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Public Spaces: The Latest Architecture and News

MIT’s Senseable City Lab and the City of Laval in Québec Re-Imagine the Park of the Future

The city of Laval, Québec’s 3rd largest city, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Senseable City Lab (SCL) have released six preliminary concepts exploring the “park of the future”. Investigating new experiences, the publication entitled “Senseable City Guide to Laval” is part of an on-going work “to develop a human-centered, innovative and resilient downtown area” located in the Carré Laval, a former quarry to be transformed into a mixed-use innovation district.

Courtesy of MIT’s Senseable City Lab and the city of LavalCourtesy of MIT’s Senseable City Lab and the city of LavalCourtesy of MIT’s Senseable City Lab and the city of LavalCourtesy of MIT’s Senseable City Lab and the city of Laval+ 11

10 Innovative Outdoor Benches Shaping Public Spaces

In order to create vibrant public spaces, people need to have a constant presence in these locations, whether they are on their own or in groups. In fact, they need to linger in these places and establish social interactions. To do so, one major element has to be incorporated into the urban setting: the bench.

This seating feature, simple or high tech, insures firstly the comfort of the passersby and animates the area consequently, through the addition of the missing human aspect. Sometimes, this is all it takes to revive a space that became a dull passage. The most basic urban design component can take many forms and can be created from different materials, always generating a statement and serving its purpose.

Miralles Tagliabue EMBT Wins Competition to Renovate 'Century Square' on East Nanjing Road in Shanghai, China

Miralles Tagliabue EMBT studio, led by Benedetta Tagliabue, has won an international competition to transform Century Square into a new green landmark in Shanghai, China. The first prize proposal, won against David Chipperfield Architects, offers to renovate the plaza located in one of the busiest commercial areas in the world, “re-naturalizing” the city center and introducing green spaces to improve the urban microclimate.

Courtesy of Miralles Tagliabue EMBTCourtesy of Miralles Tagliabue EMBTCourtesy of Miralles Tagliabue EMBTCourtesy of Miralles Tagliabue EMBT+ 9

Alison Brooks Imagines Cadence, a Mixed-Use Urban Block, Part of the King’s Cross Central Masterplan in London

Alison Brooks Architects has created a landmark structure in the emerging area of Kings Cross in London, part of its Central Masterplan. The proposed mixed-use urban block containing 158 dwellings will reinforce the neighborhood’s “unique sense of place and celebrate its emerging and historic contexts”.

Courtesy of Alison Brooks ArchitectsCourtesy of Alison Brooks ArchitectsCourtesy of Alison Brooks ArchitectsCourtesy of Alison Brooks Architects+ 9

CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati Wins International Competition to Design the University of Milan’s New Science Campus

CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati and a team led by Australian real estate group Lendlease have imagined the new science campus of the University of Milan. The proposed project, a winning entry from the international competition will extend over 190,000 square meters and is due to open in 2025.

Courtesy of CRA-Carlo Ratti AssociatiCourtesy of CRA-Carlo Ratti AssociatiCourtesy of CRA-Carlo Ratti AssociatiCourtesy of CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati+ 5

Stefano Boeri Develops Concepts and Pavilions for the Italian Anti-Covid-19 Vaccination Campaign

Stefano Boeri, together with a team of consultants, has created the architectural and communicative concept behind the anti-Covid-19 vaccination campaign. Under the slogan "With a flower, Italy comes back to life", the approved proposal, requested by the Italian Special Commissioner for the Covid-19 emergency Domenico Arcuri, includes the campaign logo, the temporary pavilions, and mobile information totem in public spaces.

Courtesy of Stefano Boeri ArchitettiCourtesy of Stefano Boeri ArchitettiCourtesy of Stefano Boeri ArchitettiCourtesy of Stefano Boeri Architetti+ 8

Architecture and Public Spaces: 11 Skate Parks Around the World

Skateboarding is often associated with the use of public spaces such as streets, squares, and sidewalks and has become a sport that blends into everyday life in the cities. Although skateboarding is sometimes considered marginalized, because of the dispute over public spaces, it allows underused places such as areas under or near overpasses to be revamped for practicing sports. Many sports centers have been incorporating skate parks into their programs, showcasing very unique designs.

Henning Larsen Wins Competition for a Mixed-Use Development in South Korea

Henning Larsen’s proposal for Seoul Valley was selected as the winner of the Central Seoul Development Competition. Seeking to become a new home for the public in the center of the city, the mixed-use developmentmerges Seoul’s global commercial profile with an ecological return to downtown pedestrian life”. Other entries included schemes by MVRDV and SOM.

Courtesy of Henning LarsenCourtesy of ProloogCourtesy of ProloogCourtesy of Henning Larsen+ 16

New Short Film Explores The Urban Landscapes of Ukraine’s Socialist Era

The built manifestation of an ideology, the urban landscape left behind by the socialist regimes around Europe are removed from the aspirations of contemporary urban living, thus trigger a unique process of re-appropriation of the post-soviet landscapes. The short film Landscape Architecture: Rethinking The Future out of a Totalitarian Past created by Minimal Movie invites a conversation around urban planning, cultural identity, and community building relating to the urbanism and architecture of Ukraine's Socialist Era.

Courtesy of Minimal MovieCourtesy of Minimal MovieCourtesy of Minimal MovieCourtesy of Minimal Movie+ 8

What We Can (and Can’t) Learn from Copenhagen

This article was originally published on Common Edge

I spent four glorious days in Copenhagen in 2017 and left with an acute case of urban envy. (I kept thinking: It’s like..an American Portland—except better.) Why can’t we do cities like this in the United States? That’s the question an urban nerd like me asks while strolling the famously pedestrian-friendly streets, as hordes of impossibly blond and fit Danes bicycle briskly past.

Tips for Choosing Tree Species in Urban Settings

In the early modern period, Taoist monks cultivated Bonsai trees seeking to bring their beauty from the outside to the inside, considering them a link between the human and the divine. Likewise, in the 18th century, different tree-lined walks and avenues arose on the outskirts of some European cities, generating spaces for rest and socialization that were previously non-existent in cities at that time.

In cities today, trees are essential elements in the urbanization process and act as irreplaceable counterpoints to manmade constructions for spatial harmony. Choosing appropriate tree species and maintaining them correctly generates countless benefits, such as acoustic and visual insulation, temperature regulation, the generation of biological corridors, and control of wind speeds. The main mistake planners can make when choosing tree species is forgetting that they are living beings and have specific needs.

What should we consider to pick them correctly?

BIG Selected to Design a Socially Engaging Hub for the Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University has selected BIG to design its new Student Center, regenerating the heart of its campus and reviving the social experience, from a shortlisted list of 4 offices, after a months-long international competition. Entitled “The Village”, the proposal is an “open, modern, and welcoming facility envisioned as a social engagement hub for all members of the Hopkins community”.

Courtesy of BIG-Bjarke Ingels GroupCourtesy of BIG-Bjarke Ingels GroupCourtesy of BIG-Bjarke Ingels GroupCourtesy of BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group+ 7