Rehabilitating Africa

From Design Indaba:  a proposed project – this might be a candidate for the very problem that was discussed earlier here of Gentrification but the need in African Cites is undeniable and many of them are so run down that they are in desperate need of development with the incredible growth of these cites projects like this are bound to happen:

Issa Diabaté has launched a project that seeks to rehabilitate a district of Abidjan, Ivory Coast to create a city that is economically and socially viable.

The Cocody Bay Landscaping Project by Issa Diabaté.
The Cocody Bay Landscaping Project by Issa Diabaté.

“Designing with a broad vision makes things possible”, said Issa Diabaté atDesign Indaba Conference 2014, while presenting his groundbreaking urban planning endeavour The Cocody Bay Landscaping Project.

The Cocody Bay Landscaping Project is an urban planning and architecture project designed for the rehabilitation of the lagoon bay area located in the centre of the city of Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

The issue for the Ivory Coast is the lack of vision for urban planning, says Diabaté.

Diabaté’s firm Koffi & Diabaté Architects was commissioned by the District of Abidjan in an effort to rehabilitate an area, which has suffered from major degradation over the past 20 years due to sewage problems that affected the landscape on a grand scale.

Beyond just rehabilitation the project aims to establish a positive and long-lasting impact on the city by developing a new leisure and economic centre in the heart of the town. As such, in an effort to incorporate both environmental and social needs, along with the rehabilitation of the bay, an integral part of the project is the design of major green and leisurely spaces for city dwellers in the form of boardwalks a d various entertainment areas.

The Cocody Bay Landscaping Project also involves the development of a “smart city” incorporating notions of urban planning for social mobility. With this in mind, Diabaté will create a new residential and commercial area in the hope of fostering a rise in employment and future economic viability for the city.

The project is due for launch this year and is estimated to take between five and ten years to complete. 

 

The Cocody Bay Landscaping Project was showcased as part of Design Indaba Expo’s Africa is Now exhibition under the theme of “Africa is Urban”. The exhibition and theme in particular shrugged off the perception that Africa is largely rural and instead reveal how it is a engine for growth and opportunity in both challenges and possibilities present on the continent. 

Posted in "Natural" Systems, Economic Systems, Infrastructural Systems, Landscape Architecture, Socio- Politico Systems, Urban Design | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The thorny matter of gentrification

From Kaid Benfield’s Blog another stab at  this eternally problematic area of development – its underbelly as it were – my guess is that it was a problem for pre CE Roman administrators too, and in some distant future age t on the old colonised Planet Z there will still be this discussion – that does not mean we don’t need to address it, but the question is how…? Kaid revues some of the issues here..

a sign in Chicago (by: Eric Allix Rogers, creative commons)

A few days ago, I made a presentation to a group of thoughtful and accomplished philanthropists on sustainable land development.  I made a strong pitch for urban revitalization and was countered with a question about gentrification, the messy phenomenon that occurs if longtime residents of older neighborhoods find themselves priced out of their own communities as those neighborhoods become more sought-after and valuable.  To be honest, I don’t think I handled the question particularly well.

I never do, really, even though it comes up a lot.  The issue is just too thorny on all sides and, in most cases, racially charged, because minority populations are the ones who feel squeezed when more affluent, generally white, residents rediscover cities and move in.  I have a lot of sympathy for long-timers who fear losing control of their neighborhoods and, in too many cases, their very homes as rents and property taxes go up with increased value brought on by increased demand.  But, on the other hand, the environmental, fiscal and, yes, social benefits of revitalization and repopulation of our older, frequently distressed neighborhoods are so substantial that I believe strongly that they must continue.

Surely we haven’t reached the point where making inner-city neighborhoods more attractive to more residents is a bad thing.  And does anyone really have a right in the US to keep newcomers out?  Didn’t we have a civil rights movement largely over that very issue?

I get it that we want the rebirth of America’s long-forgotten neighborhoods to lift all boats, not just provide a haven for affluent new residents.  But I find myself stymied when trying to find a balanced solution, since the argument of anti-gentrification forces can all too easily amount to, “I don’t want the neighborhood to improve so much that properties in it become worth much more.”  No one would say it in those words, of course.  Is there a way to provide some protection to longstanding residents without providing so much that it inhibits the very improvement that so many of our neighborhoods badly need?

The paralysis of imperfect choices

The good news is that a number of thoughtful people have been thinking and writing about these things.  Writing last year in Rooflines, the excellent blog of the National Housing Institute, Rick Jacobus eloquently described how gentrification can too easily feel like a problem with no solution at all:

“The way most people talk and think about [gentrification] seems to create a black hole of self-doubt from which no realistic strategy for neighborhood improvement can escape. 

“The paralyzing thinking goes like this: We want to improve lower-income neighborhoods to make them better places for the people who live there now but anything we do to make them better a poster in LA (by: Keith Hamm, creative commons)places will inevitably make people with more money want to live there and this will inevitably drive up rents and prices and displace the current residents, harming the people we set out to help (or, in many cases, harming the very people responsible for making the neighborhood better through years of hard work) and rewarding people who drop in at the last minute to displace them.

“Once you recognize this dynamic, it is very hard to talk yourself into wholeheartedly backing any kind of action. It seems wrong to leave distressed communities to rot but it also seems wrong to turn them around. Sadly, the most common response is to try to find strategies that improve things, but not too much.”

One of my favorite recent articles on the subject was written last month by Scott Doyon for his planning firm’s blog, PlaceShakers.  Scott, who has become a friend through an online community of urbanists who check in with each other almost daily, might be described by some as an early-generation gentrifier:  he and his wife bought into a working-class, African American neighborhood some twenty years ago because it was affordable.  At the time, they had good education but almost no money.  Since then, he’s seen the neighborhood attract more and more white, increasingly affluent residents.

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Posted in Economic Systems, Participation & Engagement, Personal Insights & Feelings, Socio- Politico Systems, Urban Design, Urban Facilities Management | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mill River Park and Greenway by OLIN

See on Scoop.itUrban Choreography

OLIN led a team of ecologists and civil engineers, collaborating with experts to create a comprehensive and ambitious framework for a park and greenway.

See on www.landezine.com

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2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 29,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 11 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Google+ isn’t a social network; it’s The Matrix

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Charles Arthur: Trying to analyse the amount of activity on Google+ in comparison to Facebook or Twitter yields little useful information – because it doesn’t have the same purpose as them

Donovan Gillman‘s insight:

Big Brothers watching me???

See on www.theguardian.com

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The APARTHEID has been deeply written into the South African landscape: What Will Be Mandela’s Spatial Legacy?

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From the window of an airplane it’s all too plain that apartheid has been deeply written into the South African landscape. Even the smallest town appears as two distinct towns. One features a spacious grid of tree-lined streets and comfortable houses surrounded by lawns. The other, its shriveled twin, some distance away but connected by a well-traveled road, consists of a much tighter grid of dirt roads lined with shacks. Trees are a rarity, lawns non-existent. This doubling pattern appears no matter the size of the population: here, the white town; over there, the black township. — Lisa Findley, “Red & Gold: A Tale of Two Apartheid Museums.”

Donovan Gillman‘s insight:

Anyone who drives from Cape Town’s "leafy subrurbs’ to the airport sees the legacy of apartheid in the shacks that line the road, attempts to house everyone in one or two room, poorly designed and badly built shack,s over the 20 years of ANC rule have made no in-road on this spacial legacy   – the mating call of the party to its suporters is that it’s the fault of the past regime – any attempt by  the opposition to call attention to the problems of poor sapcial planning, which is the visibel legacy of Modernism as adopted by the Nationalist govemnemts policy of racial segragation. The economic underpinning of this system are still firmly entrenched inthe city and despite endless planning reports there is still no visible change and the poor are rightly  frustrated – why do they still tolerate their leaders who spend millions on their own houses inthe name of security but are unable to provide  the poor with a viable and urbane civic realm?

See on www.archdaily.com

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Green Urbanism is the Future! Well, Maybe.

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The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) recently announced the winners of its annual awards program, honoring the best of the best (at least in th…

Donovan Gillman‘s insight:

Yeah maybe .. but this is mostly high cost stuff – here in Africa we might just need more people-centric public space - to quote Fred Kent of PPS – lighter cheaper, faster – greener comes simply by being low-tech and local.

See on land8.com

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Earth Screening: the Winning proposal for Holland ‘sustainable farming’ pavilion at Expo Milano 2015

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New Holland Agriculture have chosen the winner of the international competition for their 1,500 square meters pavilion at the World Expo 2015 in Milan. The proposal, by Carlo Ratti Associati, is called Earth Screening, and features an agricultural field on its roof, similar to a giant 3D printer thanks to the constant activity of two robotized, self-driving tractors.

Emanuela Recchi, chairman of Recchi Engineering, describes Earth Screening as “a pavilion capable of expressing the principles of sustainability, efficiency, and energy production of a modern ‘Sustainable Farm’.” The design concept proposes an innovative and efficient pavilion, allowing visitors to interact with the latest research, products and innovations developed by New Holland.

The aim is that the energy for the pavilion – including that for the selfdriving tractors on the roof – will be generated on site. After the Expo, the New Holland pavilion will be dismantled and reconstructed in a second location as an innovative didactic farm, embodying the very idea of recycling and sustainability.

  

Donovan Gillman‘s insight:

Is this the future or is it just another "futurescape" daydream?

See on www.domusweb.it

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hyperreal cartography & the unrealized city

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real maps of places that exist but don’t.

See on hyperrealcartography.tumblr.com

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New MIT Report: Places in the Making

Urban Choreography:

Simpler, Quicker, Cheaper Places Now!

Originally posted on The Dirt:

better
Places in the Making, a new report from MIT’s department of urban studies and planning (DUSP), argues that the process of making a place is as important as the place itself. With this fresh take on “placemaking,” MIT planning and urban design professor Susan Silberberg, who teamed up with a few of her graduate students, along with Aaron Naparstek, the founder of Streetsblog, has written highly readable, well-organized report worth exploring.

Placemaking first appeared in the 1960s as a “reaction to auto-centric planning and bad public spaces.” In their intro, they write: “Place-making as we now know it can trace its roots back to the seminal works of urban thinkers like Jane Jacobs, Kevin Lynch and William Whyte, who, beginning in the 1960s, espoused a new way to understand, design and program public spaces by putting people and communities ahead of efficiency and aesthetics. Their philosophies, considered…

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