BIG selected for the Smithsonian Institution Master Plan « World Landscape Architecture – landscape architecture webzine

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BIG selected for the Smithsonian Institution Master Plan

Donovan Gillman‘s insight:

More "Starchitecture" ? Does the reputation of innovation and "BIG-ness" precede the content and contextualizion of the participants and the inputs of the (local) actors-networks?

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Charles Birnbaum on the Future of Landscape Architecture

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Charles Birnbaum, founder and president of the Cultural Landscape Foundation, makes the case that historical preservationists are finally waking up to the glories of modernist landscape architecture.

Donovan Gillman‘s insight:

Is this making Landscape Architecture more important or increasing the percieved value of urban public space – both more notable than creating more “Star-(Landscape Ar) chitects

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Editorial: Visualisation Tools for Understanding Big Data

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Donovan Gillman‘s insight:

The role of longer term temporal data sets in understanding the “pulse of the City”  visual interpretation of Lefebvre’s “Rhythmanalysis” – investigation of this concept has implications for planning and design to leap to the 4th dimension in how density is “en-citied”

See on spatialanalysis.co.uk

Stronger Citizens, Stronger Cities: Changing Governance Through a Focus on Place

A welcome emphasis on actor-network associations and the politics of place rather that the usual focus on the built environment’s morphology , the paving, benches and “littering” the site with street furniture by 

caption / Photo: PPS

“If vibrancy is people, then the only way to make a city vibrant again is to make room for more of them.” / Photo: PPS

A great place is something that everybody can create. If vibrancy is people, as we argued two weeks ago, the only way to make a city vibrant again is to make room for more of them. Today, in the first of a two-part follow up, we will explore how Placemaking, by positioning public spaces at the heart of action-oriented community dialog, makes room both physically and philosophically by re-framing citizenship as an on-going, creative collaboration between neighbors. The result is not merely vibrancy, but equity.

In equitable places, individual citizens feel (first) that they are welcome, and (second) that it is within their power to change those places through their own actions. “The huge problem with citizenship today is that people don’t take it very seriously,” says Harry Boyte, director of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg College. “The two dominant frameworks for citizenship in political theory,” he explains, “are the liberal framework, where citizens are voters and consumers of goods, and the communitarian framework, where citizens are volunteers and members of communities. In other words, for most people, citizenship is doing good deeds, or it’s voting and getting things. We need to develop the idea of civic agency, where citizens are co-creators of democracy and the democratic way of life.”

It is bewildering, when you take a step back, to realize how far we’ve gotten away from that last statement. We have completely divorced governance from citizenship, and built thick silo walls around government by creating an opaque, discipline-driven approach to problem-solving. Busting those silo walls is imperative to creating more equitable communities. Rather than trying, haplessly, to solve transportation, housing, or health problems separately, as if they exist within a vacuum, government should be focused on building stronger place.

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Project for Public Spaces | Stronger Citizens, Stronger Cities: Changing Governance Through a Focus on Place

See on Scoop.itUrban Choreography

Donovan Gillman‘s insight:

Place as the result of actors-network  associations is a more likely scenario than most modernist and post-modernist focus on morphology or getting the paving, benches and litter bins right.

See on www.pps.org

Cityscapes #3 – The Smart City?

Cityscapes 3

Date: March 27, 2013 Time: 18:00pm-19:00pm
Venue: The Book Lounge, 71 Roeland Street, Cnr Buitenkant & Roeland Street, Cape Town

The latest instalment of Cityscapes, the hybrid current affairs and culture magazine devoted to “re-thinking urban things”, will be launched in Cape Town on 27 March 2013. Featuring interviews with Lagos governor Babatunde Fashola and novelist Imraan Coovadia, the bumper 140-page third issues has as its thematic focus the “smart city”.

This fuzzily defined term speaks to the increasing use of networked information and communications technologies in ordering of large-scale urban phenomenon. The magazine visits Rio de Janeiro to find out what this means practically. “Technology gives you a faster response,” explains Dario Bizzo Marques, a technology systems coordinator at Rio’s $14-million integrated city management centre, home to Latin America’s largest surveillance screen.

“We increasingly share the space and time of cities with semi-autonomous agents of a nonhuman, indeed non-biological, nature, from drones to algorithms,” offers Adam Greenfield in his provocative 100-point manifesto appearing in Cityscapes and addressing the pervasive use of tech-savvy urban management solutions. Noted urban theorist Ash Amin, in a cornerstone 5000-word interview with Matthew Gandy, is also wary of the ideological implications of reducing city management to the top-down marshalling of abstract data.

“The positivist legacy has been rekindled in the ‘big data’ approach to the city,” offers Amin. “Its conceit is to think that the availability of sophisticated mathematical models able to work large data in nuanced ways, allows the city to be visualised and understood in all its complexities and evolving changes.”

Also included in the latest issue of Cityscapes: an intimate account of living in the Nairobi slum of Kibera; a description of Sao Paulo’s oppositional graffiti cultures; a fond appraisal of the career of legendary Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray; a look at Kigali’s ambitious master plan; a profile of artist Theaster Gates; a speculation on the city without the automobile; and a photo essay describing life in Kowloon, the famous Hong Kong tenement slum demolished in the early 1990s.

About Cityscapes: Launched in 2011 and jointly edited by Sean O’Toole and Tau Tavengwa, in collaboration with Professor Edgar Pieterse, Cityscapes offers a disparate blend of in-depth interviews, enquiring journalism, polemical editorialising and illustration rich content to document and theorise urban experience in the global south

The technicality and constructedness of our view of the world

Progressive Geographies

Geoff Manaugh of BLDGBLOG has a new edited collection coming out – lots of images available at the blog.

Landscape-Futuresfinal-1Ground-penetrating radar used to map buried cities. Ghost tectonic plates subsiding beneath the American West, revealed by seismic tomography. Lensless cameras that measure WiFi networks to see through walls. Laser-jamming dazzle devices. Retroreflective prisms on the moon. These and other instruments reveal the strange and often unexpected landscapes invisibly present all around us.
Landscape Futures: Instruments, Devices and Architectural Inventions, edited by Geoff Manaugh, based on his exhibition of the same name at the Nevada Museum of Art, explores the future of landscape studies by way of the technical intermediaries the instruments, devices and architectural inventions through which humans have come to understand the built and natural environments.From autonomous tools for remote archaeology to radio telescopes scanning electromagnetic events in space, by way of colorful mechanisms allowing children to experience…

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Eat Your View | Veenkoloniën Netherlands | Felixx

Integrated research on sustainable agriculture that incorporates realistic acknowledgement of the impediments to the success of this process are seldom voiced in more that banal terms such as “market economy” “farmers markets” etc – going beyond green activists  and  urban hippies day dreams proves more than challenging; Her is one response reported by Damian Holmes of World Landscape Architecture 

How can rural dynamics be employed to adequately cope with the global challenges that we are currently facing and how can these challenges once again turn rural areas into a system that works? The Veenkoloniën (Groningen peat district) is a rural area in the North of the Netherlands that is facing a number of major economic, social and ecological challenges. As an agricultural area, the region is part of a global system. Consequently, its challenges are not caused by internal factors, but by the global food system and this system’s impact on the area, i.e. the social, economic and ecological environment that it creates.


The new agricultural model requires a new production system: an intelligent seven-year crop and livestock rotation that integrates temporary nature areas. Processing is divided into a cooperative network of local, regional and national processing hubs: a choice is always made between transport costs and the benefits of scale. This results in development opportunities at all levels of scale and renewed social significance for the food industry. The infrastructure network is adapted to facilitate these new development opportunities and to ensure that the production area can once again be accessed and experienced by both consumers and producers alike.

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Security Estates: “This is a village with no facilities beyond raw security”

From Dezeen – South Africa brought into focus with Oscar Pistorius’s newsworthiness bringing media  eyes to focus for a moment  on this negative aspect of South African urban life – but it is not here alone that this in their   “Splintering Urbanism” Stephen Graham and Simon Marvin list this as one of the many symptoms of depressing global malaise. I have added on of the comments here – in response to what the writer saw as the one sided view expressed in this piece.

Marcus Fairs opinion: gated communities

Opinion: in his latest column, Dezeen editor-in-chief Marcus Fairs discusses why gated communities are “becoming the default setting in towns and cities around the world” and asks whether it matters who owns the land beneath our feet.


From the air, it’s easier to spot wealth than poverty. Climbing out of Cape Town International Airport the informal settlements soon become a blur but the private developments remain in crisp focus, their pristine loops of asphalt standing out like Nazca lines, the bulk of their road-straddling gatehouses unmissable and their clustered tricolours of lawn, pool and villa conspicuous against the dun landscape.

Later, descending into Johannesburg in darkness, the city lights reveal the same pattern: random, dull and fuzzy in the shack districts but bright and purposeful in the secure enclaves.  The British euphemistically call these developments “gated communities” but South African developers use the more straightforward “security estate”.

In one such as these, near Pretoria to the north, Oscar Pistorius felt safe enough behind high walls, razor wire, attack dogs and armed guards to sleep with the patio doors open (albeit with a gun under his bed and a cricket bat behind the bathroom door).

Pistorius lived on the Silver Woods Country Estate (shown in the aerial image above) – a “pres­ti­gious secu­rity estate” of 290 homes and still-vacant building plots set amid similar districts with names like Willow Acres and Faerie Glen. This still-growing Securicor suburb will eventually house 25,000 people.

The sleeping and bathing quarters at Casa Pistorius are now among the most familiar interior layouts of all time thanks to numerous media reconstructions of the night he shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Yet the urban design of Silver Woods has hardly been discussed, even though its paranoia-driven features might provide the only mitigating circumstances in Pistorius’ favour: people who live in these places clearly fear for their lives.

Like most security estates, Silver Woods has a single point of entry and departure: a covered, manned and barriered gateway, bristling with CCTV and biometric scanners and resembling a sub-tropical Checkpoint Charlie. It is connected to the public domain but not of it.

The estate is “enclosed with a solid, elec­tri­fied secu­rity wall” and is planned “in such a way that it has the feel of a vil­lage.” All build­ing work is sub­ject to “a strict archi­tec­tural and aes­thet­ics spec­i­fi­ca­tion”.

Yet this is a village with no facilities on offer beyond raw security: no stores, playgrounds, bars or cafes. Residents have to journey by car for all their daily needs, or get them delivered. Hinting perhaps at the fearful priorities of its residents, the estate’s website boasts of its proximity to hospitals and medical clinics first of all, before listing the distance to local schools and shops. The location of the nearest police station is not regarded as a benefit worth mentioning.

While security estates respond to violent crime they do not solve it. Despite its precautions Silver Woods has suffered “incidents” in the past. Beneath a brief statement on its website from the Silver Woods management commiserating on the Valentine’s Day tragedy a woman called Colleen has commented: “We moved to the UK to avoid the crime. While liv­ing in a ‘secure’ sub­urb in Johan­nes­burg we expe­ri­enced many an inci­dent with regards safety, bur­glary etc. Our chil­dren were vic­tims of hijack­ing attempts as well.”

Developments like Silver Woods attract universal disdain from architectural writers and urbanists. They are seen as a betrayal of civilised values and an abandonment of design’s potential to benignly regulate behaviour in the urban environment. Former Guardian architecture critic Jonathan Glancey called gated communities a “social ill” and wrote: “It’s time we opened our gates, and to shoo the fear away as we do.”

But they are becoming the default setting in towns and cities around the world – and not only for the wealthy. In the USA, the number of homes in developments secured by walls or fences grew 53 percent between 2001 and 2009 and now account for ten percent of all occupied homes.

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Comment:

h..a.

Easy to talk from london. One in three South African women has been raped. It is not paranoia; it is a fact. I don´t particularly like those neighbourhoods, but I live in a place where, unlike South Africa, one can walk in the streets safely. Don´t make an academic discussion out of a more serious matter. By the way, it is in bad taste talking like that of the Pistorius case.