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Urban Planning: The Latest Architecture and News

Toronto Plans on Stopping the Construction of Smart Cities Following Concerns of Privacy

As more smart cities make their way across the globe, whether it being in countries of the Far East, Latin America, or the Middle East, Toronto is stepping back from the smart city bandwagon, and reassessing its substantial contribution to the community. The Canadian city, which ranked 15th on Global Finance's ranking of the world's best cities to live in for the year 2022, plans on "killing the smart city forever", especially after Quayside's controversial cancellation reasons, questioning its lack of privacy, necessity on an urban scale, and whether people truly want to live in a tech-driven environment.

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MVRDV and The Why Factory Exhibit Architecture and Urban Activism in their Paris Office

MVRDV and The Why Factory's have collaborated on an exhibition that explores the principles of "architecture and urbanism calls to action”. Titled "Agir", the exhibition is open to the public since June 9th, in the connected spaces of the ArchiLib Gallery and MVRDV’s Paris office. The exhibition takes its name from the French verb meaning “act”, and examines the activist works of MVRDV and The Why Factory, revealing its capacity to address a wide variety of environmental and social challenges.

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What Can Metaverse Planners Learn from Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities

We are still at the dawn of the Metaverse, the next wave of the Internet. The current “mainstream” Metaverse platforms serve as experimental containers to host the wildest dreams of virtual worlds where we are supposed to unleash the imagination. However, from a spatial design perspective, they have so far been lame and ordinary. Without the constraints in the physical world, how do we draft the urban blueprints in the metaverse? I believe metaverse planners can find inspiration from Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, in which he revealed a poetic and mathematical approach to “urban planning” in the imaginary worlds.

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Planners Must Now “Anticipate the Unanticipated”

“The planning practices of the past are inadequate for today’s challenges,” said David Rouse, ASLA, a landscape architect and planner, at the American Planning Association‘s National Planning Conference in San Diego. Rapid technological change, socio-economic inequities, natural resource depletion, and climate change are forcing planning and design professionals to adapt. “How can the practice of planning evolve to be more sustainable and equitable?”

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How Cannabis Legalization Has Changed Cities in the United States

The topic of cannabis can be rather taboo in some instances, as countries around the world have differing views on the legalization of marijuana products based on their cultural and religious beliefs. In the United States specifically, it’s been a long contended issue that each state has, for now, been left to decide on how they want to handle. Each year, more and more states (now totaling 18 and the District of Columbia out of 50), have legalized the recreational sale and use of a limited amount of cannabis, but it remains illegal on a federal level.

Cannabis tax revenue generated more than two billion dollars across legalized states in the last year alone and is expected to grow to nearly 12 billion dollars by 2030, exceeding tax revenues collected from the sale of alcohol, according to bond strategists at Barclays. For the states that do tax the sale of cannabis products, there have already been significant benefits that have helped further develop cities and smaller towns, making the streets safer, and increased funding for new municipal projects, local businesses, subsidies for low-income renters, improvements to public school systems, water and sewer line upgrades, and other significant infrastructure projects.

New York City Is Failing Its Citizens on the Environment

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

The new, online NYC Climate Dashboard confirms that New York City is not doing enough to meet its climate goals. What’s worse, the goals don’t measure up to the challenge citizens face. A growing consensus among scientists says the world has only until the end of this decade to avert catastrophic climate change. Here in New York, the biggest contributions to greenhouse gasses come from our buildings and our driving. As an architect and urban designer, John Massengale shares what he believes the world is missing and some significant changes that the world can make for the sake of future generations.

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How Mixed-Use Neighborhoods Can Reduce Crime Rates

The planning and design of mixed-use neighborhoods and individual mixed-use developments are on the rise. Many of the places we frequent most feature a variety of programs, bringing many of life's daily conveniences to one place. But mixed-use spaces do more than just create a diverse array of experiences in cities- they might also help contribute to lower crime rates.

A View From the Top: The History of Observation Towers

There’s something magical about seeing a city from the very top. To have a new vantage point, and look across a skyline instead of looking up at it is one of the most powerful and awe-inspiring feelings. Observation decks are not just architectural marvels, but also a sort of civic icon and sense of pride for a city. In the present day, it’s not just their height that draws people in, but the additional programming of sky-high bars, rides, and bungee jumping as well.

Architecture and Aid: Reframing Research on Informal Settlements

Almost seven kilometers from the green of Uhuru Park in central Nairobi, lies the informal settlement of Kibera. It is an area whose urban character consists of corrugated iron roofs, mud walls, and a complicated network of utility poles. Kibera, at this point in time, is a well-known place. Much has been written and researched on this “city within a city,” from its infrastructural issues to its navigation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Did a Highway Kill the City of Hartford?

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

Can a piece of infrastructure literally kill a city? This is the question that writer Jim Krueger poses in his recent podcast, The Road That Killed a City. The place in question is Krueger’s current hometown—Hartford, Connecticut—which he grew up next to in the leafy suburb of West Hartford. Kruerger has lived in both towns, and that helps to balance the amazing story he uncovers about how Connecticut’s capital was impaled by a roadway (actually, two: east/west I-84 and north/south I-91 converge in Hartford in a sort of arterial highway ground zero). I spoke with Krueger about what prompted the podcast, some of what he uncovered about the history of this ill-fated urban “improvement,” and the legacy of a highway that continues to thwart Hartford’s rebirth—an inheritance shared by many cities across North America.

The Commons: Dissecting Open-Source Design

In New Mexico, irrigation channels that have been in continuous operation for three centuries replenish and nourish the wetlands of the American Southwest. These channels are known as Acequias – communally managed water systems built on democratic tradition. Members of the community own water rights, who then elect a three-person team to oversee the channels. In Cairo and Barcelona, Tahrir Square and Plaza de Catalunya have acted as important sites for voicing political dissatisfaction. The Tahrir Square protests of 2011, for instance, resulted in the eventual toppling of an almost 30-year-old government.

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What Is a Sponge City and How Does It Work?

Berlim. Foto por <a href="https://unsplash.com/@salty_morning?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Maria Krasnova</a> no <a href="https://unsplash.com/?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a>
Berlim. Foto por Maria Krasnova no Unsplash

The climate crisis has accentuated changes in the amount of rainfall, causing droughts or storms with large volumes of water, which result in floods that can cause great damage to urban infrastructure. To combat this, the sponge city is a solution that has a green infrastructure to operate the infiltration, absorption, storage and even purification of these surface waters.

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