For the past fifteen years, global headlines have depicted, through harrowing imagery, the effects of war on cities across the Middle East. An inevitable fracturing of law and order leads to an explosion of crime which we imagine could not be tolerated in a region at peace. However, when cities in war zones are set aside, an overwhelming yet underreported narrative emerges – 86% of the world’s most dangerous cities are in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Citymapper, which is just over five years old, has become the go-to mobility app for the majority of the world's major cities. It's strength lies in its accuracy and integration: the app parses local data and always seems to deliver the fastest route, even in comparison to its leviathan, data-rich competitors – Google Maps and Apple Maps. Having always focused their attention on public transport, as opposed to cars and taxis, Citymapper has become embedded into the way large amounts of urbanites navigate cities both familiar and foreign. As of today, they are building buses—and bus routes—of their own.
What’s so great about the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world? Probably the fact that their societies have been evolving in one unbroken series of eras, with ever-changing values and styles that have, among other things, given rise to architectural memories of their long histories. These cities aren’t like the archeological sites we visit to see how people lived thousands of years ago; they are the exact places people lived thousands of years ago, places where people are still living today, with their rich histories buried under layers of paint and concrete instead of earth.
With ancient cities found in regions around the world, the variety of architectural treasures that can be found in these cities is vast. To give you a taste of their diversity, here is a selection of 18 of the oldest continually inhabited cities from various regions of the world, ranging from youngest to oldest, with a small snippet of their various architectural puzzles.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.