Two Views of Woodstock:Cape Town – “Upscaling” vs “Gentrification”

Here are two opposed views of the regeneration of an old area of Cape Town, Woodstock,   it seems inevitable that any upgrading or regeneration effort  runs the risk  being labeled ‘gentrification’ with its negative connotations of poor locals being forced out by profit hungry developers. It seems ironic that in many of these cases … Continue reading Two Views of Woodstock:Cape Town – “Upscaling” vs “Gentrification”

The High Line- An Urban Oasis in New York via thisbigcity

In thisbigcity Joe Peach has posted this tribute to one of urban restorations ‘success stories’ at least as it is being recognized in conventional American media – here by National Geographic.  Designed by James Corner Field Operations (project lead) and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, after winning a well publisized competiton for The City of New York / … Continue reading The High Line- An Urban Oasis in New York via thisbigcity

The New Public Landscapes of Governors Island: An Interview with Adriaan Geuze

In PLACES Brain Davis interviews Adrian Geuze of West8 , winners of a competition for the reinvention of Governors Island New York:


New York Harbor, Upper Bay, 1999, with Governors Island near the center, Manhattan to the left, Brooklyn at top, and Jersey City at the bottom; Ellis Island is at the left, Liberty Island at right, just off New Jersey. [photo by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration]

The Island Near the Island at the Center of the World
New York Harbor has been inspiring extravagant praise for centuries, ever since the three-masted Half Moon, sponsored by the Dutch East India Company and captained by Henry Hudson, sailed into the waters surrounding what would become first Nieuw Amsterdam, later New York City. “The greatest natural harbor on the coast of a vast new wilderness” is how Russell Shorto describes it in The Island at the Center of the World. [1] With its islands and wetlands and rivers, its maritime and industrial infrastructures, its fortifications and bridges and monuments to immigration, liberty and enterprise, New York Harbor has long occupied a central place in the history and mythology of one of the continent’s greatest cities.

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Eric Reynolds, Master of Low-cost, High-return Public Space Interventions in London and NYC

While I dont hold that “Place-Making” is enough initself to make a lasting diffenrce to a city , much more is required than quick fixes, it is worthwhile to note the impacts that quick entry and results can have on galvanizing an areas people into acting more like a community and demanding more permanent results:

Fom PPS Project for Public Spaces by Megan MacIver

Eric Reynolds

Lighter, quicker, cheaper:”   three words to sum up a revolutionary, low-cost, high-impact strategy to development, one behind all of Eric Reynolds’ projects at Urban Space Management (USM), a firm known for driving the economic renewal of run down or under-utilized spaces in imaginative and cost effective ways.  Reynolds urges a movement away from “mega-schemes” which make development unsustainable because they require long time frames to assemble large sites, large teams and large sums of money- all of which can be risky in today’s volatile economy.

Eric and his business partner, Eldon Scott, promote and use an entirely different development model; one that is lower risk and lower cost and which can be an interim solution for a site that is in transition- techniques especially relevant to the thousands of evolving post-industrial waterfronts around the world.  Eldon used Urban Space Management’s approach in his work setting up the Union Square Holiday Market in New York City.

At this market at Camden Lock, Eric Reynolds kept rents low to attract a wide range of tenants

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