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
Latino Placemaking goes beyond creating great public spaces. It also includes cultural identity, which is shaped by needs, desires, and imagination. The Latino quest for cultural identity parallels the African-American Civil Rights Movement of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, which has its genesis in protests – many of which were carried out in public spaces. — pps.org
Communities can transform underused areas of L.A.’s largest public asset—our 7,500 miles of city streets—into active, vibrant, and accessible public space with People St, a program of the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT). Eligible Community Partners can apply for approval to create projects that enhance the quality of life in this city. Three innovative types of projects are available: Plazas, Parklets, and Bicycle Corrals. — People St.
Los Angeles began piloting its "People St." program in 2011, developing spaces designed to reclaim sections of streetspace for public recreation and use, rather than car traffic. The projects were few but popular, including the Sunset Triangle (designed by Rios Clementi Hale Studios) plaza in...
They conceive of urban space as space owned by the public, not space for real estate development. — Dongwoo Yim, NK News
Much of the North Korean news that reaches the United States reads like tabloid hearsay, as glimpses of a totalitarian dictatorship rife with human rights violations are peeked through Dennis Rodman and military showboating. NK News, an independent and private news source based in Washington...
Architect Josep Lluís Mateo has now completed the final phase of the Castelo Branco Cultural Center in Portugal. Mateo first proposed the design, which won first prize, in an invited competition in 2000. The new Cultural Center in the historic town of Castelo Branco features an ice-skating rink, an exhibition space, and an auditorium — all integrated into one fluid structure. — bustler.net
Once a bustling and stylish avenue, now a street that no longer knows its identity or purpose, no other street in Rotterdam provokes as much discussion as the Coolsingel. — Sculpture International Rotterdam
The Coolsingel is Rotterdam's civic artery, a 1km street home to the city's economic, commercial and political focal points. But despite its central position and function for the last century, the street has suffered a bit of an identity crisis, and lacks the vibrancy it once channeled. To...
Architectural follies impose on our assumptions of what architecture is and what it should be -- what is function, what is beauty, where do private and public space meet. Gwangju Folly II, part of the Gwangju Biennale Foundation, highlights the politicization of public space through multiple...
The MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning released new research that examines the evolution of urban planning and its effects on communities. The report defines placemaking as “an innovative approach to transforming communities by creating and revitalizing open, public spaces around the needs and desires of the community.” — parksify.com
Erasmus University Rotterdam has opened the new public heart of its Woudestein campus. The project can be seen as a benchmark for the way grim and gloomy '60s and '70s institutional areas can be sparked to life. A new semi-sunken garage has been integrated with a new public space design and pond...
The historic Targ Węglowy Square in Gdańsk, Poland was merely an empty lot before the Gdyby Group (whose name translates to "What if?") in collaboration with City Culture Institute proposed a new public space to revive it.
Back in early September, the group installed the numerous cubic box furnishings throughout the lot, where visitors of any age can play, socialize, and relax. Gdyby then gathered public feedback on the project and held an open public discussion about the Square's future. — bustler.net
For the latest edition of the ShowCase feature, Archinect published the Hotel Wiesergut a complex renovation and extension by by GOGL ARCHITEKTEN, located in Hinterglemm/Salzburger Land, Austria. FRaC thought "those cold roofs are hot!" News Over at the financial times Emma Jacobs chatted...
In New York City, an elevated freight rail lane in west Manhattan became the High Line, a celebrated linear park running through a busy part of the borough. Design firm Workshop Architecture hopes that one of Toronto’s hydro corridors can be similarly transformed into a continuous recreation area for Toronto’s pedestrians and cyclists, and that an international contest soliciting ideas for the space will help hasten the process. — torontoist.com
... calling the Lowline a "park" isn't totally accurate. It would be a culture park that hosts art shows, performances, and events, and it would be tied to the neighborhood gallery scene. Preliminary designs call for a densely planted "ramble," but this would be accompanied by a gallery, plaza, and connecting grassy common. The whole site is currently dotted with support columns, and the design would remove ten of these to created a 5,000-square-foot column-free plaza. — ny.curbed.com
Cities Without Ground: A Hong Kong Guidebook is a new book that maps 32 networks of interconnected above- and below-ground pedestrian walkways in Hong Kong. Written by a team of architects (Jonathan D Solomon, Clara Wong, and Adam Frampton) and recently published by ORO Editions, the book...
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