It’s official: Taipei has been selected as the 2016 World Design Capital (WDC). This doesn’t come by surprise, as back in August they were the only city selected by International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) to move onto the competition’s final round.
The city campaigned under the slogan “Adaptive City: Design in Motion,” focusing on how design can improve the living standards of their citizens. To strengthen their campaign, officials proposed 20 projects under the “Public Policy by Design” program that intended to strengthen the connection between designers, the public and funders. Over 600 workshops have already been conducted, encouraging collaboration between the city’s top officials and design professionals, and many more are scheduled to take place.
Jeff Speck, the city planner and architectural designer best known for advocating smart and sustainable growth, was recently interviewed by MSNBC to discuss the key to success for future cities: walkability. It is no secret that both millennials and the aging population have expressed an overwhelming desire to live in a walkable, urban hub. Though many major cities across the U.S. have embraced this philosophy, some are lagging behind. It is becoming increasingly apparent that a city’s walkability will have a major influence on the city’s competitiveness in the near future.
Watch the interview above to find out the four keys to having a great walkable city.
Filmed at TEDxToronto in September 2013, this talk by architect, educator and theorist Rodolphe el‐Khoury is based on the inevitable “internet of things.” As TEDxToronto described, “More than ever before, the line between the digital and real worlds is increasingly blurred. Historically, computers and devices have functioned as a separate layer within our lives… In this world, our homes, workplaces, and the objects within them will all be digitally connected, intelligent, and responsive.” It is only a matter of time.
Cities are diverse places, home to a rich spectrum of people and lifestyles. Chris Downey, however, believes that there are only two types of people, “those with disabilities and those that haven’t quite found theirs yet.” Downey, a distinguished architect of over twenty years, lost his eyesight four years ago and found a new way of seeing the world. “If you design for the blind in mind, you get a city that is robust, accessible, well-connected…a more inclusive, more equitable city for all.” Hear his story, contrasting his daily life before and after this newly found “outsight.”
By now, we have all heard the mantra. In twenty years time, the world’s cities will have grown from three to five billion people, forty percent of these urban dwellers will be living at or below the poverty line facing the constant threat of homelessness – scary statistics and even scarier implications.
ECOnnect, a Holland-based design firm, envisions a solution for these future housing shortages, one that could build a one-million-inhabitant city per week for the next twenty years for $10,000 per family. Peter Stoutjesdijk, architect at ECOnnect, created the concept after widespread devastation in Haiti caused by a massive earthquake left of hundreds of thousands of people homeless depending on tents for temporary relief.
According to the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the number of people aged over 60 is expected to increase by 40% over the next twenty years, suggesting that “our post-retirement years will be longer and healthier.” There is no doubt, therefore, that people in this age group will have a greater economic, social and political power – but how will this affect our cities?
Think traffic is bad now? One billion cars are already on the road today and another billion is expected to join in the coming decade. Pollution and stressful commuting is at an all time high, empowering many politicians and bicycle activists to declare war on the multi-billion dollar car industry which has profoundly impacted city development worldwide.
Bikes vs. Cars is a feature-length, in-progress film that hopes to be part of the global movement by shedding light on the city’s car-centric past and bike-friendly future. Learn more and join the cause at the Bikes vs Cars Kickstarter Campaign website.
For more, read “Why Cycle Cities Are the Future.”
The BMW Guggenheim Lab, a mobile think-tank focused on the study of urban life, has returned to New York City for its homecoming exhibition currently on view at the Guggenheim Museum till January 5, 2014. After two years of research and touring Berlin and Mumbai, the lab aims to present major urban themes in art, architecture, education, science, sustainability and technology.”100 Urban Trends: A Glossary of Ideas” is a compilation of definitions of the most pressing issues in urban centers today, contextualized to reflect how different cities interpret them. Architects, planners and students take note: From street facades to bailouts, gentrification to trash mapping, this resource archives years of discussion into one user-friendly interface. Explore the glossary, here.
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has collaborated with Vienna’s Museum of Applied Arts (MAK) to launch a 14-month initiative that will examine new architectural possibilities that address the rapid and uneven growth of six global metropolises: New York, Rio de Janeiro, Mumbai, Lagos, Hong Kong, and Istanbul.
Organized by Pedro Gadanho, Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for Expanding Megacities enlists six interdisciplinary teams of international architecture and urbanism scholars, experts, and practitioners to participate in a series of workshops, with each team focusing on a specific city.
When national leaders get too caught up in political games to make real change, who steps in? Lately, cities have been setting the pace for policy change, tackling issues from climate change to immigration. This development, termed “glocalization,” seems to be a growing trend, and indicates a shift of influence from the national to the local level. The Atlantic‘s Emma Green explains and explores the term, and lays out why mayors might be the ones to change our world. Read the full article here.
A new study, published in Nature Climate Change, has compiled a list of cities most vulnerable to coastal flooding. Taking in consideration elevation, population distribution and available flood protection from 136 coastal cities worldwide, in addition to forecasts of sea level rise and ground sinking due to groundwater depletion, the study determines that if no mitigating steps are taken, coastal flooding will cause damage totaling $1 trillion annually by the year 2050.
Topping the list as the most vulnerable city is Guangzhou, China, followed by Mumbai and Kolkata in India, Guayaquil, Ecuador and Shenzen, China. Almost all cities at the highest risk of flooding damage were in North America or Asia.
The top 20 most vulnerable cities are:
The world’s biggest design prize, INDEX: Award has announced their 2013 recipients. From the Danish capital’s pioneering plan of how to address the changing climate to a Dutch take on intelligent roads of the future, each of the five recipients will receive a €100,000 award to implement their ideas which all offer sustainable solutions to global challenges.
The INDEX: Award 2013 recipients are:
Danish practice ADEPT has won an international, invited competition to master plan the 17KM2 site of Laiyan New Town and Binjian District in Hengyang, China. Their winning proposal, “Green Loops City” was lauded for developing an innovative and sustainable way to accommodate rapid urban growth while preserving Hengyang’s cultural heritage and lush surrounding landscape.
Aidi Su from ADEPT stated: “Much of Hengyang’s cultural and natural resources are still very much intact when compared to other Chinese cities facing rapid urban development. This is an incredible opportunity for us to make a difference in Chinese cities.”
What was once a symbol of Caracas’ bright financial future is now the world’s tallest slum: Venezuela’s Tower of David. Squatters took over this unfinished 45-story skyscraper in the early 1990s, after its construction was stopped due to a banking crisis and the sudden death of the tower’s namesake, David Brillembourg.
Now, as the government is grappling with a citywide housing shortage, many residents have spent most of their life within the walls of David. And despite the tower’s reputation as being a hotbed of crime, residents have managed to build a self-sustaining community complete with a communal electrical grid and aqueduct water system.
Few cameras have been allowed into the depths of the tower, so watch as Vocativ captures a rare in-depth access to residents’ daily lives.
Sociologist Saskia Sassen‘s researches and writes about the social, economic and political dimensions of globalization, immigration, and networked technologies in cities around the globe. Her books and writings—published in over sixteen languages—have sustained the interests of architects and planners who seek to better understand the city via the systemic conditions that find expression in the reality of urban space.
Now actively involved in teaching Columbia University, we caught up with Sassen at the Arquine Congress in Mexico City, where she shared some interesting views on the role of architects, her contemplations on the future of the city, and her thoughts on the impact of the internet on the city.
Check out a full transcript of our interview with Sassen after the break.
Since Mayor Bloomberg took office in 2001, the fabric of New York City has been in constant flux. In just 12 years, Bloomberg has lead an effort to rezone 37 percent of the city to create opportunities for high-density growth, as well as aided the construction 40,000 new buildings and 450 miles of bike lanes. Putting these efforts in perspective, the New York Times has released the interactive feature “Reshaping New York” that compares statistics with drastic ‘before and after’ comparisons. Check it out and read our report on Bloomberg’s lasting affect on the Empire State here.
Spirit of Space has shared with us their most recent collaboration with Phil Enquist of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill: Art in the City. Pairing powerful quotes with imagery from the Chicago’s most prominent works, the film “expresses the vitality and vibrance that public art can bring to the urban environment by experientially including the viewer in the making of place.” As Spirit of Space describes, “The art is a reflection of the City, the art becomes a part of the City, the art is instrumental in making the City.”
Featured works include Picasso’s sculpture for Daley Plaza, along with Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate and Jaume Plensa’s Crown Fountain in Millennium Park.