Urbanicide in all good faith

Source: www.domusweb.it

A serial killer of cities is wandering about the planet. Its name is UNESCO, and its lethal weapon is the label “World Heritage”, with which it drains the lifeblood from glorious villages and ancient
metropolises, embalming them in a brand-name time warp.

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Africa and City Growth and Future Planning | Sustainable Cities Collective

Recently the Daily Maverick has published a number of pieces speaking to some of the consequences of urbanisation that often go overlooked by the public. In particular, two articles have risen key insights about service delivery and access in the face of large-scale urbanisation.

Source: sustainablecitiescollective.com

Professor Sue Parnell of the African Centre for Cities (ACC) points out that there is a critical lack of understanding of African economics. “We don’t understand the informal sector, so we stereotype,” she says. “We don’t understand Africa’s urban labour market very well.” There is also a tendency to inflate increases in wealth, because it is coming off such a low base, and there is a lack of knowledge about where to invest, she says.

One of the major challenges facing African urbanisation today is an anti-urban bias, believes Parnell. “The population may be 50/50, but 90 percent of the funding will go to rural development,” she says. “This speaks of a definite anti-urban bias.” This, too, means that poverty and inequality in cities are real, significant problems. However, she points out, there are also other factors at play, such as a belief that there is more internal expertise on agriculture, for example; or there may be political factors – such as a desire amongst donors not to create more economic competition by developing African urban interests. However, she points out, through the painstaking work of scholars and academics, attitudes and thought patterns are slowly changing.”

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The Journal of Space Syntax

Vol 5, No 1 (2014): Models and diagrams in architectural design We are pleased to announce the first Special Issue of Volume 5 on Models and diagrams in architectural design, in a thematic publication of JOSS.

Source: joss.bartlett.ucl.ac.uk

Ranging from discussions on the philosophical aspects and implications of diagrams in architecture, through the use and applications of models and diagrams in architectural design in both theory and practice, to development of aspects of spatial analysis, the issue covers a wide range but remains a discussion around its central theme. Thereby, it is showing the width of which the questions of the call need to be addressed through the collective result of focused contributions exploring different aspects in-depth. The issue is complemented by one short paper in the un-themed section, and two book reviews.

As always, you can find the issue at http://joss.bartlett.ucl.ac.u

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Putting nature at the heart of sustainable cities

Leading architect behind Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay, Andrew Grant, says that cities need to set aside space for forests, wetlands and wildlife to be…

Source: www.eco-business.com

"However successful we are at sorting out the mechanics of sustainability through innovative technologies and systems, it will be worthless if all it does is create a banal, sterile world which does not offer people a positive experience." Andrew Grant, founder and director, Grant Associates

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Rebuilding urban spaces through collaborative design

Ahead of the International Green Building Conference, Eco-Business speaks to Renzo Piano Building Workshop’s Mark Carroll on how to restore old structures and…

Source: www.eco-business.com

Continuous open collaboration between the team members by means of dialogue, drawings and models is essential to gain the greatest benefit for the architectural design

Mark Carroll, senior partner, Renzo Piano Building Workshop

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Video: House Housing – “An Untimely History of Architecture and Real Estate”

House Housing,

Source: www.archdaily.com

“In architecture, economic fundamentals are built from the ground up. The laws of real estate—relating to the acquisition of land, the financing of construction, the cost of building maintenance and services, profit from rent or resale, the value of equity, or the price of credit—inexorably shape any building component (like a window) and any build- ing type (like a house). They are visible even in the residential work of such singular figures as Frank Lloyd Wright, not least because the Greek oikos, or household, forms the root of the word “economy” itself. But look closely and you will see that what seems fundamental, basic, or natural is, like any other law, a historical artifact permanently under construction and subject to change.”

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The Need to Develop Flora and Fauna Biometric Tools for Urban Planning | The Nature of Cities

Collectively, researchers over the past 60 years (or more) have collected a good deal of data on urban biodiversity and impacts on urban plants and animals. From urban gradient studies to patch dynamic studies, we have a plethora of empirical data that suggests how various urban designs would impact various species. However, these studies have not affected actual planning decisions in most cities (there are exceptions of course).

Source: www.thenatureofcities.com

How to address the needs of individual species in urban planning ?New tools and methods are needed, alternative theories and tools are proposed and the need for further research is emphasised.

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Even with the Threat of More Monster Storms, Shorelines Can Be Public Spaces

Ecosystem Design “These constructed ecosystems will provide a range of services. They will protect the shoreline and structures, stabilize the banks, help restore the ridges, divert sediment, and enable the creation of new marshes and channels. These new systems will provide stormwater and flood management while creating new wildlife habitat.”

Cartographic Anomalies: How Map Projections Have Shaped Our Perceptions of the World

Elizabeth Borneman explores how cartography and cartographic projections help and hinder our perception of the world.

“How do you think the world (starting with our perceptions) could change if the map looked differently? What if Australia was on top and the hemispheres switched? By changing how we look at a map we truly can begin to explore and change our assumptions about the world we live in.”

Geography doesn’t just teach us about the Earth; it provides ways for thinking about the Earth that shapes how we see the world.  Maps do the same; they represent a version of reality and that influences how we think about places. 

Tags: mapping, perspective.

Source: www.gislounge.com

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BIG proposes cage-free “Zootopia” redesign for iconic Danish zoo

BIG brings out a rather “wild” concept in Zootopia, a commission they received from the iconic Givskud Zoo in Denmark. The proposal includes a spacious cage-free zoo landscape for the animals to roam in, which is divided into three zones titled “Asia”, “Africa”, and “America”. Human visitors…

Source: www.bustler.net

Project statement:

"Architects’ greatest and most important task is to design man-made ecosystems – to ensure that our cities and buildings suit the way we want to live. We must make sure that our cities offer a generous framework for different people – from different backgrounds, economy, gender, culture, education and age – so they can live together in harmony while taking into account individual needs as well as the common good. Nowhere is this challenge more acrimonious than in a zoo.

It is our dream – with Givskud – to create the best possible and freest possible environment for the animals’ lives and relationships with each other and visitors. To create a framework for such diverse users and residents such as gorillas, wolves, bears, lions and elephants is an extremely complex task. We are pleased to embark on an exciting journey of discovery with the Givskud staff and population of animals – and hope that we could both enhance the quality of life for the animals as well as the keepers and guests – but indeed also to discover ideas and opportunities that we will be able to transfer back into the urban jungle. Who knows perhaps a rhino can teach us something about how we live – or could live in the future?"

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