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Guardian Cities: The Latest Architecture and News

5468796 Architecture's Response to The Guardian Over their "Failed" Social Housing Project

09:30 - 29 January, 2016
5468796 Architecture's Response to The Guardian Over their "Failed" Social Housing Project, © James Brittain Photography
© James Brittain Photography

Early this month, The Guardian published a widely shared and debated article titled "Crime in the community: when 'designer' social housing goes wrong." The article told the story of Centre Village, a social housing project in Winnipeg designed by 5468796 Architecture and Cohlmeyer Architecture Limited, examining how noble intentions resulted in what they describe as "apartments poorly suited to family life, and a building structure that seems to act as a magnet for drinking and drug-taking at all hours."

Unsurprisingly 5468796 Architecture, who disagreed with much of the article's conclusions, wrote a response to the editor of Guardian Cities in the hope that their "letter to the editor" would provide some balance to the story. After The Guardian declined to publish the letter, the firm reached out to ArchDaily to ensure that their side of the debate was heard. Here is that letter in full.

We are writing to you in response to the Guardian article concerning Centre Village and many of the comments and re-posts over the last week. We believe the story that was published was inaccurate and provide the following for your information:

© James Brittain Photography © 5468796 Architecture © James Brittain Photography © James Brittain Photography + 7

Alejandro Aravena on a "Time of Shifting Paradigms"

04:00 - 27 November, 2015
Alejandro Aravena on a "Time of Shifting Paradigms", © ELEMENTAL
© ELEMENTAL

Writing for Guardian Cities Alejandro Aravena, director of the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, discusses what he perceives as the social reality of contemporary architects, the power of design in mobilising people to act, and "how architecture can introduce a broader notion of gain" in the face of ever greedier and evermore powerful development companies the world over. 

Any attempt to go beyond business as usual encounters huge resistance in the inertia of reality. Any effort to tackle relevant issues has to overcome the increasing complexity of the world. [...] It's time to rethink the entire role and language of architecture.

Challenging the Rules of a City Simulator in Which There is No "Game Over"

04:15 - 13 August, 2015
Challenging the Rules of a City Simulator in Which There is No "Game Over", © Finn Williams
© Finn Williams

As part of an ongoing series of articles for Guardian Cities, architect Finn Williams uses the Cities: Skyline Simulator to ask whether "the game’s growth-driven model proves incompatible with a post-growth strategy" — ultimately narrating its response to this challenge in the form of a "resounding no." The game, which is designed to "realise the thrill and hardships of creating and maintaining a real city," allows for players to deal with infrastructure issues, housing problems, and budgetary matters on a large urban scale.