“Village” may not seem like the right term for a cluster of tenement-style walkups that can house more than 100,000 people. Chengzhongcun hang onto the name partly because of the familiarity evoked by the traditions and small-scale businesses that thrive among their migrant populations, and partly because when modern Shenzhen began growing, these places really were just villages in the middle of the city. — foreignpolicy.com
In a region at once feared and exoticized, we have been witnessing for more than a generation the devastation of old centers and the rise of new ones. Today there is no better context in which to investigate the complexities of global practice in architecture than that of the rapidly changing Arab city. — Places Journal
Boring architecture may take an emotional toll on the people forced to live in and around it.
A growing body of research in cognitive science illuminates the physical and mental toll bland cityscapes exact on residents. Generally, these researchers argue that humans are healthier when they live among variety — a cacophony of bars, bodegas, and independent shops — or work in well-designed, unique spaces, rather than unattractive, generic ones. — nymag.com
This is the urban park of today. Unlike the neatly drawn public spaces of an earlier age, these parks are reclaimed from the discarded parcels of our cities: Stranded patches of woods, abandoned military bases and airports, storm-water systems, rail lines and bridges, places where scraps of land are pieced together like quilts or strung together like beads.
The experimentation is global. — National Geographic
Squares have defined urban living since the dawn of democracy, from which they are inseparable. [...]
I don’t think it’s coincidental that early in 2011 the Egyptian revolution centered around Tahrir Square, or that the Occupy Movement later that same year, partly inspired by the Arab Spring, expressed itself by taking over squares like Taksim in Istanbul, the Plaça de Catalunya in Barcelona, and Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan. — nybooks.com
In 1997 two architects set out to rethink Lagos, an African megacity that had been largely abandoned by the state. Amid the apparent chaos and crime, they discovered remarkable patterns of organisation. Two decades later, Rem Koolhaas and Kunlé Adeyemi discuss the past, present and future of the city – and reveal why their own project never saw the light of day — theguardian.com
Felipe Russo, photographer who lives and works in São Paulo, Brazil dedicated a photoseries titled Centro, to this vibrant and complex city.
Felipe Russo focuses on nearly invisible objects spotted in urban space. He analyses coincidentally captured oddments to decode zeitgeist of a modern city. A plastic bag, brick, cardboard box or zoomed-in cobblestone hidden between business centers, skyscrapers and modern buildings became subjects of surreal compositions. — thisispaper.com
China has detailed its urban planning vision, which has been designed to make its sprawling cities more inclusive, safer and better places to live.
[...] policymakers pledged to transform urban development patterns and improve city management.
The last time China held such a high-level meeting was in 1978, when only 18 percent of the population lived in cities. By the end of 2011, in excess of 50 percent of the population called the city their home. — chinadaily.com.cn
Earlier this week, the online street art community was abuzz about an article by Rafael Schacter for The Conversation, From dissident to decorative: why street art sold out and gentrified our cities. [...]
Basically, Schacter argues that street art isn’t rebellious anymore. Rather, that it’s most notable form is as a tool used by corporations to spur gentrification. Agree or disagree, the article is a must-read. — Vandalog
Cairo is an unruly urban sprawl that has spun out of control. Now, officials want to build a new capital in the desert -- a potent symbol of President Sisi's regime. But will it ever happen? [...]
The old Cairo is an ugly city, an affront to the senses. [...] a city of contradictions, created from the bottom up, even though that had never been the intention. It has been growing wildly since the 1960s -- from 3.5 million back then to 18 million now -- against the will of the country's rulers. — spiegel.de
Cities can’t win. When they do well, people resent them as citadels of inequality; when they do badly, they are cesspools of hopelessness. In the seventies and eighties, the seemingly permanent urban crisis became the verdict that American civilization had passed on itself. Forty years later, cities mostly thrive, crime has been in vertiginous decline, the young cluster together in old neighborhoods [...] —and so big cities turn into hateful centers of self-absorbed privilege. — newyorker.com
In any event, it's as you were for the "haves" at the top of list, with Melbourne taking the top spot for a fifth year running, with Vienna, Vancouver, Toronto and Adelaide/Calgary (tied at 5) completing the top five most livable cities in 2015.
[...] these cities have "relatively few challenges to living standards," and enjoy a good infrastructure, healthcare system and a low murder rate.
Unsurprisingly, Damascus remains the least livable city, with Syria embroiled in a bloody civil war. — cnn.com
Using his authority under the Antiquities Act, the president created a protected area spanning roughly 704,000 acres in central Nevada’s Basin and Range, as well as smaller ones in California’s Berryessa Snow Mountain and Texas’ Waco Mammoth. [...]
Broadly supported by environmentalists, [Basin and Range] is also home to a major earthen sculpture, “City” which the artist Michael Heizer has worked to create over nearly half a century. — washingtonpost.com
A new typology of XL-architecture is emerging in Istanbul, negating the urban context. These ‘Citadels-on-Steroids’ rapidly encroach on the city’s urban fabric. [...]
This might very well be the future of all cities. As city walls and state boundaries erode under late capitalism, the walls are only rebuilt at a smaller scale to maintain immunity from the chaos outside. — failedarchitecture.com
New York and London remain the world’s most global cities, as they are the only cities to rank in the top 10 of both the Global Cities Index and the Global Cities Outlook according to the A.T. Kearney Global Cities 2015 [...]. San Francisco leads the Global Cities Outlook due to its strength in innovation. Other cities ranking at the top of the Global Cities Outlook include London (#2), Boston (#3), New York (#4), and Zurich (#5). — atkearney.com
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