Archinect - News 2017-08-17T13:42:40-04:00 A new urbanism in the Global South Alexander Walter 2017-08-16T15:43:00-04:00 >2017-08-16T15:44:09-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="488" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>But what is the repertoire of concepts, ideas and visions that inform the work of urban planners in the Global South &mdash; in Asia, Latin America and Africa? Are they still under the spell of their colonial and postcolonial masters? Or have they developed their own ideas and their own yardsticks, commensurate with the respective culture of their country and region?</p></em><br /><br /><p>"This insight leads to the most important quality of sustainable urban planning in countries of the Global South," urban planning expert Einhard Schmidt-Kallert&nbsp;writes in his commentary piece on Citiscope, arguing that "Planners need to develop urban planning visions that take into consideration the needs of all citizens, of the urban middle class as well as those of the urban poor in informal settlements. Those visions need to translate these needs into a comprehensive concept plan for an entire city, thus overcoming fragmentation and segregation."</p> BIG's Cactus Towers to join Dorte Mandrup's urban IKEA masterplan in Copenhagen Justine Testado 2017-08-15T18:04:00-04:00 >2017-08-15T18:05:04-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="722" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Bjarke Ingels Group</a> recently unveiled the renderings for two hexagonal &ldquo;Cactus Towers&rdquo;, as part of a 74,000 square-meter masterplan in Copenhagen that fellow Danish practice <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter</a> is in charge of designing. The project will be built in&nbsp;the Vesterbro district at the Kalvebod Brygge waterfront.</p> <figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p><figcaption>Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter's urban IKEA masterplan, which includes BIG's Cactus Towers (upper left corner). Rendering: Luxigon.</figcaption></figure><p>BIG's residential towers, standing at 60 and 80 meters tall, will have 500 compact &ldquo;youth rooms&rdquo; with an average size of 30m2 as well as balconies and terraces on each story. The project gets its name from the towers' rotating hexagonal cores, which form a distinctly &ldquo;spiky&rdquo; silhouette. According to <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Magasinet KBH</a>, the towers are BIG's&nbsp;first residential project in Copenhagen since their acclaimed &Oslash;restad projects, which include the 8 House.<br></p> <figure><figure><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a><figcaption>Image courtesy of BIG.</figcaption></figure></figure><figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p><figcaption>Image courtesy of BIG.</figcaption></figure><figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p><figcaption>Image courtesy of BIG.</figcaption></figure><figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p><figcaption>Image courtesy of BIG.</figcaption></figure><p>The Cactus Towers will over...</p> World Monuments Fund pledges to help restore earthquake-damaged Kumamoto Castle Town Julia Ingalls 2017-08-15T13:05:00-04:00 >2017-08-15T13:05:35-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="434" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p>The historic Japanese city of Kumamoto, famous for its picturesque 15th century castle, experienced a damaging earthquake in 2016, leading to the demolition of several of its historic buildings. The World Monument Fund has pledged to help restore the remaining older buildings (although it should be noted that the current iteration of the castle is a late 20th century concrete copy, retaining only a few of the original wooden walls). According to a <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">press release</a>:</p> <p><em>About 350 historic buildings essential to the town&rsquo;s historic streetscape sustained damage in the 2016 earthquake. Some were demolished in the aftermath of the disaster, leaving many of the approximately 300 structures that remained at great risk of demolition. WMF initially joined ICOMOS Japan in an on-site field study in May 2016 to understand priorities and conservation needs, and will now assist KMT [Kumamoto Machinami Trust] in their restoration efforts.&nbsp;</em></p> <p><em></em></p> Steven Fleming's Velotopia paints a city built for cycling Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-08-15T13:00:00-04:00 >2017-08-15T13:02:45-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="918" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>No disciples of Le Corbusier, Harvey Corbett, Robert Moses or Norman Bel Geddes have been to Velotopia. That means there are no highways and no racks of car-parking stations. Neither have any disciples of Ebenezer Howard been there to suggest that development be clustered around satellite towns with train connections back to the core.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Steven Fleming (<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">previously featured in our Working Out of the Box series</a>), founder of the Dutch bike-centric planning consultancy&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Cycle Space</a>, recently published a new book that lays out an utopian city built around bicycles as the main form of transportation. In Velotopia people enjoy their daily commutes, the flow of traffic is smooth and the development is mixed use and compact.</p><figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p><figcaption>Velotopia Photograph: Courtesy of</figcaption></figure><figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p><figcaption>Indoor bike parking spaces match the anticipated number of beds allowing trips to start inside the home. Photograph: Courtesy of</figcaption></figure><p>An edited excerpt in&nbsp;<em>The</em>&nbsp;<em>Guardian</em>&nbsp;showcases Fleming's wry thought experiment.<em> </em><em>Velotopia is as circular as the topography has allowed, for the usual reason that citizens are always clamouring to live near the civic centre.Development has been restricted to level ground and city limits have been restricted to a diameter of 15km. That ensures average commuting distances of less than 7km and average trip times of less th...</em></p> Controversial plan for garden bridge in London is finally scrapped Mackenzie Goldberg 2017-08-14T13:58:00-04:00 >2017-08-14T14:32:48-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="433" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Lord Davies, the chair of the trust, wrote to Khan outlining the reasons why the trust had taken the decision. He said it was &ldquo;with great regret that trustees have concluded that without mayoral support, the project cannot be delivered&rdquo;.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Back in April,&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">London</a> mayor <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Sadiq Khan</a> announced that he would not spend any more taxpayer money on the controversial <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">garden bridge</a> plan. The project, propelled by Khan's predecessor, Boris Johnson, has been criticized for its inability to raise the private funds promised and its subsequent mishandling of public money. Upon taking office, Khan ordered an investigation into whether the bridge represented value for public money and ultimately, the city decided to remove financial backing. Without help from the city, the Garden Bridge Trust has struggled to come up with the remaining funds necessary to complete the project and the bridge has been officially scrapped by the organization.&nbsp;</p> Is anything left of Mosul? Nam Henderson 2017-08-10T17:40:00-04:00 >2017-08-10T17:41:11-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="531" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>While UN satellite analysis suggests about 10,000 buildings have been severely damaged or completely destroyed, the real level of destruction is believed to be higher. Taking into account damage to multiple floors of buildings, not seen via satellites, the UN now estimates the real number of damaged buildings to be more than three times greater - about 32,000.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Lucy Rodgers, Nassos Stylianou &amp; Daniel Dunford provide an in depth examination of the architectural/urban impacts (what to speak of the personal, loss of lives etc.) of the, nine months long, battle for Mosul.<br></p> FXFOWLE proposes attaching 300-foot spire to skyscraper to become Hudson Yards' tallest Julia Ingalls 2017-08-10T12:47:00-04:00 >2017-08-11T20:13:57-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="395" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Hudson Yards has been making headlines in recent months...But immediately to the northwest, another tower that&rsquo;s been in the making for an equally long period of time may have just received a boost to become the tallest of them all. A new rendering of the Moinian Group&rsquo;s 3 Hudson Boulevard has surfaced, showing both an updated design for the building itself, as well as the addition of a 300-foot spire, that would make the supertall the tallest in the neighborhood.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Despite years of vigorous effort in the Hudson Yards, the Related Companies may not have the tallest skyscraper of them all, thanks to FXFOWLE's proposed spire-tastic tower on 3 Hudson Boulevard. Nothing's final as of yet, but as YIMBY notes, "Back in 2012, YIMBY heard speculation that the tower, previously dubbed The Girasole,&nbsp;could rise as tall as 432 Park Avenue. While 1,350 feet isn&rsquo;t quite 1,397 feet, the new height would certainly rival the supertalls of 57th Street, ranking in between 30 Hudson Yards&rsquo; approximately 1,300-foot parapet, and 432 Park Avenue, as the city&rsquo;s fifth tallest building&nbsp;measured by pinnacle."</p> Where the street has no claim: Presidio Terrace in San Francisco bought after no one paid the street's taxes Julia Ingalls 2017-08-10T12:33:00-04:00 >2017-08-11T09:54:12-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="366" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Tina Lam and Michael Cheng snatched up Presidio Terrace &mdash; the block-long, private oval street lined by 35 megamillion-dollar mansions &mdash; for $90,000 and change in a city-run auction stemming from an unpaid tax bill. They outlasted several other bidders. Now they&rsquo;re looking to cash in &mdash; maybe by charging the residents of those mansions to park on their own private street.</p></em><br /><br /><p>When the annual $14 city tax bill for the street on Presidio Terrace went unpaid for a little over thirty years, the frustrated municipality held an auction to recoup its lost monies. A savvy couple who live in the decidedly less swanky South Bay snapped it up and now are causing all of the exclusive residents of the street to pay much closer attention to civic matters. &nbsp;</p> Construction officially underway at Delta’s new $4B LaGuardia facilities, new renderings and details Dana Schulz 2017-08-09T12:44:00-04:00 >2017-08-10T13:32:23-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="421" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Since Governor Cuomo unveiled his plans for a revamped LaGuardia Airport two years ago, the cost has ballooned from $4 to $8 billion, with $4 billion alone going towards Delta&rsquo;s rebuilt facilities. Construction has finally begun on this part of the project, with the Port Authority signing a long-term lease with Delta Air Lines, which &ldquo;marks the beginning of construction on the final component of the entirely new, unified airport at LaGuardia," according to a press release from the Governor.</p></em><br /><br /><figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p></figure><figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p></figure> Summer in Bryant Park rendered as a Voronoi Diagram Julia Ingalls 2017-08-08T14:40:00-04:00 >2017-08-08T14:40:48-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="215" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p>Instead of the usual snap of people lounging in the sun in Bryant Park, visual effects artist Rod Bogart has created a Voronoi diagram of the outing and posted it to his Twitter account. When asked how he had placed the center points of the diagram, Bogart tweeted that "I used Illustrator to drop points and then just ran a plugin that created the Voronoi for me. It was pretty quick to do, to be honest."</p> <p></p> Steinberg Architects proposes wavy white 40-story residential tower for historic Downtown L.A. Julia Ingalls 2017-08-03T15:13:00-04:00 >2017-08-04T14:31:50-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="873" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Longtime DTLA developer and landowner Joseph Hellen has released a revised design for a proposed 40-story, 420-foot tall apartment tower at 525 South Spring Street.</p></em><br /><br /><p>What would downtown Los Angeles' historic core look like with a 40-story apartment building with a wavy white exterior?&nbsp;Probably a great deal like the rendering above, which was created by Steinberg Architects, working with TSK Architects, to demonstrate their concept of the proposed tower. The tower has gone through a few iterations with different design firms already, but according to Urbanize.LA, this new version also includes a plan to renovate adjacent structures, including "the three adjacent Broadway theaters also owned by [developer] Hellen - the Roxie, Cameo and Arcade."&nbsp;</p> <figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p><figcaption>Image: Steinberg Architects</figcaption></figure><p><br></p> Tadao Ando's "head-out Buddha" creates ample opportunities for reflection, both spiritual and literal Julia Ingalls 2017-08-03T13:39:00-04:00 >2017-08-03T18:49:35-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="433" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p>While Tadao Ando has built religious structures before--famously, the Church of the Light--he has rarely worked with figurative icons of religion, preferring a more abstract approach. This has changed with his open-air prayer hall in the Makomanai Takinoreien Cemetery in Sapporo, Japan, where a previously unsheltered statue of the Buddha has now been reverently housed in Ando's masterful design.</p> <figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p><figcaption>Image: Shigeo Ogawa/Makomanai Takinoreien Cemetery</figcaption></figure><p>Prior to Ando, the 44-foot-tall statue had been sitting in a field for 15 years without any additional ornamentation. The scale and placement of the Buddha served less as a spiritual inspiration than a lonely beacon, prompting the commission of Ando to create a suitable home for the Buddha. The resulting open-air prayer hall both shelters the Buddha without disrupting its connection to the sky.&nbsp;<br></p> <figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p><figcaption>Image: Shigeo Ogawa/Makomanai Takinoreien Cemetery</figcaption></figure><p>From afar, visitors can't see the Buddha, only a landscaped exterior shell. Once they enter the tem...</p> Manufacturing Site of First London Routemaster Transformed into Arts Hub Abigail Banfield 2017-07-30T13:31:00-04:00 >2017-07-31T00:41:47-04:00 <img src="" width="583" height="415" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p>The manufacturing site of the first London bus in E17 has been converted to celebrate London&rsquo;s maker culture in <em>SIDESHOW</em>, an installation with interactive, family friendly elements opening mid-August. The project was undertaken by <em>U+I</em> and <em>Blackhorse Workshop</em>, the latter a &lsquo;pioneer in the maker-space movement&rsquo; which started supporting the regeneration of the Blackhorse Road Area in 2014.</p><figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p></figure><p>The installation of a giant marble run is central to the exhibition, and was created by <em>Blackhorse Workshop</em> alongside young architectural practice <em>Ehk! </em>using components of the original London Routemaster buses which were historically developed and manufactured in the space. This fascinating marble run incorporates disused bus parts as well as over 200 steel ball bearings, with the piece celebrating the history of the 3-acre industrial site, which is earmarked by U+I for development next year. Their plans are to work on a new mixed-use development, providing 337 new homes and workspaces for small busin...</p> Camden Highline gets backing from London Mayor Mackenzie Goldberg 2017-07-28T02:36:00-04:00 >2017-07-27T14:23:03-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="434" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p>Another day, another city, another <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">high line</a>&mdash;this time in <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">London</a>. While in America, we use crowdfunding to help supplement health care costs or to actualize an invention, in England, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Spacehive</a> is using this form of alternative financing to help back projects that make local places better. Think kickstarter, but for place-making. Projects range from a 90m temporary water slide in Bristol to a Library of Things in Southeast London where one can rent a violin or camping gear alongside their books. Among such proposals, is a 0.8km garden walk on a disused elevated railway line. Its project title&mdash;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Camden Highline</a>.&nbsp;<br></p> <p>The project plans to transform the obsolete tracks into a new type of green infrastructure for walking and cycling. They are currently seeking &pound;37,412 in order to cary out a feasibility study, including site appraisals and surveys. Thus far, the project has raised 93% of its funding goal to the thanks of 249 backers, including Mayor of London, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Sadiq Khan</a>. Khan spoke of the pro...</p> Cuomo suggests a plan to allow private sponsorships of NYC subway stations Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-07-27T18:18:00-04:00 >2017-07-31T18:23:14-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="489" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>During the speech, Cuomo suggested that one way to get more funding for the ailing transit system would be to offer companies the opportunity to sponsor subway stations for an annual fee. That money could go toward &ldquo;enhanced maintenance, additional security, and aesthetic features.&rdquo;</p></em><br /><br /><p>The practice of letting corporations put their stamp on the subway has precedents&mdash; in 2009, the MTA sold the naming rights for&nbsp;Atlantic Ave&ndash;Pacific St station in Brooklyn to Barclays, which according to <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">NY Times</a>, gets MTA&nbsp;$200,000 per year for the next two decades.</p> <p>However, many crucial aspects of Cuomo's proposal, like maintenance&nbsp;of stations, are still unclear. MTA chair Joe Lhota said that the details of the plan are still being worked out.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>It&rsquo;s easy to see a corporation fighting to put its name on Union Square or a similarly well-trafficked station; but will stations deep in the outer boroughs then go ignored? Similar issues play out in city parks, where those with deep-pocketed donors&mdash;the High Line, Central Park, etc.&mdash;are well-maintained, while those without &hellip; well, not so much.</em></p> <p>During that same speech, the governor also announced that the new Tappan Zee Bridge&mdash;renamed the Mario Cuomo Bridge will have its grand opening (presumably with a&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">flashy light show</a>) on August 25.&nbsp;</p>... Geoff Manaugh reports on the US' obsession with the Hyperloop and charismatic mega-projects alike Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-07-27T17:34:00-04:00 >2017-08-01T07:21:48-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="433" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Still, the trouble with the Hyperloop is not its breathless gee-whizzery. It&rsquo;s the fact that it mistakes the charismatic mega-project for a viable solution to current problems. If the Hyperloop&rsquo;s purpose is to address large-scale urban mobility, then there are many other options already deserving of public funding and attention&mdash;ones that do not require a hard rebooting of the entire urban world to be realized.</p></em><br /><br /><p><em>Musk&rsquo;s visions are valuable because they show that even people far outside the field of urban planning can be frustrated with the world others have built for us. They, too, should have a say.</em></p> <p><em>It&rsquo;s great set design, but terrible city planning. Tunnels might abruptly end where investors fear to tread; driverless cars might be blocked from crossing bridges managed by rival tech firms. As for the Hyperloop, it is a P.R. coup for Elon Musk&mdash;and a project that, if realized, would undoubtedly be a thrill to experience. But it is by no means the solution that most people have been waiting for, other than the journalists wondering what story they might cover next. </em><br></p> Los Angeles and Honolulu are the toughest cities to build in Mackenzie Goldberg 2017-07-27T17:15:00-04:00 >2017-07-27T17:15:16-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="488" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p>Last week,&nbsp;<em>The Wall Street Journal</em> reported on the housing shortage in&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Venice Beach</a>. As one of&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Los Angeles</a>' hottest neighborhoods&mdash;in large part due to the influx of tech companies that have made it their home and lent it the new nickname, Silicon Beach&mdash;it might come as a surprise to learn that the zip code has not added a single new housing unit in 15 years. In fact, Venice Beach had roughly 700 fewer housing units in 2015 than it did in 2000 and despite adding 4,000 new jobs, lost 3,800 residents.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">According to Issi Romem</a>, a chief economist at&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">BuildZoom</a>&nbsp;who conducted the analysis of data for the publication, the lack of new housing accommodations is a result of overly strict building and zoning restrictions as well as stiff community opposition that has caused the precinct to become the "Toughest Zip Code in America to Build In." When we expand from zip code to city limit, Romem's data found that Los Angeles, in general, sits right behind Honolulu to take second place in terms of t...</p> A lush, photographic tour of the Icelandic Turf House Julia Ingalls 2017-07-27T14:08:00-04:00 >2017-08-04T13:46:03-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="402" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>The Turf House Tradition of Iceland was nominated for UNESCO World Heritage status in 2011. &ldquo;The turf house is an exceptional example of a vernacular architectural tradition, which has survived in Iceland,&rdquo; according to the nomination. &ldquo;The form and design of the turf house is an expression of the cultural values of the society and has adapted to the social and technological changes that took place through the centuries.&rdquo;</p></em><br /><br /><p>Although living walls are still considered to be somewhat noteworthy in contemporary design, Iceland's architecture has been overgrown with the technique for hundreds of years. Along with a history of turf as a building material (and the pressures of modernism on Iceland's architecture in the 20th century)&nbsp;this National Geographic article showcases the haunting beauty of the Icelandic turf house, where the climate is pretty much rainy and picturesquely contemplative for the entire year.</p> <figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p><figcaption>Image: Thomas Ormstom via Flickr</figcaption></figure><p><br></p> What U.S. cities can learn from Vienna's urban housing policy Alexander Walter 2017-07-26T14:39:00-04:00 >2017-07-26T14:46:40-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="432" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>This is a two-part series on housing policy in Vienna and how it could be a model for progressive housing policy in Seattle, where I live, or other American cities struggling with affordable housing. The first part is an overview of financing and subsidies. Part two, coming tomorrow, looks in detail at how zoning and development supports housing affordability.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Mike Eliason,&nbsp;passivhaus designer with&nbsp;Seattle-based&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Patano Studio</a>, penned an insightful two-part commentary for <em>City Observatory</em>, looking at issues of financing, zoning, affordability, sustainability, and quality of life in a side-by-side comparison of <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Vienna</a> and <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Seattle</a>.</p> Bacterial cities and their building codes Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-07-26T09:41:00-04:00 >2017-07-25T19:50:09-04:00 <img src="" width="832" height="468293" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Those biophysical forces are like universal zoning rules for the biofilm cities: they govern how the inhabitants obtain food and building materials, how they can move and how they interact with one another. Just as urban planners use their knowledge of civil engineering principles and regulations to build better cities for people, microbiologists and bioengineers can use these rules to make objects more or less hospitable to the billions of cells that live in and around us.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Biofilms are, essentially, omnipresent clusters of bacteria that foul everything from sewer lines to our teeth&mdash;99.9 percent of the simple cells called prokaryotes default to living in those close quarters among millions of their compatriots.&nbsp;Extracelluar matrix,&nbsp;a sticky combination of proteins and sugars, effectively glues billions of bacteria to a surface of choice, giving biofilms their shapes and protecting the cells living at the center.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>The size of the biofilm and the interaction of cells within it give the different cells the opportunity to specialize in a particular task, such as acquiring food, subverting predators or acting as a reservoir of genetic material from which to regrow the entire structure.</em></p> <p><em>&ldquo;We can watch these complex communities in what is essentially their natural habitat and study their structure or metabolism. There&rsquo;s a lot we can learn when we can study biofilms in their whole freaky native state,&rdquo; said&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Melissa Garren</a>, a marine biologist at California State...</em></p> The privatization of public space in London, investigated by the Guardian Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-07-26T04:30:00-04:00 >2017-07-25T15:33:08-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="390" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Pseudo-public spaces &ndash; large squares, parks and thoroughfares that appear to be public but are actually owned and controlled by developers and their private backers &ndash; are on the rise in London and many other British cities, as local authorities argue they cannot afford to create or maintain such spaces themselves.</p></em><br /><br /><p>The abundance of pseudo-public spaces, namely outdoor, open and publicly accessible locations owned and maintained by private companies in London&nbsp;is alarming. To this day it's largely unclear what regulations people passing through privately-owned 'public' land are subject to, and where members of the public can view those regulations.</p> <p>The Guardian conducted an investigation, contacting landowners of more than 50 major pseudo-public spaces in London,&nbsp;asking an identical set of questions: what restrictions are in place covering users of your land, how are these enforced, where can members of the public see a list of these restrictions, and what conditions are there in the relevant planning agreements regarding public access to your land? Also inquiring whether a series of public activities &ndash; including peaceful political protest, non-commercial photography, non-commercial artistic performances and rough sleeping &ndash; would be permitted on their site, the Guardian received responses from ...</p> LA's Union Station is getting a multi-billion dollar makeover Mackenzie Goldberg 2017-07-25T15:16:00-04:00 >2017-07-25T15:16:43-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="363" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p>When built, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Union Station</a> was called the "Last of the Great Railway Stations." Designed by&nbsp;father and son team John and Donald B. Parkinson, the landmark opened in 1939 at a time when railway service was already beginning to wane. Combining Art Deco, Spanish Colonial, and Mission Revival styles, the site has perhaps become better known for its beauty as an architectural gem&mdash;it has starred in movies such as&nbsp;<em>Blade Runner</em>&mdash;than for being a site of major transport despite its designation as the largest railroad passenger terminal in the Western United States.&nbsp;</p> <figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p></figure><figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p></figure><figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p></figure><p>However, Los Angeles' population continues to grow, more and more people are ditching cars, and a high-speed rail line is potentially on the horizon, all of which are expected to cause patronage of the station to explode by 2040. In preparation for the expected growth, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">LA Metro has been working on a massive master plan</a> alongside <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Gruen Associates</a> and <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Grimshaw Architects</a> for the 78-year old transit hub. Visions for its future include...</p> Is it time for maintenance to be valued over innovation? Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-07-24T18:46:00-04:00 >2017-07-24T18:46:53-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="514" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>To shift our focus from innovation to maintenance would also create an opportunity for greater political consensus. Maintenance is an area of public policy where conservatives and progressives should see eye to eye.</p></em><br /><br /><p><em></em>As&nbsp;Andrew Russell and Lee Vinseljuly of NY Times point out,&nbsp;officials in federal, state and local government do not allocate the resources necessary for preventive maintenance. The authors argue that American conception of technology is narrow and immature<em>&mdash;</em>obsessing over gadgets and fetishizing innovation.</p> <p><em><em></em></em><em>All varieties of American infrastructure &mdash; roads, bridges, airports, sewers &mdash; are in decrepit condition. Lead poisons the water systems of Flint, Mich., and hundreds of other cities and towns across the nation. The American Society of Civil Engineers considers 17 percent of American dams to be &ldquo;high hazard potential,&rdquo; including the one outside Oroville, Calif., that nearly collapsed in February.</em></p> <p><em>It&rsquo;s not just maintenance that our society fails to appreciate; it&rsquo;s also the maintainers themselves. We do not grant them high social status or high salaries. Typically, maintenance is a blue-collar occupation: mechanic, plumber, janitor, electrician. There are white-collar maintainers (l...</em></p> Engineers begin preparing for Border Wall construction Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-07-21T21:12:00-04:00 >2017-07-21T21:12:27-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="433" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>The drilling and soil testing are taking place in El Paso; Santa Teresa, N.M.; Calexico, Calif.; and the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. Mr. Lapan said the testing has been completed in El Paso and Calexico. The agency has identified the San Diego area and the Rio Grande Valley as priority regions for new border walls. The Corps will begin work in the San Diego area in August.</p></em><br /><br /><p>On Tuesday the House Appropriations Committee approved a spending bill that included $1.6 billion for a wall, funding 74 miles of fencing along the southwest border.</p> <p><em>The Department of Homeland Security has moved $20 million from other programs to pay for the construction of several border wall prototypes. Construction of the prototypes for a border wall is set to begin this summer in the San Diego area.</em></p> <p><em>Homeland Security officials said the prototypes would be added to the existing border walls in San Diego and would allow the agency to evaluate which barriers are most effective in giving Border Patrol agents time to respond to illegal drugs and human smuggling. Officials said they planned to build four to eight prototypes.</em><br></p> No Small Plans, a graphic novel illustrating urban planning of the past, the present and the future Chicago Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-07-21T13:27:00-04:00 >2017-07-21T17:49:08-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="470" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>No Small Plans is a graphic novel that follows the neighborhood adventures of teens in Chicago's past, present and future as they wrestle with designing the city they want, need and deserve.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Inspired by the&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">1911 Wacker&rsquo;s Manual</a>, which was once used in classrooms to explain Daniel Burnham&rsquo;s&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">1909 Plan of Chicago</a>, the book is filled with beautiful illustrations and divided into three chapters set in the years 1928, 2017 and 2211. Each chapter ends with a map and a short interlude about Burnham, to give readers insight into the creation of the 1909 Plan and other urban planning challenges.</p> <p><em>No Small Plans&nbsp;was launched in conjunction with <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">CAF</a>&rsquo;s 50th anniversary and our new &ldquo;Meet Your City&rdquo; initiative, which aims to foster civic engagement. In partnership with Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Public Library, CAF aspires to distribute 30,000 copies of&nbsp;No Small Plans&nbsp;for free to Chicago teens over the next three years.</em></p> <figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p><figcaption>Chapter 2: The Present, pg. 33-34</figcaption></figure><p>A copy of the book can be pre-ordered&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> This Man Designed an AI to Generate British Placenames Nicholas Korody 2017-07-21T12:21:00-04:00 >2017-07-24T14:03:13-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="488" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p>As any American who tuned into the last British election realized, UK placenames are a bit out there (at least to American ears, that is), from Droop in Dorset to Westward Ho! in Devon. So Dan Ho decided to train a (quirky) AI to generate its own.&nbsp;</p> <p>Here are some of the ones the computer crafted:</p> <ul><li>Ospley</li><li>Stoke Carrston</li><li>Elfordbion</li><li>Hevermilley</li><li>Ell</li><li>Elle&rsquo;s Chorels</li><li>Capton Briins Forehouint Eftte Green</li><li>Waryburn Torner Midlwood</li><li>Wasts Halkstack</li><li>Kinindworthorpe Marmile</li><li>Dompton Ole</li><li>Dimmer Common</li><li>Pairinggleat</li><li>Catley Holtbridgeham Ruse</li><li>Colon-in Mead</li></ul><p>Check out the full list, as well as how he did it, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> Amid MTA's disastrous Summer, Cuomo moves forward with expensive plan to turn NY's bridges into a light show Mackenzie Goldberg 2017-07-20T14:58:00-04:00 >2017-07-21T11:43:59-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="395" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>The project, part of a broader plan called &ldquo;New York Crossings,&rdquo; would outfit the MTA&rsquo;s seven bridges and two tunnels &mdash; and the Port Authority&rsquo;s George Washington Bridge &mdash; with pulsating, multicolored LED lights that can be choreographed with each other, with the Empire State Building and with One World Trade.</p></em><br /><br /><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">MTA's crumbling infrastructure</a> has been making headlines since April and the situation does not appear to be getting any better for <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">NYC</a> transiters; three-quarters of the city's subway lines are plagued by chronic delays and frustrated riders continue to overcrowd the system.</p> <p></p> <p><br>While the parties involved point fingers and place blame every which way they can,&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo,</a> has faced growing pressure to fix the system.<br></p> <p>Among the list of complaints being lodged against the Chief of State, are critiques of his plan to turn the region's bridges into a choreographed light show in concert with the city's skyscrapers. The cost of the lighting scheme has not been revealed though an early internal estimate put the price tag at $350 mill. In addition, where funding will come from remains unclear&mdash;a spokesman for Cuomo stated that "this is definitively NOT being paid for by the MTA," though a meeting back in January had suggested otherwise. Regardless of who picks up the tab, c...</p> Elon Musk tweets about receiving an approval for an underground NY-Phil-Balt-DC Hyperloop Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-07-20T13:24:00-04:00 >2017-07-24T13:43:10-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="432" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Just received verbal govt approval for The Boring Company to build an underground NY-Phil-Balt-DC Hyperloop.</p></em><br /><br /><p>NY-DC in 29 mins?...</p> <p></p> Houses in Detroit demolished with money intended to save them Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-07-19T14:16:00-04:00 >2017-07-30T20:20:38-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="488" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>With a surplus of unused money, Michigan became the first state in 2013 to demolish homes using money intended to save them. The idea was that demolitions would revitalize neighborhoods by increasing the property values of surrounding houses, attracting new homeowners, and reducing crime rates.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Detroit's&nbsp;neediest homeowners were supposed to receive federal assistance to save their homes as part of the Treasury Department's seven-year-old Hardest Hit Fund. However, Michigan squandered its originally allotted $498 million by creating unnecessarily stringent requirements, according to a scathing audit issued in January by the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP). </p> <p><em>As a result, more than 80 percent of Detroiters making $30,000 or less a year were denied assistance to save their homes from tax or mortgage foreclosure. By contrast, the other 17 states with Hardest Hit Funds rejected 53 percent of homeowners making less than $30,000. </em></p> <p>SIGTARP 2016 investigation found that demolition programs are "vulnerable to the risk of unfair competitive practices such as bid rigging, contract steering, and other closed door contracting processes" because the "Treasury conducts no oversight" and therefore cannot determine whether the cost of d...</p> Lower Manhattan is quickly becoming the epicenter of the New York architecture scene Nicholas Korody 2017-07-19T14:03:00-04:00 >2017-07-20T12:08:23-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="433" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p>According to <em><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">The Real Deal</a></em>, via the Downtown Alliance, the center of the New York architecture world is heading south, with over 100 architecture and engineering firms concentrated in Lower Manhattan. Nearly half of them moved there in the last decade or so, while others&mdash;like SOM and AECOM&mdash;settled in the area even earlier.</p> <p>Apparently, a lot of the firms were once in Midtown South and SoHo, but rising rents forced them out. In fact, 10 of the 15 architecture firms that relocated to Lower Manhattan in 2014 were coming from the former. That&rsquo;s because, in part, rents jumped a solid 13% each year between 2010 and 2013 in Midtown South&mdash;the &ldquo;most expensive major market in the nation,&rdquo; according to Tristan Ashby of JLL.</p> <p>Other forces driving architecture down into the lower reaches of Manhattan include easy access to mass transit as well as an influx of new restaurants.</p> <p>But it&rsquo;s not clear how long Lower Manhattan will remain the loci of New York architecture. For example, BIG has announced t...</p>