Video: Safer Crossings for Cars, Bicycles and Pedestrians

Well-designed, protected bike lanes are not only the desire for riders, but a necessity for to offer sustainable transport. Bikes sales are on the rise and it is imperative that meet the growing demand. As Portland-based planner Nick Falbo describes: “If your city is designed so that you may bike instead of drive, it would be a happier, healthier place to live.” With that in mind, Falbo has revealed a systematic proposal that can make the intersections safer for bicyclists, cars and pedestrians.

Fours steps for safer crossings, after the break…

NYU and Hudson Yards to Use Big Data to Improve Cities

Phase One Visualisation © Nelson Byrd Woltz; Courtesy of Hudson Yards

New York University’s Center for Urban Science and Progress has teamed up with the developers of Hudson Yards to transform the future 28-acre mixed-use neighborhood into the nations first “quantified community.” As Crain’s New York reports, the aim is to “use big data to make better places to live.” Information, from pedestrian traffic to energy production and resident activity levels, will be collected in order to study how can run efficiently and improve quality of living. You can read more on the subject, here.

TED Talk: How Architectural Innovations Migrate Across Borders / Teddy Cruz

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In this TED talk, architect and urbanist urges us to rethink urban growth. Sharing lessons from the slums of , Cruz denounces the “stupid” and consumption-driven ways in which our cities have been expanding and declares that the future depends on the reorganization of social economic relations.

Stoss + SHoP Beat Out Bofill, OMA for Downtown Dallas Re-Design

© Stoss + SHoP, Courtesy of A/N

The results are in: Dallas has selected Stoss + SHoP’s “Hyper Density Hyper Landscape” (HDHL) over finalists Ricardo Bofill and +AMO to reunite its downtown with the neighboring Trinity River. The winning team’s pragmatic approach aims to activates the region’s “full potential” by introducing an alternating “grid-green” development that will transform 176 acres into three new “dynamic, mixed-used” neighborhoods.

“The idea is very clear and compelling,” stated the jury. “There’s much left to be resolved in details but the diagram of the green coming into the city and the city going into the Trinity is a very powerful diagram that should become a strategy for managing change as the community moves forward.”

Imagine 2020: Denver Launches Arts-First Public Policy

Screen shot from Cristobal Palma’s documentation of ’s Biennial of the Americas 2013 exhibition. Click the image to view.

The City of Denver has launched “Imagine 2020,” a pro-arts cultural plan that will pave the way for more city-wide “art opportunities” over the next seven years. According to the Denver Post, this initiative will include the revision of “plans, permits and codes” to allow for more installations, offer small micro-art grants for residents and neighborhoods, and establish large public gathering places throughout the city. You can learn more, here.

TED Talk: 10 Reasons that Future Cities Will Float

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In his talk at TEDx Vilnius, Koen Olthuis compares the of today with those at the turn of the 20th century: ” are not full, we just have to search for new space… they made elevators and built a vertical city. We have to do exactly the same, but our generation has to look at water.” With that in mind he looks at the top 10 reasons that floating cities are becoming a more popular idea, including: they provide solutions for topical issues such as flooding and sustainability; they can be used as ‘plug in’ travelling global amenities, useful for things like Olympic Stadiums; or could even allow us to rearrange urban areas.

VIDEO: The Floating Metropolis That Could Support Brazil’s Offshore Oil Rigs

In Brazil, the offshore oil mining industry is expanding. Unfortunately for oil companies though, it’s expanding away from the coast, as new oil deposits are found further and further from land – so far, in fact, that they’re outside the range of the helicopters that usually transport workers to and from the rigs. That’s why Rice University students took on the challenge of designing “Drift & Drive,” a floating community where workers and their families could stay for extended periods of time, eliminating the inconvenience of the usual “two weeks on, two weeks off” cycle.

The project won the Odebrecht Award last year, and now one of the largest petrochemical companies in , Petrobras, is working on a plan to implement elements of the design.

Read on after the break for more about how the project functions

The Indicator: The Slum Exotic and the Persistence of Hong Kong’s Walled City

© Greg Girard and Ian Lambot

Whenever I see sensational exposes on the supposedly sublime spatial intensity of Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City (demolished in 1994), they strike me as nothing more than colonial fantasies that have little to do with the reality of living in the midst of one of the world’s cruelest . You see the Walled City pop up constantly like it’s still a valid or even interesting subject. This informal settlement has been diagramed, photographed, and written about for decades from an aesthetic point of view, rendering its victimized and oppressed inhabitants all but invisible. Not to say that this wasn’t home to a lot of people and that no “fond memories” were formed there, but still, like all , it was a tough place to live, fraught with contradictions in the haze of hope for a better life.

VIDEO: What We Can Learn From Tall Buildings

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What do you think the North American, Asian and Western European tall building communities most need to learn from each other? This is precisely what the Center on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) sat down to ask five leading architects, whose responses formed an eclectic and meaningful overview on the state of tall building worldwide. As Rem Koolhaas noted, each region has their own journey that is worth understanding, such as the Arab world’s transition from “extravagance to rationality” or Asia’s hyper-focus on project realization. However, as James Goettsch points out, “not every building has to be something remarkable.” It’s alright for some buildings to be nothing more than “good citizens.”

Watch all five responses in the short above.

Spectrum Magazine Spotlights MIT’s Cross-Disciplinary Research into Cities

Fluid Crystallization, a project by Skylar Tibbits which informed his investigation of 4D printing. Image Courtesy of The Self-Assembly Lab,

Spectrum Magazine, an annual publication by MIT to highlight the work of a cross-section of their professors and alumni, has recently released its 2014 edition. This year, the focus is on cities, with a great selection of architecture, planning and technology based contributions. You can download a pdf of the magazine here – or read on after the break for links to some articles of note.

The Best Future Cities Presented on Film

A still from “Metropolis”, perhaps the archetypal futuristic city film. Image

From 1927′s Metropolis to 2002′s Minority Report, this article on the Guardian Cities explores film’s futuristic utopias, dystopias, and those somewhere in-between – and asks: which of these cities would be safest? Most suited to under-30s? The best to live in? You can find out by reading the article here.

Snow Reveals Opportunities for Public Space

Image via This Old City.

Traffic imprints found in Philadelphia’s record snowfall has revealed some clever opportunities for . As reported by This Old City, snow formations have carved examples of unused streetscape that could be easily reclaimed as pedestrian space. This would not only improve traffic safety, but would also enhance the city’s and desirability. Learn more and see examples here.

Four Reasons Biking is Good For Business

Biking down San Francisco’s Market Street. Image © Flickr CC User Steven Vance

Aside from the environmental and health benefits provided by biking, cycle cities are proving to be profitable, which has begun to attract support from many US business leaders. Not only do bike-friendly streets increase the visibility and desirability of real estate, they also reduce the need to waste money (and space) on ample . In addition to this, as the Guardian’s Michael Andersen points out, bicyclists are the “perfect customer: the kind that comes back again and again.” Learn why else biking is good for business here.

Michael Bloomberg Named U.N. Envoy for Cities and Climate Change

NYC. Image © CC Flickr User Arturo Yee

Former New York mayor has been appointed to be the U.N. special envoy for and climate change. Upon receiving the news, Bloomberg tweeted: “ are taking measurable action to reduce emissions, emerging as leaders in the battle against climate change… I look forward to working with around the world and the UN to accelerate progress [to combat global warming].” You can read more here on USNews.

Reviewing RIBA’s City Health Report: Could Le Corbusier Have Been Right?

London’s Olympic Park came replete with plenty of green . Image © Anthony Charlton

The RIBA‘s recent report “City Health Check: How Design Can Save Lives and Money” looks at the relationship between city planning and public health, surveying the UK‘s 9 largest in a bid to improve public health and thereby save money for the National Health Service. The report includes useful information for city planners, such as the idea that in general, it is quality and not quantity of public space that is the biggest factor when it comes to encouraging people to walk instead of taking transport.

Read on for more of the results of the report – and analysis of these results – after the break

Four Practices Re-Envision Parking in Long Island Downtowns

Parks and Rides. Image © Roger Sherman Architecture + Urban Design and the Long Island Index

Long Island’s downtowns have more than 4,000 acres of surface area dedicated to parking lots. That’s roughly 6.5 square miles of prime real estate, a phenomenon quite common in most American . When necessary, these lots are often exchanged for a standard “set of concrete shelves” that share little to no connection with their surroundings. This leads to the question, why must parking garages be so monofunctional and, well, ugly?

To help solve this nationwide issue, the Long Island Index challenged four leading architectural firms to envision a more innovative way to free up surface lot space in four Long Island communities.

See what they came up with, after the break…

Why Do Slums Persist in Prosperity?

Aerial view over Mumbia. Image © Flickr CC User Cactus Bones

In a recent article for the Atlantic Cities, Richard Florida examines some new research from MIT that criticizes the idea that are a natural stage in the modernization of , showing that many slums continue to persist and even grow in cities/countries experiencing increased prosperity. Rather than economic growth, argues Florida, accountable governments and institutions make much more of an impact on slum development. You can read the full article here.

The Guardian Launches Guardian Cities

View of New York. Image © Flickr CC User Chris Chabot

Earlier this week, launched its new Cities website, which – as discussed by Oliver Wainwright in his opening article will be “an open platform for critical discussion and debate about the issues facing the world’s metropolitan centres”. In this introduction, Wainwright offers a fast-paced rundown of some of the major challenges facing , from technology to transport, housing to high streets, and economic to environmental disasters. You can read his full article here.