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
[...] the bridge will be closed at night, won't allow entry to cyclists or groups of 8 or more without prior booking, and will ocassionally be closed off for fundraising events. Right. So less a public bridge than a privately-managed tourist attraction, then. [...]
The east of London, on the other hand, could actually use another crossing, with or without limits to access — citymetric.com
Public space like the plaza in Al Fawwar is mostly unheard-of in Palestinian camps across the West Bank. Architectural upgrades raise fundamental questions about the Palestinian identity, implying permanence, which refugees here have opposed for generations. [...] Camps were conceived as temporary quarters. The absence of public space was then preserved over the years to fortify residents’ self-identification as refugees, displaced and stateless. — nytimes.com
Someone has told the bouncers to be nice. It is now standard for architectural anoraks like myself to find ourselves challenged by smile-less security as we go about our blameless business – no loitering, no photography, no looking, as if al-Qaida scouts would do their dastardly work in this way or as if, years after the invention of the camera phone, photography can be controlled as it could in the age of the tripod. But not at the base of the Cheesegrater. — theguardian.com
Meandering down a section of Robson Street on the iconic 800 block in downtown Vancouver, passers-by can sit, relax, play, and socialize on the "Urban Reef" installation. Designed by Kaz Bremner and Jeremiah Deutscher with local furniture collective Higher Works, Urban Reef won the inaugural VIVA Vancouver: Robson Redux design-build competition out of 78 submissions worldwide. — bustler.net
The competition had entrants create a temporary urban installation to transform the block to a welcoming public plaza from Canada Day (July 1) until Labor Day (September 1).More details on Bustler.Check out a timelapse video and the making-of teaser below.
Designed by a renowned team of Parisian Ateliers Jean Nouvel in collaboration with Australian firm PTW Architects, One Central Park in downtown Sydney has received some high recognition in just the past few weeks alone. — bustler.net
The project was recently named the Best Tall Building for the Asia + Australia region in CTBUH's 2014 Best Tall Buildings, shortlisted in the World Architecture Festival Awards, and received a Commendation in the NSW Architecture Awards 2014.More info on Bustler.
If women can’t always rely on legislation to support their cause, could they rely on architects? [...]
Brown says it’s time for the design community to take a stand on women’s reproductive rights. “Architects have to become more politically engaged in our built environment.” To that end, Brown is helping organize a design competition that will rethink a privacy fence for Mississippi’s only abortion clinic. — fastcodesign.com
The Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously struck down a Massachusetts law that barred protests near abortion clinics.
The law, enacted in 2007, created 35-foot buffer zones around entrances to abortion clinics. State officials said the law was a response to a history of harassment and violence at abortion clinics in Massachusetts, including a shooting rampage at two facilities in 1994.
The law was challenged on First Amendment grounds by opponents of abortion — nytimes.com
Massachusett's 35-foot buffer zone was initially enacted as a defensive mechanism, responding to a history of harassments and violence around clinics' entrances. The law had previously barred anyone from entering a fixed buffer zone around entrances to reproductive health care facilities...
At a larger scale, the metropolitan regions of Paris and New York City both show significant pedestrian mode shares. New York City has a pedestrian mode share of 34% for all trips citywide ahead of car (33%) and transit (30%) when the Ile-de-France region has a weekday pedestrian mode share of 32%, a car mode share of 43%, and a public transport one up to 21%.
[...] How do they support this large pedestrian population and decrease auto-dominance in public space? — pps.org
The 2014 European Prize for Urban Public Space adds a dose of reality to often romanticized European cities, showing that every city no matter where has its own set of pressing issues. The annual prize recognizes exemplary projects that have transformed and improved public spaces throughout the continent.
Starting with a total of 274 projects from 30 European countries, the international jury selected 25 finalists, and finally two joint winners and four special mentions. — bustler.net
(Pictured above) JOINT WINNER: The Braided Valley, Elx, Spain - 2013AUTHORS: Francisco Leiva Ivorra, Marta García Chico, Prócoro del Real BaezaJOINT WINNER: Renovation of the Old Port, Marseille, France - 2013AUTHORS: Michel Desvigne Paysagiste MDP, Foster + Partners, TANGRAM, INGEROP, AIK...
From pedestrian bridges to city centre waterslides, sculpture parks to public pianos, here are some of the smartest and wackiest crowdfunded projects for urban improvement — theguardian.com
If there is any one lesson that I have learned in my life as a city planner, it is that public spaces have power. It's not just the number of people using them, it's the even greater number of people who feel better about their city just knowing that they are there.
Public space can change how you live in a city, how you feel about a city, whether you choose one city over another, and public space is one of the most important reasons why you stay in a city. — TED
Amanda Burden served as New York City's chief planner under Mayor Bloomberg, leading such revitalization projects as the High Line and Brooklyn's waterfront. You can watch the full TED talk below, or read the complete transcript here.
Maidan Square in Kiev. Taksim Square in Istanbul. Tahrir Square in Cairo. Recent democratic movements around the globe have risen, or crashed and burned, on the hard pavement of vast urban public squares. [...] But too few observers have considered the significance of the empty public spaces themselves. [...]
If public squares are essential to democracy, is their relative absence in modern American life bad for our democracy—or a sign that we’re not as democratic as we imagine? — zocalopublicsquare.org
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