It’s “Time For Strategic Architecture”

Bolling Municipal Center – Roxbury, Boston (MA). Image Courtesy of Mecanoo / Sasaki Associates

In an article for the New York Times, Alexandra Lange discusses a number of US projects which are “transforming, but not disrupting,” their respective communities. In this vein, she cites Mecanoo and Sasaki Associates’ new Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building in Roxbury, Boston, as a prime example of a new kind of architecture which “comes from understanding of past civic hopes, redesigning them to meet the future.” Examining some of the key concepts that make for successfully integrated community buildings, such as the creation of spaces that actively forge personal connections, Lange concludes that perhaps it is now “time for strategic architecture.”

The idea that urban planning could build upon citizen action, rather than consisting of imposed boulevards or housing blocks (as with the urban renewal that originally gutted Roxbury) is gaining traction.

Read the article in full here.

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VIDEO: In Boston, Reclaiming the Craft of Brick

Interested in Public-Interest Design? Apply to the Enterprise Rose Fellowship By July 10

A Rose Fellow working on a community design project. Image Courtesy of Enterprise Community Partners

is a basic human need, but over 11 million families cannot afford a safe and stable place to live. In a crusade to change this sad fact, the Enterprise Rose Fellowship gives socially-minded architects the tools they need to pursue careers in affordable housing and community development. For more on the learning opportunity, head over to Next City and click here.

Cape Town Adopts Re-Blocking Strategy for Informal Settlements

In Kuku Town, dwellings were rearranged to face a communal courtyard – where people can gather for activities and keep an eye on their neighbors and shared facitilies.. Image Courtesy of Future

The city of Cape Town has adopted a new strategy for improving informal settlements – re-blocking, “the reconfiguration and repositioning of shacks in very dense informal settlements in accordance to a community-drafted spatial framework.” Re-blocking serves to create communal spaces, make neighborhoods safer, and improve dwelling structures – among many other things. To see how it has been implemented and where, head to Future Cape Town and continue reading here.

A McDonald’s Controversy Raises Debate on Designing for the Elderly

© Flickr CC User symmetry_mind

In an article for the New York Times, Michael Kimmelman gets to the bottom of an unusual local dispute: a McDonald’s in Queens, New York is kicking out groups of elderly Koreans who are out-staying their 20-minute welcome (and who have no access to community spaces nearby). The story raises an important question: how can we design our cities with elder populations in mind (a generation on track to out-number all others in the next few years)? You can read this poignant tale in full here.

Strelka Talks: Architecture and Community / Reinier de Graaf

“The ” might be the most frequently used term over the last 50 years of Architectural and Urban discourse. For decades, “the ” has served as a legitimization for anything from Team X to , from Celebration to “vancouverism”. But what is “the community”? Where should we look for the proper definition? How did communities appear in the past and how do they form today? Can ‘the community” influence the design of its own space, territory or context? If yes, what could be the relationship between the community and architecture in the future?

In his Strelka talk Reinier de Graaf is trying to answer these and other, even more complex questions.

Via the Strelka Institute.