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Urban Planning

How Cities have Rebuilt from the Ashes

09:30 - 18 September, 2018
How Cities have Rebuilt from the Ashes, Image via PXHere
Image via PXHere

Every city has a story. Throughout history, many natural and man-made changes have altered the way cities were originally laid out. For some, the urban form developed as a result of political disputes, religious separations, or class divides. For others, a more mixed approach has allowed for uniquely mixed cultural atmospheres. And while development of cities is typically slow, occasionally cities experience dramatic and immediate changes to the urban fabric - the results of natural disaster, military conflict, or industrial catastrophe.

What happens next - if anything - can reveal a great deal about not just the city itself, but the local culture. Do cities rebuild exactly as they were? Or do they use disaster as an opportunity to reinvent themselves? The following is a roundup of cities that have moved past catastrophe to be reborn from the ashes.

Dresden - Now. Image Courtesy of Wikimedia User Ingersoll Licensed Under Public Domain Dresden - Before. Image Courtesy of Wikimedia User AndreasPraefcke CC BY 3.0 Berlin Reichstag. Image Courtesy of Wikimedia User Fae Licensed Under Public Domain Lisbon. Image Courtesy of PIxabay + 42

Shaping the City: A Forum for Sustainable Cities and Communities

13:22 - 10 September, 2018
Shaping the City: A Forum for Sustainable Cities and Communities, Courtesy of European Cultural Centre
Courtesy of European Cultural Centre

The European Cultural Centre for the Exhibition “Time-Space-Existence” in context of the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale is organizing its first conference under the title of: “ Shaping the City : A Forum for Sustainable Cities and Communities”. It includes all participating architectural schools and universities from across the globe in TSE 2018 along with other international institutions and architecture studios.

Proposed Tourist Hub by Progress, Miralles Tagliabue EMBT, and Cushman & Wakefield Utilizes the Forces of Nature to Promote a "Natural City"

12:00 - 8 September, 2018
Proposed Tourist Hub by Progress, Miralles Tagliabue EMBT, and Cushman & Wakefield Utilizes the Forces of Nature to Promote a "Natural City", Courtesy of Miralles Tagliabue EMBT
Courtesy of Miralles Tagliabue EMBT

A consortium comprising Progress, Miralles Tagliabue EMBT and Cushman & Wakefield recently reached the final stage of a design competition to create a tourist center in Russia in part of the embankment named after Admiral Serebryakov in the city of Novorossiysk. The proposal provides the required hospitality spaces but also features unique facilities, such as a wine museum, a fish market and an "artificial island", all serving as new centers of attraction for residents and visitors of the city. The foundation of the design concept is based on three components: "the idea of a natural city, the unification of the three forces of nature and the characteristic appearance of Novorossiysk as a port city."

Mind the Gap: Minimizing Data Loss Between GIS and BIM

09:30 - 6 August, 2018
Mind the Gap: Minimizing Data Loss Between GIS and BIM, via Wikimedia. ImageDom Luis Bridge / Porto, Portugal
via Wikimedia. ImageDom Luis Bridge / Porto, Portugal

An unfortunate fact of the AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) industry is that, between every stage of the process—from planning and design to construction and operations—critical data is lost.

The reality is, when you move data between phases of, say, the usable lifecycle of a bridge, you end up shuttling that data back and forth between software systems that recognize only their own data sets. The minute you translate that data, you reduce its richness and value. When a project stakeholder needs data from an earlier phase of the process, planners, designers, and engineers often have to manually re-create that information, resulting in unnecessary rework. 

50 Planning Terms & Concepts All Architects Should Know

09:30 - 28 June, 2018
50 Planning Terms & Concepts All Architects Should Know, Superkilen / Topotek 1 + BIG Architects + Superflex. Image © Iwan Baan
Superkilen / Topotek 1 + BIG Architects + Superflex. Image © Iwan Baan

As architects, we often use a niche set of words that are sometimes unnecessarily complex and confusing to our non-architect friends. In 2015 we compiled a list of these, ranging from “typology” to “Blobitecture.” Here we’ve rounded up 50 urban planning terms that might be a bit less familiar but just as important to know.

From weird portmanteaus such as “Boomburb” to cute-sounding acronyms such as "YIMBY", here is a fun A to Z in urban planning language that will make future collaboration easier.

reSITE 2018: ACCOMMODATE

03:00 - 25 May, 2018
reSITE 2018: ACCOMMODATE

Sou FujimotoMichel RojkindJeanne GangAssemble, MINI Living, Airbnb, WeWork/WeLive and OMA’s Reinier de Graaf are among the confirmed speakers at reSITE 2018 ACCOMMODATE, one of Europe’s top annual international forums showcasing top solutions for cities and attended by the region’s top design, business, and civic leaders, happening in Prague.

Open Call: Q City Plan—Qinhuangdao International Student Design Competition

11:30 - 10 May, 2018
Open Call: Q City Plan—Qinhuangdao International Student Design Competition,  “Q City Plan· Qinhuangdao International Student Design Competition", image credited to UED magazine
“Q City Plan· Qinhuangdao International Student Design Competition", image credited to UED magazine

“Q City Plan—Qinhuangdao International Student Design Competition" is now calling for entries from all university and college students worldwide who major in the fields such as urban planning, architecture design, landscape design, and artistic design, aiming to provide them a platform to show their talent based on the real built environment of Qinhuangdao as the foundation for their creation and inspiration. We hope to use this event to solicit creative ideas of microscopic renovation in public spaces and to find more possible paths for the regeneration of this famous port city of China in the future.

LA's Pershing Square Is Preparing for a Redesign—And Some Worry They Are Losing a Valuable Civic Space

09:30 - 10 May, 2018

Surrounded on all sides by "business blocks of architectural beauty and metropolitan dimensions," the intersecting planes of Pershing Square in Los Angeles provide a modernist retreat for many Angelinos in the downtown area. While to some, the square's large stucco tower and aqueduct-like water feature serve as a cultural landmark, the park has drawn negative press due to its lack of green space and abundance of drug-related activity. John Moody purposefully concentrates on the perception, memory, and identity of the space in his documentary Redemption Square—winner of the Best Urban Design Film 2017 at the New Urbanism Film Festival. Using the voice of strangers, residents and those who used to call it home, Moody guides you from the park’s formation in 1866 to its impending renewal: a “radically flat” redesign courtesy of Agence Ter and Gruen Associates.

On the Other Side of the Wall of Shame in Lima, Peru

08:00 - 30 March, 2018
On the Other Side of the Wall of Shame in Lima, Peru, © Orestis Karagiannis
© Orestis Karagiannis

Warning: this article proposes a narrative according to the route taken from one side to the other of the wall, from the predictable to the most unpredictable. To better situate ourselves, the narrative will be told through my personal experience.

"Do you know the wall that divides the rich from the poor?," asked three Greek travelers who, after visiting the "pretty" side of Lima, suspected that something was hiding behind appearances. But, "how is it that from, even though you're from the other side of the world, you knew about the wall?" Well, news travels. And "why is this wall something that has to be seen in our city?" if it's not a cause for pride. I knew exactly what they were talking about. I spelled it out: the wall of shame. Certainly, I wasn't familiar with it in situ either, since I hadn't left my urban bubble, like many of those who live in these parts, so with the same curiosity, as a tourist of my own city, we made our way.

A Deep Dive Into the Sad Story of the Makoko Floating School

08:00 - 26 March, 2018
© NLÉ architects
© NLÉ architects

Within a week of its successor being awarded the Silver Lion at the 2016 Venice Biennale, the original Makoko Floating School collapsed. Designed by Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi of NLÉ Architects, the school was located in the Lagos Lagoon in Nigeria. Now, almost two years later, Lagos-based writer Allyn Gaestel has investigated the vulnerable coastal community and architect behind the project in a remarkable narrative nonfiction piece, "Things Fall Apart."

99% Invisible Investigates the Utopian and Dystopian Histories of the Bijlmermeer

14:00 - 10 March, 2018
99% Invisible Investigates the Utopian and Dystopian Histories of the Bijlmermeer, © <a href=‘https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Janericloebe'>Wikimedia user Janericloebe</a>licensed under<a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en/'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a>
© Wikimedia user Janericloebelicensed underCC BY-SA 3.0

How can we plan a better city? The answer has confounded architects and urban planners since the birth of the industrial city. One attempt at answering came in the form of a spectacular modernist proposal outside of Amsterdam called the Bijlmermeer. And, as a new two-part episode by 99% Invisible reveals, it failed miserably. But, like all histories, the story is not as simple as it first appears.

Call for Entries: LILA - Landezine International Landscape Award 2018

17:22 - 6 March, 2018
Call for Entries: LILA - Landezine International Landscape Award 2018

Landezine is calling all offices practicing landscape architecture to submit entries for the third edition of LILA – Landezine International Landscape Award by March 31st, 2018. This year, we have 4 categories and 7 awards.

UAE Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Biennale to Explore Human-scale Landscapes and Social Spaces

06:00 - 2 March, 2018
UAE Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Biennale to Explore Human-scale Landscapes and Social Spaces, Children playing soccer on sandy street outside the boundaries of bigness. Image Courtesy of National Pavilion UAE - la Biennale di Venezia
Children playing soccer on sandy street outside the boundaries of bigness. Image Courtesy of National Pavilion UAE - la Biennale di Venezia

As part of our 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale coverage we present the proposal for the UAE Pavilion. Below, the participants describe their contribution in their own words.

The National Pavilion UAE will present “Lifescapes Beyond Bigness,” an exhibition exploring human-scale architectural landscapes, at the 2018 Venice Biennale. The exhibition aims to highlight the role of architecture and urban design in forming the choreography of people’s daily routines. It particularly investigates the role of ‘quotidian’ (every day) landscapes in accommodating, enhancing, and facilitating social activities across different places in the UAE.

This Medieval Town is Built Inside a Crater and Composed of Millions of Diamonds

16:00 - 18 February, 2018
This Medieval Town is Built Inside a Crater and Composed of Millions of Diamonds, © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/120282578@N03/13137177895/'>Flickr user Laurent Bernier</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/'>CC BY-NC-ND 2.0</a>
© Flickr user Laurent Bernier licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

From the greystone of Montreal to the limestone of Jerusalem, every city has its own iconic identity read through the city’s urban fabric. Scanning the architecture of the 1,110-year-old German town of Nördlingen, the timber frame homes, red pitched roofs, and winding streets appear identical in almost every regard to many quaint medieval communities populating the European countryside.

While the town’s appearance in the 1971 classic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory may seem like its most notable claim, there is something entirely unique about the architecture of this south German locale. Nördlingen is literally made of diamonds—millions of microscopic diamonds to be exact—with the town itself constructed within an ancient impact crater.

20 Finalists Announced in International Housing Competition for Russia

12:00 - 10 February, 2018
20 Finalists Announced in International Housing Competition for Russia, Boustany / Suphasidh / Desfonds + A2OM. Image Courtesy of Strelka KB
Boustany / Suphasidh / Desfonds + A2OM. Image Courtesy of Strelka KB

20 finalists have been announced for the Open International Competition for Standard Housing in Russia. With the plan to provide 30 million Russian residents with new homes by 2025, the competition aims to discover new innovative solutions to improve residential design and planning for the new developments. The competition was organized by the Government of Russian Federation, the National Institute for Housing Development Foundation, and the Russian Ministry of Construction working together to create a new standard for affordable housing.

PPA Arquitetura Entry. Image Courtesy of Strelka KB LLC Escher Entry. Image Courtesy of Strelka KB DNK Architectural group Entry. Image Courtesy of Strelka KB DA Project Entry. Image Courtesy of Strelka KB + 40

Sharing the City: 5 Takes on How We Should Create and Use Public Space

09:30 - 17 January, 2018

On December 1st 2017, reSITE invited a handful of intellectuals to Berlin for the My City / Your City salon held in partnership with Airbnb, spending a day and night with them brainstorming about public space, sharing, and inclusiveness. To close the event, we served them a cocktail of simple questions that were not always easy to answer.

In the following text, artist Charlie Koolhaas, the architect and founding partner of Topotek 1 Martin Rein-Cano, the curator and writer Lukas Feireiss, the curator and architect Anna Scheuermann, and the professor Ivan Kucina, share their various opinions on issues ranging from how best to create public space to their thoughts on the very principle of sharing.

A Close Look at the Gehl Institute's Free Toolkit for City Planning

09:30 - 19 December, 2017
A Close Look at the Gehl Institute's Free Toolkit for City Planning

This article was originally published by Common Edge as "The Gehl Institute’s Toolkit for the Creation of Great Urban Spaces."

Jane Jacobs was arguably the most important “citizen” planner in the 20th century. If we were setting up a related category for credentialed planners, then the great Danish urbanist Jan Gehl might just top that list; inspired by the ideas of Jacobs, the architect and urban designer has spent nearly a half-century studying and writing about public space. He helped his home city of Copenhagen become a kind of model for walkable urbanism and has consulted for cities all over the world.

Two and a half years ago his firm, Gehl, launched a nonprofit arm, Gehl Institute, dedicated to public engagement, and the use and creation of public urban space as a tool of both economic development and political equity. Recently the institute published what it describes as “tools for measuring public space and public life, in the form of free, downloadable worksheets.” The toolkit is beautifully executed. Last week I talked to Shin-pei Tsay, executive director of the Gehl Institute, about the tools and what her group hopes to accomplish with them.

Playful Animation Tells the Story of Humankind’s Quest for a Perfect City

08:00 - 18 November, 2017

Cities are universes in themselves; furiously spawning, spewing, hissing through time and space. They are cudgeled, raked, plastered, worshipped, fought over, set on fire; they are slippery wombs that cradle wars, victories, blood and brilliant storms. The built environment has always been indicative of its inhabitants’ fears, desires, and ideals. As such, it is one of the earliest, most powerful forms of human expression. For World Cities Day 2017, the new BBC Designed section of the BBC Culture website commissioned motion graphics designer Al Boardman to create The Perfect City, an animated video covering a brief history of humankind’s quest for the "ideal" and the "perfect" in urban design. With a voiceover and script by renowned architecture critic and writer Jonathan Glancey, the video is a remarkable 2-minute overview of some prominent examples in city planning, both old and new, successful and unsuccessful.