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Urbanism: The Latest Architecture and News

Exploring the History of the Ideal Renaissance Cities

The concept of an “ideal city” is something that is often talked about today, as we look towards the future and think about what aspects of urban life we feel are most important for residents to thrive in a healthy community. However, ideal cities were conceived during the Italian Renaissance, as planners and architects prioritized rationale in their designs focusing on human values, urban capacities, and the recursive waves of cultural and artistic revolutions that influenced large-scale planning schemes.

Media Scapes in China: How Culture and Politics is Shaping Connected Media Facades

Outside of China, media facades usually appear as proud individualists vying for attention at night. In China, however, you can find large groups of media facades with a common message in numerous metropolitan areas. These media facades visually merge multiple skyscrapers into a panoramic entity. But what are the reasons that this phenomenon is unique to China? And how did it start? The Media Architecture Biennale linked culture and politics to provide an answer to the emergence of media scapes in China.

Light show with connected media facades for the 40th anniversary of Shenzhen Special Economic Zone in Futian Central Business District in Shenzhen, China. Lighting control by Osram / Traxon e:cue.. Image © Traxon e:cueLight show with connected media facades for the 40th anniversary of Shenzhen Special Economic Zone in Futian Central Business District in Shenzhen, China. Lighting control by Osram / Traxon e:cue.. Image © Traxon e:cueDiagram of media facade choreography analyzing the storytelling with visual patterns, text, abstract and concrete elements, movements, topics, sound and colors with regard to a light show in Hangzhou, China, 2017. Image Jing River Light Show. Lighting: Media Facade, www.media-facade.net.. Image + 5

Discover Lebanese Architecture With These 7 Design Firms

Lebanon is known for its millenary culture, and Lebanese architects are a part of it, using their projects to communicate with the environment and with the current challenges in architecture. To celebrate Lebanon’s Independence Day on 22 November, we have selected seven offices to learn more about contemporary Lebanese architecture.

Casas-torre de Aamchit / Hashim Sarkis. Image Cortesia de Hashim SarkisSaint-Charbel Church / BLANKPAGE Architects. Image © Karam Morcos, Majd AchiN.B.K. Residence (2) / DW5 / Bernard Khoury. Image © Ieva SaudargaiteWadi Penthouse / platau. Image © Wisaam Chaaya+ 9

Parks and Squares: 20 Public Space Designs

Henning G. Kruses Plads / BIG. Photo: © Rasmus Hjortshøj
Henning G. Kruses Plads / BIG. Photo: © Rasmus Hjortshøj

Sports Complex in Sant Francesc Xavier / MCEA (Manuel Costoya Estudio de Arquitectura). Photo: © Gonzalo Ballester RosiqueBus Terminal and Urban Renovation in São Luís / Natureza Urbana. Photo: © Meireles JuniorMinor Paradises / studiolibani + #civilarchitectureorg. Photo: Courtesy of Civil Architecture x studiolibaniRodda Lane Intervention / Sibling Architecture. Photo: © Peter Bennetts+ 60

Designing a public space means contemplating the aspects of everyday life in the city. Creating places for gatherings, conflicts, demonstrations, relaxation, and enjoyment. These spaces can be used in many different ways, depending on who interacts with them, and one of the main roles of those who design them is to expand these possibilities and sensations. Including plants, benches, sports facilities, spaces for culture, arts, and performances, conservation areas, or any other element that stands out, is essential to improve the quality of life of the citizens who enjoy these squares and parks.

The Spatial Stories of Ousmane Sembène

When examining the world of African cinema, there are few names more prominent than that of Senegalese director Ousmane Sembène. His films ‘La Noire de…’ and ‘Mandabi’, released in 1966 and 1968 respectively, are films that tell evocative stories on the legacies of colonialism, identity, and immigration. And whilst these two films are relatively slow-spaced, ‘slice-of-life stories, they also offer a valuable spatial critique of the setting where the films are based, providing a helpful framework to understand the intricacies of the post-colonial African city, and the contrast between the African and European metropolises.

Courtesy of Janus FilmsCourtesy of Janus FilmsIbrahim walking in the wide-laned streets of Dakar's more affluent areas. Image Courtesy of Janus FilmsCourtesy of Janus Films+ 13

The Concept of 15-Minute City Wins 2021 Obel Award

The 15-minute city urban theory receives the 2021 Obel Prize in recognition of the concept's value for creating sustainable and people-centric urban environments. First coined in 2016 by Sorbonne professor Carlos Moreno, the term defines a highly flexible urban model that ensures all citizens can access daily needs within a 15-minute distance, thus breaking the hegemony of the car and reintroducing the qualities of historic cities within contemporary urban planning.

Copenhagen. Image © Emilie Koefoed for the OBEL AWARDCopenhagen. Image © Emilie Koefoed for the OBEL AWARD© Emilie Koefoed for the OBEL AWARD© Emilie Koefoed for the OBEL AWARD+ 10

Cultivating Non-Violent Cities: 10 Examples of Friendly Public Spaces

Violent cities result from social and economic inequality, which also affects the urban landscape and the way we live. International Day of Non-Violence is observed on 2 October, so we have selected a series of projects to reflect on non-violent ways of using public space.

Parque público en Tultitlán / PRODUCTORA. Image © Erick MendezBus Terminal and Urban Renovation in São Luís / Natureza Urbana. Image © Meireles JuniorPaprocany Lake Shore Redevelopment / RS + Robert Skitek. Image © Tomasz ZakrzewskiRed Planet / 100architects. Image © Amey Kandalgaonkar+ 14

Is There a Solution to Inequality in Latin American Cities?

The concept of equity is different from equality; equity means everyone needs support, but not necessarily in the same way. Therefore, the concept of urban equity allows us to preserve the uniqueness of each region of a municipality, protecting diversity and richness without overlooking infrastructure needs, which directly affect the quality of public space and the basic services required for a private residence - it allows us to design and invest in the city fairly, regardless of the region.

The Production Chain of Architecture: Reasons to Choose Local Building Materials

The construction industry is known to be one of the most polluting industries on the planet, but we often find it difficult to associate the role of the architect and urban planner with this industry, thus avoiding the responsibility of being involved in one of the most harmful production chains in the world. Therefore, it is imperative to emphasize the importance of questioning not only the materials used in the projects but also the manufacturing systems involved.

A Reflection on Prostitution and Spatial Segregation in the Cities

Sex Day is an unofficial holiday created by marketers celebrated on September 6th in Brazil, highlighting one of the greatest taboos in modern society: sexuality. From an architectural and urban point of view, the immorality associated with sexual activities, especially in exchange for payment, deeply impacts our society and also affects the territory.

While sometimes considered morally wrong, sinful, forbidden, and impure, sex, sexuality, and pleasure are all inherent to human physiology. Prostitution is sometimes referred to as "the world's oldest profession," playing a fundamental role in our societies, as well as in our territory, in the spatial organization and dynamics of cities. This practice is at the margins of modern society and therefore has ended up occupying segregated spaces in the cities.

Are Our Cities Built for the Youth?

Cities we live in today have been built on principles designed decades ago, with prospects of ensuring that they are habitable by everyone. Throughout history, cities have been catalysts of economic growth, serving as focal points for businesses and migration. However, in the last decade, particularly during the last couple of years, the world has  witnessed drastic reconfigurations in the way societies work, live, and commute.

Today’s urban fabric highlights two demographic patterns: rapid urbanization and large youth populations. Cities, although growing in scale, have in fact become younger, with nearly four billion of the world’s population under the age of 30 living in urban areas, and by 2030, UN-Habitat expects 60% of urban populations to be under the age of 18. So when it comes to urban planning and the future of cities, it is evident that the youth should be part of the conversation.

Courtesy of UN-Habitat, Global Public Space ProgrammeCourtesy of UN-Habitat, Global Public Space ProgrammeCourtesy of UN-Habitat, Global Public Space ProgrammeCourtesy of UN Habitat+ 14

Local Techniques in Big Cities: Beyond Earth and Bamboo

Vernacular techniques and local materials are becoming more and more relevant in architecture, but is it possible to bring these concepts to large urban areas?

In 1984, the Amazonian architect Severiano Porto had already pointed out the need to make architecture more connected to its location. Using local materials and techniques is becoming more important each day, considering the impacts of the commodity chain of building construction on the planet. Not surprisingly, the number of projects that use this approach is growing every day, as Severiano has already mentioned in his work since the 1980s.

Himalesque / ARCHIUM. Image © Jun Myung-jinEscola em Gana / Alberto Figueroa. Image Cortesia de Alberto FigueroaCortesia de Warka WaterGrotto Retreat Xiyaotou / A( )VOID. Image © Guo Zhe+ 16