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Urban Planning: The Latest Architecture and News

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.

New, Innovation-Driven, "Smart City" Will be Built Just South of Boston

08:00 - 15 November, 2017
New, Innovation-Driven, "Smart City" Will be Built Just South of Boston, Courtesy of Elkus Manfredi Architects
Courtesy of Elkus Manfredi Architects

Smart cities” are the latest urban phenomenon popping up across the globe. Among the newest being realized will be Union Point, a masterplan with a commitment to innovation located just south of Boston, USA.

What is a “smart city?” It is a city in which embeds multiple data collection technologies within the city in hopes of providing a supportive and competitive advantage to the city’s residents and business. Officials then use this data to make their cities safer, healthier, and more efficient. Cities are not geniuses quite yet, but the “smart city” is rethinking the way cities are run.

Courtesy of Elkus Manfredi Architects Courtesy of Elkus Manfredi Architects Courtesy of Elkus Manfredi Architects Courtesy of Elkus Manfredi Architects + 14

Bill Gates Purchases 25,000 Acres of Land for Smart City in Arizona

16:00 - 14 November, 2017
Bill Gates Purchases 25,000 Acres of Land for Smart City in Arizona, Arizona desert. Image © Flickr user extra zebra. Licensed under CC BY 2.0
Arizona desert. Image © Flickr user extra zebra. Licensed under CC BY 2.0

An investment firm run by Microsoft founder Bill Gates has paid $80 million for 25,000 acres of Arizona desert to serve as the site of a new “smart city.” To be known as Belmont, the city will be made up of 80,000 residences, as well offices, retail spaces and civic amenities such as schools and police stations. The city will serve as a test ground for the latest in logistical and infrastructural technologies.

Open Call For Creative Ideas: Reinventing New York City's Park Avenue Commercial District With Design

08:03 - 10 November, 2017
Open Call For Creative Ideas: Reinventing New York City's Park Avenue Commercial District With Design, Beyond the Centerline
Beyond the Centerline

Park Avenue, one of the world’s premiere thoroughfares, is traditionally known for its tall buildings that are home to Fortune 500 companies. The medians of Park Avenue, or the “centerlines,” are traditionally characterized by plantings and periodic sculpture installations. Park Avenue medians represent a traditional element of New York City but also provide an opportunity for reinvention. Other areas of New York City, such as the High Line, have successfully transformed into an exciting destination for city dwellers and visitors alike.

Fisher Brothers is pleased to sponsor a $30,000 privately-funded design competition using the Park Avenue medians (between 46th – 57th

World Urbanism Day: A Selection of Texts About Cities and Urban Planning

10:10 - 8 November, 2017
World Urbanism Day: A Selection of Texts About Cities and Urban Planning, Reprodução do manifesto original do símbolo do urbanismo. . Image via Della Paolera, C. M. (1934). El símbolo del urbanismo. Buenos Aires: Dirección del Plan de Urbanización, Municipalidad de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires
Reprodução do manifesto original do símbolo do urbanismo. . Image via Della Paolera, C. M. (1934). El símbolo del urbanismo. Buenos Aires: Dirección del Plan de Urbanización, Municipalidad de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires

Today, November 8, we celebrate World Urbanism Day. Created in 1949 by Carlos Maria della Paolera, a professor at the University of Buenos Aires, the day was meant to increase professional and public interest in planning, both locally and internationally. Paolera is also responsible for designing the symbol of World Urbanism Day, representing the trilogy of natural elements essential to life: the sun (in yellow), vegetation (in green) and air (in blue), referring to the balance between the natural environment and humans. Currently, the event is celebrated in thirty countries on four continents.

Reimagine the New York State Canal System

09:15 - 31 October, 2017

The New York Power Authority and the New York State Canal Corporation launched a competition seeking ideas to shape the future of the New York State Canal System, a 524-mile network composed of the Erie Canal, the Oswego Canal, the Cayuga-Seneca Canal, and the Champlain Canal. Selected ideas will be awarded a total of $2.5 million toward their implementation.

Jan Gehl: “In The Last 50 Years, Architects Have Forgotten What a Good Human Scale Is”

08:30 - 28 October, 2017
Jan Gehl: “In The Last 50 Years, Architects Have Forgotten What a Good Human Scale Is”, LA DISTANCIA FÍSICA REPERCUTE EN EL CONTACTO SOCIAL. Si muchos integrantes de nuestra familia viven cerca, se les ve mucho más seguido que si lo hicieran a 20 o 30 kilómetros. Entonces, por supuesto, si las circunstancias permiten que la familia o varios miembros de ella puedan vivir cerca, se tendrá una red más densa que si se encuentran diseminados.. Image Cortesía de Revista City Manager
LA DISTANCIA FÍSICA REPERCUTE EN EL CONTACTO SOCIAL. Si muchos integrantes de nuestra familia viven cerca, se les ve mucho más seguido que si lo hicieran a 20 o 30 kilómetros. Entonces, por supuesto, si las circunstancias permiten que la familia o varios miembros de ella puedan vivir cerca, se tendrá una red más densa que si se encuentran diseminados.. Image Cortesía de Revista City Manager

This interview was initially published in Spanish by City Manager as “Jan Gehl, ciudades para la gente.”

Jah Gehl is recognized as a follower of Jane Jacobs, the “grandmother” of urbanism and humanist planning. He has been a professor at the Danish Real Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen and visiting professor in Canada, the United States, New Zealand, Mexico, Australia, Belgium, Germany, Poland, and Norway. In 2000, he created his own consultancy along with Helle Søholt, Gehl Architects, in Denmark, where he completed diverse urban projects from around the world using data and strategic analysis.

The below text comes from an interview with the Danish architect, theorist and world leader in urban development, and promoter, following Jane Jacobs, of the human scale in the design of public spaces.