Cinema and the City: 10 Films Starring Cities

06:00 - 21 March, 2016
Cinema and the City: 10 Films Starring Cities, Asas do Desejo, Wim Wenders (1987)
Asas do Desejo, Wim Wenders (1987)

The city has been explored as a theme in movies since the early days of cinema, appearing as both a setting and a protagonist in films by renowned directors like Fritz Lang, Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Roberto Rossellini and Quentin Tarantino. In one of the first films ever made, Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat (1925), the Lumière brothers already show the modern urban environment as an important element and part of the contextualization.

Yet the cinema and the city have an extensive relationship, each influencing one another. The influence of architecture (especially modern) in the settings and cities of films can be seen in movies like Jacques Tati’s My Uncle (1958) and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982), while the influence of cinema in architecture and buildings can be seen in the work of architects like Rem Koolhaas, Jean Nouvel and Bernard Tschumi.

We have compiled a list of 10 films in which the city plays a much more important role than just the mere setting, acting as a true protagonist of the plot. 

AIPH International Green City Conference

18:00 - 2 March, 2016
AIPH International Green City Conference

AIPH and Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA) invites all those with an interest in making our cities healthier and happier to join them in Vancouver, Canada on 16-18 March 2016 for the AIPH International Green City Conference, sponsored by TD Canada. The event will be held in conjunction with the AIPH Spring Meetings, the ELCA Board Meetings and the Landscape Canada Summit. The conference will give delegates a chance to see innovations in urban green infrastructure and planning on a global scale. 

Asia Pacific Architecture Forum

16:00 - 22 February, 2016
Asia Pacific Architecture Forum

Australia to host landmark gathering of architects from Asia Pacific. As the Asia Pacific experiences unprecedented urban growth, architects will play a critical role in shaping the future of cities across the region. The diversity of its people and countries will be explored in the Asia Pacific Architecture Forum, taking place in Brisbane from 1 to 14 March 2016.

ASF-UK Symposium: Designing In Uncertain Global Times

16:30 - 4 February, 2016
ASF-UK Symposium:  Designing In Uncertain Global Times

Join ASF-UK for a one day symposium to explore how built environment practitioners can respond to emerging global challenges in cities. With highly interactive sessions throughout the day, we will test and discuss different skills, approaches and knowledge that can ‘challenge practice’ in order to design in uncertain global times. The day will be a great opportunity to expand your knowledge of working in this sector, to network with others in this field and a chance to discover ways in which to engage with ASF-UK. The event will end with a reflection by practitioners involved in innovative forms of practice in the UK and around the world.

The Spirit of Cities Captured in Collage

16:00 - 31 January, 2016
SE / Norrland. Image Courtesy of Anastasia Savinova
SE / Norrland. Image Courtesy of Anastasia Savinova

Sweden based visual artist, Anastasia Savinova, has created a series of collages that seek to capture the spirit of cities. Titled “Genius Loci,” her collages form a big house that is composed of many buildings characteristic of each city, visualizing the way of life, the atmosphere, and the feeling of each place. Photographs of architecture are the foundational components of her art work, representing the feeling as a whole.

Silo / RU . Image Courtesy of Anastasia Savinova France. Image Courtesy of Anastasia Savinova Denmark / Copenhagen. Image Courtesy of Anastasia Savinova SE / Sweden / Dalarna. Image Courtesy of Anastasia Savinova +14

How Schønherr is Transforming Aarhus with Experimental Urban Interventions

08:00 - 30 January, 2016
How Schønherr is Transforming Aarhus with Experimental Urban Interventions, The City Park / Schønherr. Image © Martin Dam Kristensen for Aarhus Festival
The City Park / Schønherr. Image © Martin Dam Kristensen for Aarhus Festival

Since 2010, the Danish architects from Schønherr have been developing a series of large-scale urban interventions for the Aarhus Festival, the largest cultural festival in Denmark. These temporary projects have transformed the streets and parks into extraordinary public spaces, changing the natural topography of the city to attract citizens and bring them together.

We present their last four projects: "The Forest" (2010), "The City Park" (2012), "The Plaza" (2014) and "Bishops Square" (to be completed this 2016).

The City Park / Schønherr. Image © Martin Dam Kristensen for Aarhus Festival The Plaza / Schønherr. Image © Martin Schubert The City Park / Schønherr. Image © Martin Dam Kristensen for Aarhus Festival The Plaza / Schønherr. Image © Martin Schubert +49

Wear Your Favorite City on Your Finger with These Architectural Rings

14:00 - 23 January, 2016
Wear Your Favorite City on Your Finger with These Architectural Rings, via Colossal
via Colossal

Have you ever fallen in love with a city, and wished you could carry the image of the skyline with you everywhere you go? Now you can turn that longing into a reality with these cityscape-inspired rings by North Carolina-based jewelry maker, Ola Shekhtman.

158 Finalists Named in Knight Cities Challenge

14:00 - 16 January, 2016
158 Finalists Named in Knight Cities Challenge, 2015 Winning Entry by Jacques Gaffigan. Image Courtesy of The Knight Foundation
2015 Winning Entry by Jacques Gaffigan. Image Courtesy of The Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced the names of the 158 finalists in the Knight Cities Challenge. The nationwide call was for innovative ideas to make the 26 communities where the Knight Foundation invests more social and vibrant places to live. More than 4,500 entries were submitted proposing a range of ideas from opening the world’s largest African American history museum in Detroit to a card game that encourages residents of Charlotte to visit new neighborhoods. The winners, who will split a prize of $5 million, will be announced in the spring of 2016.

The Top 10 Most Expensive (and Cheapest) Cities to Build In Are...

14:00 - 6 January, 2016
The Top 10 Most Expensive (and Cheapest) Cities to Build In Are... , New York . Image © James Ewing OTTO
New York . Image © James Ewing OTTO

When comparing 44 major cities, Arcadis' 2016 International Construction Costs Index has found New York to be the world's most expensive city to build in. London came in as a close second, reporting cost of building prices (on average) 20 percent higher than Paris. In contrast, Taipei was labeled as the "cheapest" city for construction. According to the study, "strong currencies and significant resource constraints" were a result in higher prices. Read on for the complete lists of most expensive, and least expensive, cities for construction. 

Science Says Beautiful Architecture Makes Us Happy and Healthy

14:30 - 31 December, 2015
Science Says Beautiful Architecture Makes Us Happy and Healthy, © Michel Denance
© Michel Denance

We all know exercise and being in close proximity to nature boosts our happiness and overall heath. However, the impact of the "environmental aesthetics" of our cities has never been studied, until now. 

A new study suggests that beautiful architecture is considered just as "scenic" and beneficial to our health and psyche as "greenery." 

Cornelia Hahn Oberlander Wins 2015 Margolese National Design for Living Prize

14:00 - 4 November, 2015
Cornelia Hahn Oberlander Wins 2015 Margolese National Design for Living Prize, UBC Museum of Anthropology. Image © Flickr CC User Kyle Pearce
UBC Museum of Anthropology. Image © Flickr CC User Kyle Pearce

Landscape architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander has won the 2015 Margolese National Design for Living Prize for her impact on Canadian cities. The School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of British Columbia, who awards the annual $50,000 prize, chose Oberlander for her "breathtaking, poetic, unforgettable, charged with meaning, and above all, Modernist" designs that have made "outstanding contributions to the development or improvement of living environments for Canadians of all economic classes."

Renzo Piano Defends London's Skyscraper Boom

12:00 - 27 October, 2015
Renzo Piano Defends London's Skyscraper Boom, © Michel Denance
© Michel Denance

"Cities face a choice of building up or building out," says Renzo Piano, according to a recent article on the Daily Mail. Responding to backlash led by the Skyline Campaign, a campaign spearheaded by architect Barbara Weiss that "aims to stop the devastation of London by badly designed and poorly placed tall buildings," Piano is defending London's controversial skyscraper boom by saying it's giving the one thing the city needs most: "space on the ground."

'A New Charter of Athens': a lecture by Professor Richard Sennett

14:30 - 17 October, 2015
'A New Charter of Athens': a lecture by Professor Richard Sennett

'Next year sees the opening of Habitat III, the environmental congress held every twenty years by the United Nations. For this event, a manifesto is being prepared about the design of cities. It aims to replace the guidance given by Le Corbusier and others nearly a century ago, in document they called "The Charter of Athens." The new Charter of Athens addresses issues emerging in the 21st Century about environmental crises, the uses of technology and big data, and the challenge of social inclusion. The lecture serves as an introduction to this modest proposal.'

Call for Submissions: CityLife Project

10:30 - 16 October, 2015
Call for Submissions: CityLife Project, The CityLife Project research competition
The CityLife Project research competition

The Urban Development Institute of Australia NSW office wants to create more affordable, connected and livable cities and it wants your help. The CityLife Project competition presents the opportunity for three organisations or research teams to partner with the UDIA NSW on research projects in exchange for cash and promotional opportunities worth up to $145,000 AUD each.

New Website Visualizes Human Activity in Cities Across the World

16:15 - 7 October, 2015
New Website Visualizes Human Activity in Cities Across the World, Screenshot of ManyCities, showing clusters of New York areas with similar timeline patterns. Image © ManyCities
Screenshot of ManyCities, showing clusters of New York areas with similar timeline patterns. Image © ManyCities

The SENSEable City Laboratory at MIT has developed a new tool with Ericsson to better understand human behavior. "ManyCities" is a new website that "explores the spatio-temporal patterns of mobile phone activity in cities across the world," including London, New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong. Taking complex data and organizing it in a intuitive way, the application allows users to quickly visualize patterns of human movement within the urban context down to the neighborhood scale. You can imagine how useful a tool like this can be for urban planners or even daily commuters, especially once real time analytics come into play. Take a look at ManyCities yourself, here

2015 PARK(ing) Day Map

12:00 - 18 September, 2015

Today citizens, artists and activists are "reclaiming their city" by transforming hundreds of metered parking spaces worldwide into temporary public parks and installations in an effort to call attention to the need for more open space. The yearly occurrence, known as PARK(ing) Day, has become an international phenomenon since its establishment in 2005 by the San Francisco art and design studio Rebar. Check out the official PARK(ing) Day Map to see if there are any pop-up parks happening in your area. 

Why Ecosystem Services Will be the Next Frontier in Livable Cities

09:30 - 12 September, 2015
Land Sparing of Tokyo's Yoyogi Park. Image Courtesy of Flickr CC user spektrograf
Land Sparing of Tokyo's Yoyogi Park. Image Courtesy of Flickr CC user spektrograf

While the term “ecosystem services” may sound like a corporate antithesis to the course of natural order, it is actually an umbrella term for the ways in which the human experience is favorably altered and enhanced by the environment. Ecosystem services are therefore an important factor in creating cities which provide the maximum benefit to their residents with the minimal harm to their environment.

Aiming to find out how city planning can affect the provision of these ecosystem services, a new study published in Frontiers in Ecology and Environment by researchers at the University of Exeter's Environment and Sustainability Institute and Hokkaido University's Division of Environmental Resources evaluates the repercussions of rapid and fragmented urbanization and the possible detriment to ecosystem services and human well-being. In particular, the study is concerned with approaches to land-use and the outcomes they yield on the environment. Studied are two opposing tactics: a “land-sharing,” sprawl model (think Atlanta or Houston), or “land-sparing,” tight-knit urbanism (think New York or Tokyo).

Jan Gehl: "Civic Culture Needs Cultivating and Curating"

16:35 - 11 September, 2015
Jan Gehl: "Civic Culture Needs Cultivating and Curating", © Flickr CC User MK Feeney
© Flickr CC User MK Feeney

Danish architect and urban planning expert Jan Gehl has weighed in on New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's threat to remove Times Square as a"kneejerk reaction" to aggressive panhandling. Recounting beloved square's evolution, Gehl argues that public spaces need more than just to exist: "Civic culture needs cultivating and curating... Public spaces like Times Square are the great equalizer in cities: Improvements in the public realm benefit everyone. The city should view the challenge of Times Square’s pedestrian plaza not as a reason for retreat, but as a call to create a diverse, dense, intense experience of public life that we can all enjoy." Read Gehl's remarks, here.