April 14 2014

How Billboards Fund Public Art in Toronto

Artists in Toronto have long been undervalued. "Artists were constantly pitching projects to the city, but there was never enough money [in the city budget]," said Devon Ostrom, co-founder of BeautifulCity.ca, an alliance of over sixty organizations supporting the arts in Toronto. BeautifulCity.ca worked tirelessly for more than a decade to change the conversation in City Hall from thinking about the arts as a “special interest” to how it is an integral part of city life. A strong and welcoming arts and culture scene attracts creative and vibrant people to the city, improves public space, and strengthens the community.

[...]

April 11 2014

Double Decker Highway: Good or Bad for Nairobi?

It is not news that there is a planned double decker highway for the City of Nairobi. Many people see the project as progressive and a potential solution to the traffic congestion problems.

Only a few are asking whether it is really a long-term solution to our traffic menace and whether there are other more sustainable alternatives. Other concerns include its effect on security and privacy of those along the road, including the Kenya Parliament, several places of worship and its effect on nearby green spaces.

April 11 2014

Water Continues to Define Washington D.C.

Water is one of the necessary conditions of life on this planet. That simple fact, along with the important trade routes moving water provides, is why the first human settlements were built along rivers and coasts. It is the only force large enough to give form to the sprawling metropolises that dot the Earth’s landscape. But these days there is a conflict inherent in our civilization’s relationship with its most precious resource. And this conflict runs deep.

Situated between two rivers, the Potomac and Anacostia, it is important that Washington, D.C. finds a way to recon[...]

April 10 2014

Video of Submerged Port City in Pavlopetri, Greece

Pavlopetri, one of the oldest cities in the world, is located south of Laconia, opposite to breathtaking Elafonisos. The submerged port city was already in its heyday by the Bronze Age.

Pavlopetri had an excellent road design and a well constructed road network, while at the same time it had a port, houses with gardens, and was in general a region with characteristic features of an urban way of life.

A few years ago, the BBC created a digital representation of how Pavlopetri used to be during its prime. In this video, one can also find interesting statements regarding this amazing place[...]

April 09 2014

Maryland’s Septics Law Highlights Differences of Rural and Urban Communities

Maryland’s Sustainable Growth & Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012, also known as the septics law, widened the divide between rural and urban communities in the state. The law is part of a bundle of programs pushed through within the last decade to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Some of these initiatives include:

Enhanced nutrient removal upgrades of over fifty major wastewater treatment plants; Doubling of the Bay Restoration Fund (BRF) fee for households with on-site septic systems; Installation of 4,500 eligible septic systems within the Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Bay watersheds; Planting of over 400,000 acres of cover crops contribu[...]
April 09 2014

Why Seattle’s Fremont Neighborhood is the Center of the Universe

Fremont is one of Seattle’s most vibrant neighborhoods, boasting an enviable popularity with residents, tourists and businesses. It’s abuzz with the kind of economic development-generating activity that other communities try to plan for, all the while retaining a uniquely organic feel. What is it about Fremont that makes it so appealing? What magical combination of elements has come together to create this thriving little Puget Sound enclave?

As those in the field of Placemaking know, successful destinations are the result of a common thread of ingredients; in this case, the most relevant[...]

April 09 2014

Open Data & Government Pulling Pittsburgh into the 21st Century

What do you think of when you hear about Pittsburgh? A sky filled with smoke and soot?

A huge steel plant?

Or do you think of the Steelers playing at Heinz Field?

What about an economic juggernaut that had a part in turning the United States into a superpower?

Do you know that much of the steel that now forms the frames of many of the world’s older buildings was produced near the city? The economy that the steel industry created in the late 1800s and early 1900s produced so much wealth for [...]

April 09 2014

Green Light Given for Bike Path in Montreal, Canada

On March 25th, the administration of the city of Montreal finally gave the green light to a development project aiming to create an elevated bicycle route that will eventually be located under the Saint-Laurent railway overpass on the corner of Bellechasse Street. This area, riddled with potholes, will be targeted for a complete facelift in order to make way for what we expect to be one of the most important bike crossings in the metro area.

“Our intention is to make a true bike highway running from north to south that will begin in Pont-Viau and will lead downtown, securely linking the Clark path with the Saint-Domi[...]

April 09 2014

Urban Renewal to Shape a “New” Downtown in Bogota, Colombia

As the capital city of one of the most violent countries in the world during the 1980s and 1990s, Bogota was not considered an interesting place to travel. The negative imagery of Bogota was comprised of rioting, gang- and drug-related violence, as well as deteriorated buildings and public spaces. Nonetheless, Bogota has been considered a successful case of urban development and transformation since 2003. This has mainly been driven by its BRT system (Transmilenio) and new public libraries and parks in former marginal areas, which helped to improve the quality of life of millions of citizens. The renewal of the downtown was part of the process, with important projects tha[...]

April 08 2014

World Urban Forum 7: Medellin, Colombia at the Heart of Urban Debates

Twenty years after being considered the the most violent city in the world, Medellin is no longer recognized as the most dangerous city, but the most innovative, the most resilient, and an example in planning projects that generate equality.

This transformation is the reason Medellin became the host city of the Seventh World Urban Forum, one of the most important of its kind dealing with city issues. Led by UN-Habitat, the Municipality of Medellín and the Colombian Ministry of Housing, the event will be held in the week of April 5th to 11th.

In 2012, during the sixth World Urban Forum in Naples, Medellín w[...]

April 08 2014

Online Platform Aims to Fix Their “City of Errors”

A couple of years ago, a group of young people decided to voluntarily set up an interactive platform for their city. A platform that according to their official website is aimed at all people who find, deal with and repair the errors of the city where they live.

In the beginning, the group created a number of online documentaries, which were named "errors." Through these videos the group tried to show how easy it is for the citizens of one city to find and repair a problem or a difficult situation in their everyday life. Subsequently, they created a social network in order to motivate citizens to repair the "erro[...]

April 08 2014

RIBA and ARB to Restructure Architectural Education in the UK

In the UK the route to becoming a qualified architect averages at almost ten years, longer than most other EU countries. With recent debates about high drop-out rates in architectural education and low percentages of females working in practices, will a reduction in educational length help with these issues. Should architectural education be so long?

Studio environment seen across many schools of architecture

As part of a new EU directive, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Architectural Registration Board (ARB) have teamed up to re[...]

April 08 2014

Protestors in Athens Take to the Streets as Landfill Development Continues

With what criteria should we evaluate which places make perfect wastelands? Should we continue burdening an already polluted area or should we create new sites of pollution? There is not a more igniting local issue than the waste management of Athens and Attica, particularly these days anticipating the Greek Municipal Elections of May 2014. With few infrastructure projects in progress, big construction corporations are yearning to be a part of Attica’s waste management endeavors. Currently being in an initiation phase, with most waste treatment facilities not even a decade old, waste management has estimated profits, but be aware of the conflicts that lie ahead. The Greek gov[...]
April 07 2014

Passion for the Arts in Former Slaughterhouses in Casablanca, Morocco

In Casablanca’s outskirts, in the working-class neighborhood of Hay Mohammadi, a surprise awaits visitors. Behind the imposing pediment of the city’s former slaughterhouses, among a labyrinth of alleys and small squares, you can come across young skateboarders, rappers, and dance crews putting the final touches to their performances, and in the large hall graffiti and contemporary works form the basis of an exposition. Welcome to La Fabrique Culturelle: Africa’s first brownfield turned cultural space, located in Casablanca’s former slaughterhouses since 2009.

400,000 Visitors

Since its opening, La Fabrique C[...]

April 07 2014

Repurposing the Public Toilets of Dublin, Ireland

Dotted around Dublin there are dozens of former "public conveniences" or public toilets now unused, boarded and chained shut. These small, single story Victorian and Edwardian units were once an essential part of everyday life for many Dubliners.

During the last century, a number of public toilet units were constructed around the Dublin City area to provide much needed services to the public. At the time of construction these units were absolutely essential considering there were many households without indoor toilets of their own. Those living in these houses were entirely dependent on the public toil[...]

April 04 2014

Painting the Town Yellow, Green, and Blue: Street Art in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Beyond its inherent associations with youthful disobedience and vandalism, Brazilian graffiti captures a city’s culture and history, its feelings on political or social conditions, as well as a little frivolity and playfulness. A distinction needs to be made therefore between grafite, a street art style focused on aesthetics, and pichação, or tagging, in which early taggers would steal tar or piche from construction sites to use as their writing medium. According to street artist Binho, “Brazilian graffiti is an art that educates young people,” and therefore should not be considered a form of vandalism. [...]

April 04 2014

Mammuko Provides The Astrid an Upcycled Second Life: Kinsale, Ireland

Kinsale is a picturesque, popular and historic town on the southwest coast of Ireland. It is a port town and holds a very large harbor for boats and tall ships. In June 2013, the Astrid, a tall ship from the Netherlands, ran aground and was scrapped at Kinsale’s Lobster Quay in December 2013. The ship was in Kinsale for one of the regattas held in the town when it ran aground and sank along the rocks a short distance away from Kinsale harbour, at Oysterhaven. The forty-two meter steel square-rigger held fast on the rocks at Ballymacus Point for six weeks before being salvaged in a complex operation, it is as a result of the wreckage that a lot of up-cycling has occurred . [...]
April 03 2014

Holiday Home Ban Pushes Architects Out of Wengen, Switzerland

What use is an architect in a no-build zone? In the town of Wengen, the oncoming ban of second home construction in Switzerland is threatening architects main livelihood. Much of the construction industry may have to move elsewhere unless the role of the architect can encompass a broader scope of work to sustain itself in Swiss tourist towns.

In 2012 a federal law was passed that restricts the amount of holiday homes to no more than 20% of the total housing stock in any commune. This mainly affects about 500 alpine towns that rely on seasonal tourism, like Wengen, where second homes make up more than half[...]

April 03 2014

Pavement Debates in Kansas City, Missouri

Downtown Kansas City, Missouri, like other metropolitan centers, has higher amounts of parking than its neighboring suburban and rural areas. A majority of the land cover in downtown Kansas City, is made up of off-street, on-street parking or underground parking garages. Parking lots create an opportunity cost issue, in addition to taking up land that could be used for other purposes. 

The myriad of free parking options can indeed overvalue or underestimate the true cost of driving and discourage alternative modes of transportation, such as bus transit through the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA), and cycling. Although regions ar[...]
April 03 2014

Runners Explore the City of Athens, Greece

Area named Plaka in Athens

From the alleys of Plaka at Anafiotika, to Archaia Agora, Thiseion and the footpaths of Filopappou. From the columns of the Temple of the Olympian Zeus, to Zappeio and the Parliament. That was the first venture for the three young members of a newly created team, named "Urban Trail Runners." They decided to cross many areas of Αthens' historical centre, through narrow streets and pedestrian areas, going up and down stairs, running through the crowd and enjoying great applause, or receiving a friendly heads up from the guards of the archaeological sites, since running in those [...]

 

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