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Urbanism: The Latest Architecture and News

What Makes a Good Suburb?

Suburbs have experienced a sort of renaissance over the last decade. During the COVID-19 pandemic, people fled urban cores in favor of open space and decentralized amenities. For some people, the word “suburb” or “suburbia” flashes images of manicured lawns and rows of identical homes, but what makes a successful suburb may have more in common with cities than you might think.

Space Popular Adapts Aldo Rossi’s Concepts of Urbanism to the Virtual Realms of the Metaverse

Through the “Search History” exhibition at MAXXI Museum in Rome, Lara Lesmes and Fredrik Hellberg, directors of the architecture and art studio Space Popular, set out to explore the work of Also Rossi and to translate his notions of “urban fact” and “analogous city” to the virtual realm. The installation is a reflection on the proliferation of metaverse platforms and the concept of virtual urbanism. The exhibition is part of the fifth edition of Studio Visit, a partnership between Alcantara and the MAXXI Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, which challenges designers to put forward a personal reinterpretation of the works of the masters in the MAXXI Architecture Collections.

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A City's Trash is Not It's Treasure: How is New York Tackling its Garbage Issues?

The scene is almost identical, no matter which borough of New York City you’re in. Narrow sidewalks are lined by mountains of trash bags and other large objects, waiting for their turn to be taken away by the fleet of sanitary workers and trucks who will dispose of them. Large rodents seek shelter in their temporary plastic homes, feeding on discarded scraps, becoming a regular sighting for New York City residents. The City That Never Sleeps has a bigger problem than the flashing lights and noisy streets- it’s all of the trash that’s left to sit out on the sidewalks.

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The Origins of Cemeteries as Public Parks

In the 19th century, many Americans living in up-and-coming cities and towns oftentimes found themselves strolling through the winding paths of curated gardens, stopping to rest under the shade of a tree and share a picnic with family and friends. Dotted across the grassy areas were headstones, marking the burial locations of those who were laid to rest. While the concept of relaxing in a graveyard seems a bit taboo in the present day, it was sometimes the only option for people to find space for recreation and leisure and was one of the earliest examples of a public park. Many of the parks we have today were actually caused by the evolution and planning of historic cemeteries.

Can Urban Design Find Success Through Grassroots Movements?

There are significant deficiencies in how our cities worldwide operate and serve the people who live in them. Bureaucracies, red tape, and other limiting processes that publicly drive our cities towards their futures are often the aspects that cause change to happen at such a slow pace that by the time an issue is addressed, five more have popped up in its place. Over time, society has come to accept that when the systems we have in place don’t do much to serve our needs, it forces us to turn to alternatives to advocate for change. Some urban issues have found the best solutions after initiating social movements and the formation of grassroots groups. 

Is Airbnb Contributing to the Housing Crisis?

When Airbnb began nearly 15 years ago, it offered a new and innovative solution to book short-term stays without any hassle. By renting out a spare room or an entire apartment, it provided an alternative to traditional hotel models which were often overpriced and overbooked. Airbnb now faces many critics as the company quickly grew, offering hundreds of thousands of stays around the globe, but not without a handful of negative experiences. Now, planners and policymakers are beginning to see the effects of the abundance of Airbnb listings and how it impacts a growing housing crisis.

The Second Studio Podcast: Interview with Andrés Duany

The Second Studio (formerly The Midnight Charette) is an explicit podcast about design, architecture, and the everyday. Hosted by Architects David Lee and Marina Bourderonnet, it features different creative professionals in unscripted conversations that allow for thoughtful takes and personal discussions.

A variety of subjects are covered with honesty and humor: some episodes are interviews, while others are tips for fellow designers, reviews of buildings and other projects, or casual explorations of everyday life and design. The Second Studio is also available on iTunes, Spotify, and YouTube.

This week David and Marina are joined by Architect Andrés Duany, FAIA, CNU, one of the founders of the Congress for the New Urbanism to discuss new urbanism; his appearance on the Tucker Carlson Fox show; the importance of understanding an audience; Seaside, Florida and how it embodies principles of new urbanism; the current state of architecture; and more.

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The Expansion of Pedal Power: Bike Shares are on the Rise

Over the last few years, bike share systems experienced a renaissance as the pandemic forced a hard decline in other forms of public transportation like trains and commercial flights where people wanted to avoid close contact with strangers. While ridership is now on a slow decline, since much of the “normal life” aspects have returned, many people continue to see bike shares as a viable means of transportation, lured by the ease and affordability of getting from place to place.

Regulations on Airbnbs Could Be Coming to A City Near You

Airbnb has long been a reliable way to find a homestay. Since its inception in 2008, the site has hosted more than 7 million homes around the world where travelers can stay in a room, or rent an entire house out for themselves. Recently, many cities have been cracking down on short-term stays, citing safety issues, false listings, and rising property prices which push people out of their homes when housing becomes used just for Airbnb rentals. What are cities doing about these issues? What is Airbnb doing to help remediate them? And will Airbnb be viable for much longer?

On Community Preservation with Vishaan Chakrabarti in Urban Roots Podcast

Urbanist, architect, and professor Vishaan Chakrabarti talked in Urban Roots about preservation, his backstory, and his studio projects around the USA. Hosted by Vanessa M. Quirk, journalist, producer, and Deqah Hussein, historic preservationist and urban planner, in this episode, the founder of Practice for Architecture and Urbanism PAU discusses the seismic shift happening in preservation and planning: a move away from conserving historic buildings towards communities. The interview is part of a series of 15 episodes that deep dive into little-known stories from urban history to conceptualize what shaped our communities.

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Questioning the Megalopolis in the Global South

As of today, over 50% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, and by 2050, this urban population will almost double in size, and 7 of 10 people in the world will live in cities. As cities have continued to grow and expand throughout history, a new vocabulary has also emerged, often to better communicate the scale of urban living in a relatively contemporary context. One such example is the term megalopolis – typically defined as a network of large cities that have been interconnected with surrounding metropolitan areas by infrastructure or transportation. In effect, it’s a region perceived as an encompassing urban area, within which there is a constant flow of commerce and migration.

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OKRA Receives the European Urban Public Space Award 2022

The Dutch firm OKRA landschapsarchitecten has been awarded the European Prize for Urban Public Space 2022 for its project to restore the Catharijnesingel canal in the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands. Being an initiative of the Center of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB), this eleventh edition received 326 projects from 35 different countries showing those problems that European cities must face and proposing some solutions in the framework of a post-pandemic context focused on climate change and how to make cities more livable.

The Fight Against Urban Sprawl and the Principles of New Urbanism

How we plan our cities, suburbs, and rural communities is a constantly evolving set of goals essential for creating sustainable cities. Not only do we need to consider what lies within these areas, but we also need to effectively design the boundaries between each, where urban meets suburban, and where suburban meets the small town. In recent years, urbanists have paid close attention to urban sprawl, or what sometimes happens when towns rapidly grow outwardly from city centers. What happens when cities seem to “sprawl” out of control, and are the design principals behind New Urbanism able to turn urban sprawl into equitable communities?

Make No Little Plans: A Brief History of Chicago Architecture

Chicago, The Windy City, Chi-Town, or The Second City. It’s a place that is known by many names, but to architects and urban planners alike, it’s famous for its history which has given us some of the best-known buildings and important advancements that have helped to shape other cities across the United States. From its inception, Chicago has long served as an architectural hub for innovation.

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Long Term Impacts of Music Festivals: Bringing More than Sounds and Crowds to a City

Multi-day stretches of camping in tents and sweltering under the hot summer sun to be 100 rows back at your favorite musical artist’s set? It must be music festival season. As the year comes to a close, with music festivals returning in full swing after a COVID-19 hiatus, it’s important to understand the socio-economic impact that they have on the cities that host them, long after the final set performs. Do the short-term entertainment and monetary benefits outweigh the long-term urban inequities that they might exacerbate?

Is Fixing City Sidewalks Feasible for Future Cities?

Whether you live in an urban, suburban, or rural area, there’s a good chance that using a sidewalk, in some capacity, is part of your everyday routine. Whether crossing over a sidewalk to get to your car in a parking lot or walking several blocks on your commute to your office downtown, sidewalks are critical for creating safe places for pedestrians away from the streets. But what happens when cities don’t take ownership over sidewalk maintenance, and they’re left to be protected by the people who just use them?