MRDC| Turenscape: THE RESILIENT RIVER – Beautiful Renderings

Although not winners in this competition, The  Minneapolis Riverfront Design competition was won by Tom Leader|KVA see earlier post here my own favorite was the design by Turenscape led by Dr Kongjian Yu of Beijing University and I thought it worthwhile sharing this design with all of you who might not have seen it elsewhere.  Reposted from World Landscape Architecture

Our design approach celebrates the Resilient River; we believe in the power of nature to heal, and the relevance of the River in the life of the people of Minneapolis. We take the long view, and see that changes in industry along the banks have happened before, driven by the market but also by the guiding hand of public policy and the aspirations of the River’s citizens. While we recognize the role of industry, and in many cases are enthralled by the scale of its work along the banks, we also remain steadfast in our belief that this landscape is worthy of respect, even reverence, and protection from harm. Our purpose then is to aid in healing the riverfront as a place of critical ecological importance, as well as a place for working and living. Where the River has been an excuse for dividing neighborhoods and peoples, we desire a place where people can come together. We concur with the view that parks can create new value on adjacent lands, but also propose that a new ecology of parks is necessary that makes productive use of the rich riverfront lands and waters, as well as the people on its shores.”

View a video of the design here TURENSCAPE
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Where the livin’ is easiest : Vancouver: Safe & boring?

The Economist Annual Livability Ranking rates the Canadian city tops in its survey of 140 of the worlds cities – but I wonder of this safe secure and lifestyle is what makes for really creative and equitable cities:

“Cities that score best tend to be mid-sized cities in wealthier countries with a relatively low population density. This often fosters a broad range of recreational availability without leading to high crime levels or overburdened infrastructure. Seven of the top ten scoring cities are in Australia and Canada, where population densities of 2.88 and 3.40 people per sq km respectively compare with a global (land) average of 45.65 and a US average of 32.”

“VANCOUVER remains the most liveable city in the world, according to the latest annual ranking compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit. The Canadian city scored 98 out of a maximum 100, as it has done for the past two years.

The ranking scores 140 cities from 0-100 on 30 factors spread across five areas: stability, health care, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure. These numbers are then weighted and combined to produce an overall figure. The top ten cities occupy the same positions as last year, with the exception of Melbourne and Vienna, which have swapped places.”

“At the other end of the ranking, Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, is in 140th place, thanks to particularly poor scores for its stability, healthcare and infrastructure. Somewhere between the extremes sit London and New York in 53rd and 56th places. They are let down by stability scores of 75 and 70, the result in turn of poor scores for the perceived threat of terror and the rates of petty and violent crime.”

Dharavi, Mumbai – “Shantaram” – Slum for sale

Those of you who have been to India, have read Gregory David Robert’s best selling  ” partially autobiographical” novel Shantaram, which it has has recently been  announced will be turned into a movie, with non other than Johnny Depp taking the lead role, will be dismayed to learn that the slum in which he spends much of his time, Dharavi is the subject of a documentary about  the on going saga surounding its redevelopment:

From the blog [polis]:

“Director Lutz Konermann has created a documentary on the ongoing contested redevelopment proposal for Dharavi, Mumbai, an informal settlement that is unique in its paced evolution and current dynamic capacities of adaptation and production.  Its foremost quality attracting attention, however, is its prime positioning in the heart of Mumbai, causing land value and the potential for the generation of capital to overwhelm the complexities of livelihood and industry.  The film gains incredibly valuable access to key players in the case, and through skilled editing and composition, brings forth the impression that Mumbai is a city tearing at the seams, with extremes of a wealthy ‘global city’ continually at odds with the majority of the population living in informal settlements and aspiring to better services, upgraded housing and secure businesses.”

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Democracy in action in Middle Eastern Cities – Power to the People!

A commentary from the blog [polis] about how the West’s leaders have held the Middle East’s people inthe thrall of dictators and autocratic governments and that they are now breaking out:

Rabat, CasablancaAlgiersTunisTripoliBenghaziAlexandriaCairoSana’aBaghdadand Manama; these cities are leading what perhaps is the most important democratic revolution in several decades. Dictatorships and fake democracies are being dismantled by popular movements without the need of political parties or religion. Some of these cities are on-the-ground, massive and successful experiments of a new era of horizontal participatory democracy, powered by modern communication technologies.”

“Some media and politicians have been concerned that these revolts might give radical islamists a chance for taking over governments in the region. As locals have made clear, these revolts are not influenced by Islamic movements, but by the civil society, moved by unsatisfied basic needs and spontaneously organized through mobile phones and internet (see Sami Naïr’s analysis in French and Spanish). These concerns have been the main excuse for western countries’ long-term support to dictatorial regimes as part of their policy of stability at the expense of democracy and human rights. Moreover, western support to dictators has in many instances made it easier for radical islamists to build up their constituencies. The history of Iran’s Shah, wonderfully explained in Ryszard Kapuscinski’s “Shah of Shahs” and Marjane Satrapi’s “Persepolis,” is perhaps the most notorious example of how deeply unjust and counterproductive client-dictators can become.

The revolts and changes that are taking place are real expressions of deep democracy, while the approach that have been using Western powers towards the Middle East and other capitalist countries ruled by dictators have been profoundly undemocratic and hypocritical. ” 

Credits: Image of revolts in Tunis from The Guardian.

Posted by Jordi Sanchez-Cuenca at 10:40 AM

U2 – Bono -360 Show -Cape Town 18 Feb 2011 – AWESOME!!!

With my wife, Sandi, and 75000 others I enjoyed Friday nights show – the effects were awesome and the band were tight and Bono complimentary and “using” his connections to Madiba and Tutu to his advantage, but with no disrespect. Listening to 567 CapeTalk Radio this evening, its seems we were not alone in thinking the music loud, disliking Springbok Nude Girls but thinking the show was well organized and worth seeing.

I am indebted to Andrew Boraine” Blog cities for people for the following pictures and you can see more pics there.

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The Genius Dilemma – Apple & Google -Who is the next big thing

Just how essential is a company’s visionary founder? Apple and Google are about to find out”
A chair crashed on the tile floor as a skinny young man rushed over to our table at Michela’s, a hot restaurant in Cambridge, Mass. It was Steve Jobs, then just 29 years old, and his haste was not to meet me but to salute my guest, Polaroid founder Edwin Land.

Read rest of article in NEWSWEEK

This a really interesting- especially the part in  the first paragraph  of how Edwin Land, inventor of Polaroid failed to recognize Jobs – how he thought he would never make a comeback! – both times a mistake as Mac computers became the mainstay of the desktop publishing industry and would be instrumental in the downfall of the Polaroid and old style 35mm film and also scary that as Land could not see the future paradigm shift.

In the same ay it seems  we can’t see what the paradigm shift will be that will overthrow our current reliance on heavy metal (cars etc) and “ancient sunlight” (fossil fuels) as the problem of horses and horse manure  from “Superfreakonomics”  by Steven D. Levitt and Steven J. Dubner illustrates: The world had seemingly reached the point where its largest cities could not survive without the horse but couldn’t survive with it, either. And then the problem vanished. It was neither government fiat nor divine intervention that did the trick… The problem was soved by technological innovation… The automobile, cheaper to own and operate than a horse-drawn vehicle, was proclaimed “an environmental savior.” (pg. 10)

In the Mesh (via Free Association Design (F.A.D.))

One of the intrinsic ideas of the “holistic/integral” ethos is the idea that everything is connected and the idea of “meshworks” is a constant theme of Integral Thinking such as that of Don Beck’s Spiral Dynamics and of many latter day ecologists: This post from Free Association Design takes up a part of the theme:

In the Mesh [Venice: With 6,000 sand cisterns, the city was "formerly a dense collection of fresh water aquifers, sitting in a saltwater lagoon."   Courtesy Archinect and Eleanor Pries' travels cataloged at Systems that Seep] In The Ecological Thought, Timothy Morton puts forth the idea of  "The Mesh": "Mesh is a short word for 'the interconnectedness of all living and non living things'…It can mean the holes in a network and threading between them.  It su … Read More

via Free Association Design (F.A.D.)

Mp3 Experiment Cape Town – READY FOR JOY AND CHAOS

AS part of Design Indaba 2011 Charlie Todd of Improv Everywhere, welcomes you to  to the biggest and coolest public prank Cape Town has ever seen: The MP3 Experiment.

“Looking forward to Improv Everywhere’s first-ever official prank in Africa? We can’t wait to see you at the park near Camps Bay beach on Sunday 20 February at 3pm where together we will enact the Mp3 Experiment.

With days to go we want to encourage you to summon all your friends to be there, and to RSVP on Facebook. The Mp3 Experiment is sure to be one of the coolest and most memorable things you have ever done in the city.”

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Design Indaba 2011 – Cape Town – Sold Out

The coolest design event in South AfricaDesign Indaba 2011 takes place at the at the Cape Town Convention Centre and includes the Design Indaba Conference and Young Designers Simulcast from 23 to 25 February, and Design Indaba Expo from 25 to 27 February.

But there are still seats available for simulcast in Cape Town and Johannesburgt and the really cool expo you can visit from 25 -27 February and  lank events and interesting side shows, some of which I will be posting info over the next few days as well as featuring some of the cool people that are speaking

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