urban design.

The ideas are centered on prioritizing sustainable mobility so that both the member cities of the organization and those that have access to this document can improve their practices in relation to public spaces, mobility, and transportation. 

The Economic and Social Power of Walkable Cities

08:00 - 5 December, 2016
The Economic and Social Power of Walkable Cities, New York, USA. Image © Flickr User: Jeffrey Zeldman. Licence CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
New York, USA. Image © Flickr User: Jeffrey Zeldman. Licence CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Over the last few years, the way Americans move around has changed remarkably, especially among young people. Previously the automobile was people’s preferred, if not the only, option. Now they are choosing to walk, bike, or use public transport according to recent studies.

This difference in preferred transportation methods has generated many benefits not only for residents but also for cities, in both economic and social terms. 

6 Cities That Have Transformed Their Highways Into Urban Parks

08:00 - 1 December, 2016
6 Cities That Have Transformed Their Highways Into Urban Parks, Courtesy of Unknown
Courtesy of Unknown

Building a highway in a city is often thought of as a solution to traffic congestion. However, the induced demand theory has shown that when drivers have more routes, they choose to continue using this medium instead of using public transport or a bicycle, and as a result, congestion doesn’t decrease.

As a result, some cities have chosen to remove spaces designated for cars and turn what was once a highway into urban parks and less congested streets. 

Here we have six examples, some have already been completed, while a few are still under construction. To the surprise of some, most of the projects are in the US, which reflects that American designers are looking into further studying European transport policies. 

Time for Play: Why Architecture Should Take Happiness Seriously

03:00 - 28 September, 2016
Time for Play: Why Architecture Should Take Happiness Seriously, Courtesy of Unknown
Courtesy of Unknown

Over the last 15 years AZC’s architectural work has developed through a diverse range of experiences. This book, Time for Play, presents exhibition pavilions, temporary installations, and ideas competitions – a mix of built and unbuilt projects.

Before/After: 20 Images of Buenos Aires' Changing Cityscapes

14:00 - 23 September, 2016

Buenos Aires' contemporary urban landscape as we know it today provides a tempered mix of historical and recent construction projects. As one of the most beautiful cities in South America, it's wide boulevards and grand buildings, based on European models, have morphed to embrace the needs of a modern metropolis. 

These images show just how profoundly time affects our cities (and how centuries-old foliage can powerfully transform spatial perception).  

Browse the 20 interactive images of Buenos Aires before and after. 

Why Current Sustainability Metrics Are Short-Changing Non-Western Cities

09:30 - 9 September, 2016
Why Current Sustainability Metrics Are Short-Changing Non-Western Cities, The High Line in New York, by James Corner Field Operations with Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Amenities such as greenways are good for sustainability on a local level, but they have negative effects on a wider level that most cities fail to measure. Image © Iwan Baan, 2014 (Section 3)
The High Line in New York, by James Corner Field Operations with Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Amenities such as greenways are good for sustainability on a local level, but they have negative effects on a wider level that most cities fail to measure. Image © Iwan Baan, 2014 (Section 3)

This article was originally published in Metropolis Magazine as "When It Comes to Sustainability, We're Ranking Our Cities Wrong."

A recent article published in Nature makes a bold claim: we're analyzing our cities completely wrong. Professors David Wachsmuth, Aldana Cohen, and Hillary Angelo argue that, for too long, we have defined sustainability too narrowly, only looking at environmental impact on a neighborhood or city scale rather than a regional or global scale. As a result, we have measured our cities in ways that are inherently biased towards wealthy cities, and completely ignored the negative impacts our so-called "sustainable," post-industrial cities have on the rest of the world.Metropolis editor Vanessa Quirk spoke with Professor Wachsmuth to learn more about the unintended knock-on effects of going "green," the importance of consumption-based carbon counting, and why policy-makers should be more attentive to the effects of "environmental gentrification."

Watch Almost 6,000 Years of Human Urbanization Unfold Before Your Eyes in This Video

09:40 - 9 July, 2016

From the Cradle of Civilization in ancient Mesopotamia to the modern urban explosion in China, cities are among the most obvious and dramatic evidence of human existence. In a recent paper published in Scientific Data, a team led by Yale University researcher Meredith Reba mapped the emergence of cities between 3,700 BC and 2,000 AD based on when their populations were first recorded in historical accounts.

Taking the data from this study, Max Galka of Metrocosm has produced this fascinating animation showing the history of cities worldwide. "Most datasets available go back only a few years or decades at most. This is the first one I've seen that covers 6 millennia," Galka told CityLab. "I'm a big fan of history, so after reading the study, I thought it would be interesting to visualize the data and see if it offers some perspective." The steady flow of time may seem a little slow at first, but stick with it through the early BC years and the shifts in urban development start to get intriguing. And—spoiler alert—buckle up as you approach the 20th century.

These Are the World's Oldest Cities

14:00 - 14 June, 2016
These Are the World's Oldest Cities, Jericho, Palestinian Territories, 9,000 BC. Image Courtesy of Wikimedia User: Dr. Avishai Teicher Pikiwiki Israel licensed under CC BY 3.0
Jericho, Palestinian Territories, 9,000 BC. Image Courtesy of Wikimedia User: Dr. Avishai Teicher Pikiwiki Israel licensed under CC BY 3.0

Have you ever wondered which are humanity's oldest cities? Matador Network has compiled a list of the world's ancient metropolises, and perhaps unsurprisingly, nearly all of them are within or adjacent to the Fertile Crescent, a moon-shaped region running from the Persian Gulf through what is today the south of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and the Nile River Delta in Egypt. With settings that range from hamlets on the road less traveled, like Susa, Iran, and Sidon, Lebanon, to cities that hold international renown as trade and migratory crossroads, like Beirut and Damascus, these places share an ability to endure through the highs and lows of fortune and conflict. This factor of longevity is all the more remarkable considering that the youngest locales date from 3,000 BC and others extend back another 6,000 years.

Find the complete list of cities on Matador Network, here.

Urban95 Challenge: Designing Cities That Support Healthy Child Development

07:00 - 10 June, 2016
Urban95 Challenge: Designing Cities That Support Healthy Child Development, Urban95 Challenge: Designing Cities that support Healthy Child Development
Urban95 Challenge: Designing Cities that support Healthy Child Development

Do you have an idea to improve the lives of young children in cities? How would you organise neighbourhoods, public space, green areas, housing, services and transportation? What else would you change or improve? The Bernard van Leer Foundation will invest in promising small projects that benefit young children in cities from the prenatal period up to the age of five. Applications are open to all organisations and individuals, from any country.

With Recent Innovations, Where Will Elevators Take Us Next?

09:30 - 27 May, 2016
With Recent Innovations, Where Will Elevators Take Us Next?

Many technological advancements have changed the way we design in the past 150 years, but perhaps none has had a greater impact than the invention of the passenger elevator. Prior to Elisha Otis’ design for the elevator safety brake in 1853, buildings rarely reached 7 stories. Since then, buildings have only been growing taller and taller. In 2009, the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, maxed out at 163 floors (serviced by Otis elevators). Though a century and half separates those milestones, in that time elevator technology has actually changed relatively little - until recently.

Monocle 24's The Urbanist: Live (2016)

16:00 - 18 May, 2016
Monocle 24's The Urbanist: Live (2016), The Urbanist LIVE - Monocle
The Urbanist LIVE - Monocle

Join us for this special live episode of The Urbanist at our Marylebone HQ, where Monocle editor Andrew Tuck hands over the floor to city-planners, policy-makers and urban leaders to discuss how to build a better London. How would you ​fix the capital? We’ll look at transport, culture, housing, business, the night-time economy and much more. Be part of the debate following the election of the city’s new mayor.

Malkit Shoshan on How the City is a Shared Ground for the Instruments of War and Peace

10:45 - 17 May, 2016
Malkit Shoshan on How the City is a Shared Ground for the Instruments of War and Peace, Initial set-up, Camp Castor, Gao (Mali). Image © The Dutch Ministry of Defense
Initial set-up, Camp Castor, Gao (Mali). Image © The Dutch Ministry of Defense

Can architects have a truly active role in pressing social problems? Malkit Shoshan, the curator of the Dutch Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale, thinks so. Her career is evidence of this: advocating for the incorporation of a fourth 'D' in the criteria of the UN (Defence, Diplomacy and Development) in its peacekeeping missions around the world, Shoshan has sat at the same table as military engineers and policy makers to analyze the urban impact peacekeepers have left around the world.

For the Dutch Pavilion, Shoshan has focused on the case of the joint mission of the Netherlands and the UN in Gao (Mali). In 2012, Gao was declared capital of the Independent State of Azawad, a nation not recognized by the international authorities, following Mali's Tuareg rebellion. "Although [these peacekeeping missions] occupy large plots of land in hundreds of different cities around the world, it is rarely discussed or addressed by our profession," says Soshan in the following interview.

We spoke with the curator of the Dutch pavilion after her recent visit to Mali to discuss the principles of the Netherlands in the next Venice Biennale; the impact of military drones in public spaces and why, according Shoshan, there is a close relationship between architecture, public policy and ideology. "[With design,] we can make resources available to communities that are exhausted by militarized conflicts, long periods of drought, famine and disease," she says.