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Urbanism

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

The World's Best Cities 2018

08:00 - 27 December, 2017
The World's Best Cities 2018

Ranking cities is a risky endeavor. How can one be objective and fair when this great earth and its 7.6 billion inhabitants would never come to anything close to a consensus? And yet global consulting firm Resonance Consultancy has taken on the challenge based on the opinions of the people they claim matter most: "a city's visitors and its residents."

Surveying the inhabitants and tourists about 23 different factors (that are then grouped into six key categories—Place, Product, Programming, People, Prosperity and Promotion), the methodology aims to be comprehensive in the ranking of quality of place and reputation. In the people category, for example, the surveyors looked at things like the immigration rate and diversity of a city, including number of Foreign-born Residents. Also taken into consideration was the amount of "stories" or "mentions" a city generates on web platforms like Facebook, Google and even TripAdvisor. And, most relevant to us architects, cities were scored on their quality of neighborhoods, landmarks and parks.

Unpacking Paul Rudolph’s Overlooked Architectural Feats in Southeast Asia

09:30 - 20 December, 2017
Intiland Tower. Image © Darren Soh
Intiland Tower. Image © Darren Soh

To speak of Paul Rudolph’s illustrious career is to trace a grand arc stretching from the 1940s to the 1990s. More often than not, the popular narrative begins with his student days at Harvard under the tutelage of Walter Gropius, touches upon his earliest, much-loved Florida beach houses, circles around his eventual break from the rigidity of both the Sarasota School and the International Style, and finally races towards the apex: his chairmanship of the Yale School of Architecture, and the concurrent shift to a Brutalist architectural style characterized by monumental forms, rugged concrete, and interwoven, multilevelled spaces awash with a remarkable interplay of light. Then comes the fall from grace: the beloved Yale Art and Architecture Building went up in flames just as the architecture profession began to question modernist ideals, and eventually Postmodernism was ushered in. Flickering, sputtering, Rudolph's grand narrative arc lurched towards Southeast Asia, bearing away the “martyred saint.” Save for several scattered commissions in the United States, Rudolph spent the last two decades of his life building abroad, mostly across Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Singapore, until his death in 1997.

But of course, time and again, historians have sought to challenge the myth of the failed architect by rereading his understudied work from the late years. Adding to this growing corpus of fresh research and alternate perspectives is architectural photographer Darren Soh’s ongoing project documenting—so far—three of Rudolph’s major works in Southeast Asia: The Colonnade (1986) and The Concourse (1994) in Singapore, and the Intiland Tower (1997) in Surabaya, Indonesia.

The Concourse. Image © Darren Soh The Concourse. Image © Darren Soh The Colonnade. Image © Darren Soh Intiland Tower. Image © Darren Soh + 60

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.

Amazon HQ2: Study by Data Science Experts Names Washington DC as Ideal Host City

07:30 - 7 November, 2017
Amazon HQ2: Study by Data Science Experts Names Washington DC as Ideal Host City, © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/joebehr/37039556922/'>Flickr user joebehr</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/'>CC BY-ND 2.0</a>
© Flickr user joebehr licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Amazon’s open call for bids for its new headquarters, HQ2, closed last month, but in the months leading up to the final decision in 2018, analysts will continue to flood the internet with detailed studies evaluating who they believe should be the winner. In other words, the mirror-mirror-on-the-wall game for cities is just starting to warm up.

Earlier, ArchDaily reported on the data-driven approach adopted by Moody’s Analytics which projected Austin, TX as the winner. But another study by IT education company Thinkful now points towards Washington DC as the city most likely to make the cut. So what makes Washington DC the fairest of them all? Read on to see how data science techniques helped analysts at Thinkful with this prediction, what kind of approach they adopted, and how it differed from that of Moody’s Analytics.

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.

The Top 10 Predicted Cities for Amazon's HQ2 (And Why HQ2 Will Be a Major Urban Catalyst for the Winner)

09:30 - 24 October, 2017
Amazon's current campus in Seattle. Image© <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/joebehr/35438852205/'>Flickr user joebehr</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/'>CC BY-ND 2.0</a>
Amazon's current campus in Seattle. Image© Flickr user joebehr licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

The bidding process for HQ2, Amazon's second headquarters in North America, reached a crescendo last week as the submission deadline drew close. While 238 American cities scrambled to submit proposals and run campaigns in the hope to woo Amazon—or as Slate witheringly described the process, "The Bachelor: Corporate America Edition"—the internet abounded with all sorts of discussions on the project. Does our city have what it takes to house the second headquarters? How would HQ2 affect the selected city? Why are smaller cities submitting proposals when they clearly don’t meet the criteria? Can we predict which cities are more likely to make the cut?

Are Part-Pedestrianized Zones In Dense Urban Environments Dangerous?

04:00 - 12 October, 2017
Are Part-Pedestrianized Zones In Dense Urban Environments Dangerous?, V&A Museum Entrance / AL_A. Image © Hufton + Crow
V&A Museum Entrance / AL_A. Image © Hufton + Crow

Tristram Hunt—director of London's Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A)—has expressed concern about one of the city's most successful semi-pedestrianized zones: Exhibition Road in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. As reported by The Art Newspaper, Hunt has argued that the traffic arrangements are “confusing, dangerous and unsatisfactory”. His answer, following a traffic collision on October 7, 2017, which injured 11 people, is to fully pedestrianize the area.

EID Architecture Redefines High Density Mixed Use Development in Xi'an

16:00 - 3 September, 2017
EID Architecture Redefines High Density Mixed Use Development in Xi'an, © EID Architecture
© EID Architecture

After winning a recent international design competition, EID Architecture out of Shanghai aims to redefine high-density mixed-use development in Asia through their design for the OCT Xi’an International Center (OXIC) in Xi’an, China. The architects consider their approach an exploration of vertical urbanism; the project consists of a 320-meter tall tower for offices and a boutique hotel, a 220-meter tall apartment tower, and a 12-floor podium full of retail and entertainment spaces. Visualized as an icon and cultural landmark, the design is strategically organized horizontally and vertically to create a vibrant, permeable urban center.

© EID Architecture © EID Architecture © EID Architecture © EID Architecture + 20