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Urbanism

Words on the Street: Art, Architecture, and the Public Protest

09:30 - 1 October, 2018
Words on the Street: Art, Architecture, and the Public Protest, Barricades in the streets of Bordeaux during the May 1968 protests in France. ImageCourtesy of Wikimedia
Barricades in the streets of Bordeaux during the May 1968 protests in France. ImageCourtesy of Wikimedia

This article was originally published as "What Marchers Today Can Learn from the May 1968 Protests in Paris" on CommonEdge in May 2018. In the 50 years since the historic and worldwide protests of 1968, much has changed. But today's political climate seems equally volatile, with seismic changes threatening social and political establishments across the globe. Lessons from the past are, to borrow the phrase of the moment, more relevant than ever.

American friends recently sent an email: “What’s going on with the French political system? Why all the strikes? What about the endless protest marches? We’d like to visit you in Paris, but we’re a little wary.”

Serious Question: Should We Call Them Slums?

14:00 - 30 September, 2018
Serious Question: Should We Call Them Slums? , Guatemala City "favela" type housing near downtown. Image via Shutterstock
Guatemala City "favela" type housing near downtown. Image via Shutterstock

Slum. Shanty Town. Favela. Ghetto. Barrio Marginal. Bidonville. The list goes on. 

We have the foresight to understand and predict that demand for shelter in urban environments will continue to expand, perhaps indefinitely, but certainly until the highly-cited prediction that by 2050, more than two-thirds of the global population will live in cities. With this reality, is it time to reassess the way in which we talk about different forms of urbanization?

Urbanism that Forgot the Urban: John Portman's Legacy in Detroit

09:30 - 12 September, 2018
Urbanism that Forgot the Urban: John Portman's Legacy in Detroit, John Portman's Renaissance Centre in Detroit. Image via Wikimedia
John Portman's Renaissance Centre in Detroit. Image via Wikimedia

This article was originally published on Common Edge as "Will Detroit ever Fully Recover from John Portman's Renaissance Center?"

Last week I wrote about the anti-urban legacy of architect and developer John Portman. I think it’s worth going into a bit more detail about these projects, since we seem to have learned so little from their failures.

Let’s start with Detroit. The Renaissance Center was one of his largest and most celebrated projects. But this sprawling complex of seven-interconnected skyscrapers poses some difficult questions for urban planners today: can downtown Detroit ever fully recover from this mammoth and ill considered development? And, more importantly, why haven’t other cities learned from its clear and stark lessons?

Exploring Architecture Through Vertical Dance

06:00 - 1 September, 2018
Exploring Architecture Through Vertical Dance, via BANDALOOP
via BANDALOOP

What do dance and architecture have in common? It's difficult to explain how our experiences of dance are stored in our bodily memory, but central to our recollection of a performance is the architectural space that it inhabited. Although dance may have been the central focus, the site is integral to its experience. Both disciplines are fundamental when exploring the ways we navigate and create cities and urban spaces. 

It's no surprise that many choreographers explore both disciplines: dance and architecture. These pieces question how our bodies navigate through built environments. However, it is important to note that this experimentation is not merely contemplative but speaks to the way specific groups of peoples and cultures operate in their surroundings. In the words of the philosopher Marina Garcés: "The body is no longer what is and binds us to a place, but it is the condition for every place. It is the zero point of all the spatialities that we can experience, and at the same time, all the links that constitute us, materially and psychically."

Reinventing a Superblock in Central Seoul - Without the Gentrification

09:30 - 13 August, 2018
Reinventing a Superblock in Central Seoul - Without the Gentrification, Courtesy Kyoung Roh, via Metropolis Magazine
Courtesy Kyoung Roh, via Metropolis Magazine

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "A Once-Maligned Concrete Megastructure in Seoul is Revitalized - Sans Gentrification".

Upon its completion in 1966, Sewoon Sangga, designed by prominent South Korean architect Kim Swoo-geun, was a groundbreaking residential and commercial megastructure consisting of eight multistory buildings covering a full kilometer in the heart of Seoul. Like other futuristic projects of the decade, it was conceived as a self-contained city, complete with amenities that included a park, an atrium, and a pedestrian deck. But construction realities crippled Kim’s utopian vision, compromising those features. By the late 1970s, Sewoon Sangga had shed residents and anchor retail outlets to newer, shinier developments in the wealthy Gangnam district across the river. Between Sewoon’s central location and plunging rents, the building became a hub for light industry—as well as illicit activity.

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. 

Transforming the Parking Garages of Today Into the Housing of Tomorrow

14:00 - 5 August, 2018
Transforming the Parking Garages of Today Into the Housing of Tomorrow, © Gensler via LA Times
© Gensler via LA Times

Are you in the market for a new home? If so, you may want to consider looking at a former parking garage, because they just might be the next place where developers are looking to build. In the United States alone, there are more than 500 million parking spots for 326 million citizens, covering approximately 2,500 square miles of land. Despite the push for a "car-free" future, more of these structures keep springing up across the country. If cities are building parking garages to support the need for the cars of today, how might we rethink their design so they can outfit the autonomous vehicle ambitions of tomorrow? 

How The Digital Revolution Will Make Cities Produce Everything They Consume… Again

02:30 - 9 July, 2018
How The Digital Revolution Will Make Cities Produce Everything They Consume… Again, The Fab City Summit 2018 will be at Parc de La Villette in Paris © William Beaucardet - "Prairie du Triangle", via LaVilette.com
The Fab City Summit 2018 will be at Parc de La Villette in Paris © William Beaucardet - "Prairie du Triangle", via LaVilette.com

This summer, July 11-13, the annual Fab City Summit will take place in Paris at the Paris City Hall and Parc de La Villette. The yearly event will gather the core team behind the Fab City Global Initiative together with city officials, innovation ecosystems from civic society and industry. Get your tickets with 30% discount using code FABDAILY30.

The rapid urbanization of the 20th century was possible thanks to the Industrial Revolution and the assembly line, which allowed the rapid reproduction and replication of infrastructure, products and repetitive urban patterns in cities around the world. Urban morphology and dynamics produce standard patterns and forms of living. At the same time, and following the linear economy, cities consume most of the world’s resources and generate most of world’s waste (according to the United Nations). However, the exponential growth of digital technologies (computation, communication, fabrication) of the last decades offer the opportunity to enable a transition towards a spiral economy (an open circular economy approach), in which data (and knowledge) flow globally, and materials flow locally: from networks of logistics that move atoms, to networks of information that move bits.

What Makes a City Livable to You?

09:30 - 28 April, 2018
© <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/132839384@N08/17241901246'>Flickr user Hafitz Maulana</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a>. ImageA music festival in Singapore
© Flickr user Hafitz Maulana licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. ImageA music festival in Singapore

Mercer released their annual list of the Most Livable Cities in the World last month. The list ranks 231 cities based on factors such as crime rates, sanitation, education and health standards, with Vienna at #1 and Baghdad at #231. There’s always some furor over the results, as there ought to be when a city we love does not make the top 20, or when we see a city rank highly but remember that one time we visited and couldn’t wait to leave.

To be clear, Mercer is a global HR consultancy, and their rankings are meant to serve the multinational corporations that are their clients. The list helps with relocation packages and remuneration for their employees. But a company’s first choice on where to send their workers is not always the same place you’d choose to send yourself to.

And these rankings, calculated as they are, also vary depending on who’s calculating. Monocle publishes their own list, as does The Economist, so the editors at ArchDaily decided to throw our hat in as well. Here we discuss what we think makes cities livable, and what we’d hope to see more of in the future.

What It’s Like to be an Architect who Doesn’t Design Buildings

06:00 - 6 April, 2018
What It’s Like to be an Architect who Doesn’t Design Buildings, Han Zhang along with her team at <a href="http://www.archdaily.cn">ArchDaily China</a>. Image Courtesy of Han Zhang
Han Zhang along with her team at ArchDaily China. Image Courtesy of Han Zhang

There's an old, weary tune that people sing to caution against being an architect: the long years of academic training, the studio work that takes away from sleep, and the small job market in which too many people are vying for the same positions. When you finally get going, the work is trying as well. Many spend months or even years working on the computer and doing models before seeing any of the designs become concrete. If you're talking about the grind, architects know this well enough from their training, and this time of ceaseless endeavor in the workplace only adds to that despair.

Which is why more and more architects are branching out. Better hours, more interesting opportunities, and a chance to do more than just build models. Furthermore, the skills you learn as an architect, such as being sensitive to space, and being able to grasp the cultural and societal demands of a place, can be put to use in rather interesting ways. Here, 3 editors at ArchDaily talk about being an architect, why they stopped designing buildings, and what they do in their work now. 

Dizzying, Abstract and Meticulous Worlds Created by Artist Benjamin Sack

04:00 - 5 April, 2018
I Am That I Hand. Image © Benjamin Sack
I Am That I Hand. Image © Benjamin Sack

Perhaps as a form of "abstract urbanism," artist Benjamin Sack uses pen and paper to build cities and worlds that come to life as he draws. Towers and low-rise buildings merge together to form familiar yet unimaginably intricate cityscapes with complex spatial arrangements, and, in some cases, in human form. This brand of "abstract urbanism" introduces a provocative perspective on urban context and its relation to those who inhabit it.

The Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos Project That Will Be The New Urban Icon of Monterrey

08:00 - 31 March, 2018
The Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos Project That Will Be The New Urban Icon of Monterrey, Cortesía de Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos
Cortesía de Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos

Cortesía de Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos Cortesía de Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos Cortesía de Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos Cortesía de Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos Cortesía de Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos Cortesía de Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos + 20

Proyectos 9, a Monterrey real estate developer, announced Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos as the winners of the international architectural design competition for the construction of Constitución 999, a new mixed-use complex to be erected in the downtown area of Monterrey.

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."

City of Los Angeles Appoints Inaugural Chief Design Officer

16:00 - 24 March, 2018
© <a href=‘https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Att_building_LA.jpg'>Wikimedia user KennethHan</a>  licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/'>CC BY-NC-ND 2.0</a>
© Wikimedia user KennethHan licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Recently, long-standing architecture critic for the LA Times Christopher Hawthorne announced that he was stepping down to take up the position of chief design officer for the City of Los Angeles in Mayor Eric Garcetti’s administration. According to Hawthorne, the role will involve raising “the quality of public architecture and urban design across the city — and the level of civic conversation about those subjects.” This dramatic shift from the question: what is the role of the critic and architecture criticism in shaping civic architecture?

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.

Studies Show Ridesharing Services Like Uber, Lyft Actually Increase Congestion in Cities

14:00 - 27 February, 2018
Studies Show Ridesharing Services Like Uber, Lyft Actually Increase Congestion in Cities, Traffic on the freeway in Los Angeles. Image <a href='http://https://pxhere.com/en/photo/622467'>available in the public domain</a>
Traffic on the freeway in Los Angeles. Image available in the public domain

Despite being heralded as services that will reduce congestion on our streets, ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft actually are making traffic problems worse, a new study from Boston’s Northeastern University has revealed.

Zaha Hadid Architects Unveil Proposal to Transform London into A Network of Walkable Streets

16:00 - 26 February, 2018
Zaha Hadid Architects Unveil Proposal to Transform London into A Network of Walkable Streets, A vision of the future Regent Street. Image via Walkable London
A vision of the future Regent Street. Image via Walkable London

Zaha Hadid Architects has revealed a proposal for the pedestrianization of their home city, London, that would gradually transform the city into an interconnected system of walkable roads.

Named Walkable London, the research proposal has identified the arteries and areas of the city that would most benefit from pedestrianization. The transformation would be implemented over three phases: primary avenues, secondary avenues, and finally, entire districts.  Notable avenues marked for alteration include Upper Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street. 

This Medieval Walled Town with a Storied History Shows How Traditional Urbanism Can Support High Density

09:30 - 15 February, 2018
© Sabine de Villeroy
© Sabine de Villeroy

The protective fortress, winding cobblestone streets, and medieval urban layout are all characteristics of many coastal European towns. But when exploring the French town of Saint-Malo, it is difficult to believe that this is hardly the original city. What separates Saint-Malo from many other European towns located by the sea—aside from its striking location jutting out from the coastline—is the complex history of how it was heavily destroyed in World War II, but rebuilt to its original aesthetic.

© <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/ferrariguy90/8467381701'>Flickr user Trevor Huxham</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/'>CC BY-NC-ND 2.0</a> © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/archer10/15206970485'>Flickr user Dennis Jarvis</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a> Unknown, <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Saint-Malo_après_la_bataille_de_1944.jpg">Saint-Malo après la bataille de 1944</a>, marked as public domain, more details on <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Template:PD-old">Wikimedia Commons</a> © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/lutherankorean/2652730156'>Flickr user Pom Angers</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a> + 7