The first public parklet in downtown Portland, the installation is intended to help revitalize this stretch of SW Fourth Avenue in the heart of the SoMa EcoDistrict (for “South of Market Street”), giving students, faculty, and workers from surrounding offices a place to sit and enjoy their food-cart lunches in the sunshine, rather than racing back to their desks to eat. — pdx.edu
Downtown Portland is no stranger to green public spaces, but the recently opened Fourth Avenue Parklet has that ideal recipe for a do-good-feel-good collaborative project. Twenty-six architecture students from Portland State University spent 18 months to design and construct the parklet, which...
If the project is scaled up, it could have a substantial impact on the urban fabric: Los Angeles has a total of almost 900 miles of alleys, roughly the length of the coast of California. Proponents believe that on a citywide scale, green alleys could act as significant rainwater sponges, mitigate the heat island effect, and reduce vehicle use, as well as bring social and health benefits to nearby residents. — nextcity.org
Tori Kjer, a program director of the Trust for Public Land, and her colleagues won support from local South L.A. communities for their proposed Avalon Green Alley Network Plan, which will transform the city's alleyways into more community-friendly spaces for playing and for bike and walking...
Chicago's highly anticipated elevated trail and park system known as The 606, otherwise referred to as the Bloomingdale Trail or the "Chicago High Line", finally celebrated its grand opening this past Saturday on the appropriate date of June 6 (6/06). The centerpiece of the $95 million...
Instead, he lives on Buena Vista Terrace SE, a grim stretch of low-rise apartments pushed up against the Maryland border. And on Buena Vista Terrace, just standing outside can get you in trouble. [...]
The law is meant to fight disorderly conduct, but some lawyers and the people arrested for the “crime” say it’s routinely used to harass people seen as undesirable: protesters, the homeless, and black men. — washingtoncitypaper.com
Since terrorism has become one of the guiding forces in urban design, the incorporation of immense fortifications into everyday streets has spawned an entire industry of defensive architecture [...]
The latest developments in this rising tide of urban paranoia are on display this week at the Counter Terror Expo in west London’s Olympia, a sprawling trade show that proudly claims to showcase “the key terror threat areas under one roof”. It is an enormous supermarket of neuroses [...]. — theguardian.com
This morning, Southwest Airlines announced that non-profit organizations in six U.S. cities will receive Placemaking grants to help them reimagine and reactivate important but underutilized public spaces in their city. [...]
Albuquerque, New Mexico: Civic Plaza
Ft. Myers, Florida: Lee County Regional Library
Jacksonville, Florida: Hemming Park
Milwaukee, Wisconsin: 4th & Wisconsin Area
Portland, Maine: Congress Square Park
St. Louis, Missouri: Strauss Park — pps.org
Just three proposals left in the second attempt of the St. Petersburg Pier design competition in St. Petersburg, Florida. Back in 2012, "The Lens" by Michael Maltzan Architecture and Tom Leader Studio won the original competition, but that design was kicked to the curb after local group Concerned...
Alastair Graham hopes Violence Prevention Through Urban Upgrading, an initiative of the government of Cape Town, South Africa, will end better. He calls the effort, which has been revamping areas around train stations since 2006, part of “a package of potential solutions … either improving safety, or improving socioeconomic situation, or improving quality of life.” The project is aimed at curbing violence by augmenting the public spaces in which violent crime frequently occurs [...]. — nextcity.org
"The public sector stopped making public space a long time ago," Los Angeles architect Jon Jerde told Wired magazine rather matter-of-factly in 1999. [...]
A little more than two decades later, there is something quaintly fatalistic about Jerde's attitude toward the frail state of public space. In Los Angeles, at least, it has returned pretty dramatically to health. — latimes.com
After moving a few times in Cincinnati throughout the later half of the 20th century, the Contemporary Arts Center relocated into its current home at the Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Arts in 2003. Designed by Zaha Hadid, who won the commission in the late 1990s, the...
I love the mall as much as I love the urban walking experience, museums and movie theaters. Today the stripmall is not just a part of my everyday life in Los Angeles [...] it is also a memory from my own suburban adolescence growing up in Illinois.
Jon Jerde, the LA architect both celebrated and loathed for his role in spreading shopping malls across US suburbia, died this month. Some might scoff at his life’s achievement. I am not one of them. — theguardian.com
Times Square runs on spectacle. Bigger and brighter is always better. And though plenty of New Yorkers wear their criticism of Times Square as a badge of local honor [...] one of the most iconic public spaces in the world. In recent years, as stretches of Broadway formerly open to vehicular traffic have been repurposed as pedestrian plazas, opportunities to activate the “crossroads of the world” with events, performances, and public art installations have ballooned. — urbanomnibus.net
NYC has been the focal point for recurrent demonstrations over the last couple of weeks, with large, long marches, die-ins and rallies. This is not surprising, since NYC is the most populous city in the country. But even more than that, the urban environment — dense, centralized, vertical, walkable — creates spaces that are conducive for these protests to pick up steam. The existence of public spaces, such as Union Square and Washington Square Park, function as easily accessible rallying points. — america.aljazeera.com
The Economist Intelligence Unit puts Melbourne in first place, followed by Vienna, Vancouver, Toronto, Adelaide and Calgary. There is never any mention, on any list, of London or New York, Paris or Hong Kong. There are no liveable cities where you might actually want to live. [...] Liveability, it seems, is defined by a total absence of risk or chance, pleasure or surprise. It is an index of comfort, a guide to places where you can go safe in the knowledge you’ll never be far from a Starbucks. — theguardian.com
Nodding to the Taksim Square political protests in May 2013, the Serra Gate installation by Istanbul practice GAD Architecture artistically interprets and also invites passers-by to examine the influence of urban interventions in the public realm. Serra Gate, which was inspired by the large-scale sculptures of artist Richard Serra, highlights how protesters created makeshift living spaces inside the park and the streets... — bustler.net
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