Arup wins Chile metro work

(London) Arup has been appointed by Metro de Santiago to lead the concept design of 11 stations in the Chilean capital.
The scope of the project covers some of the most challenging stations on two new lines being built by the operator – Lines 3 and 6 – and the work will involve creating interchanges with existing lines on the metro network.
Metro de Santiago already boasts the most extensive metro system in South America and the project to add Lines 3 and 6 will extend the reach of the network by some 28 stations and 37 km in total. The work will also add capacity to some of the busiest existing metro lines when the new lines open in 2016 / 2017.

Arup Project Director, Leszek Dobrovolsky, said, “We are delighted that Metro de Santiago has appointed Arup to bring our world-class experience to bear on the new lines. Our global expertise in metro systems played a part in winning the work, but it was our ability to respond to local programmes and context, cost and programme constraints that clinched it. This stands as a testament to Arup’s ability to provide cost-effective metro solutions throughout Latin America and across the globe. We are also proud to be working with leaders such as Metro de Santiago who are routinely consulted by other metro operators from around the world wishing to benefit from their operational excellence. They are recognised experts in the field, having won the Metro Award this year for ‘Best Subway System in the Americas’”.

Dobrovolsky notes that Arup’s team have some interesting technical and design challenges ahead as the new lines will run deeper than the existing network. However, he points out that the designers and engineers on the job have all the multidisciplinary skills necessary to meet the challenge in the most cost-effective way.

The scope of Arup’s work covers station planning, tunnel and station ventilation, fire engineering, passenger movement analysis, and optimisation of passenger experience.

Journal: Of brains and cities; neuroscience and cultures of decision-making

A report from CITY OF SOUND on the applications of an old analogy now often discredited that cities are an “organism”  here discussed in a forum with representatives from both neuroscience and from the engineering side of the urban sustainability disciplines. A useful classification of the idea of the city as a metabolic organism  is UCL’s Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Urban Metabolism: A review on the literature A few extracts from Dan Hills report

Brain juxtaposed with Hamburg, from Emergence by Steven Johnson
From Emergence, by Steven Johnson

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to take part in an event called the “North House Salon” (see previous entry: Passport Control to Pimlico). These salons are organised by Dr Sarah Caddick, neuroscience advisor to Lord David Sainsbury (ex-Minister for Science and Innovation in the UK government) and theGatsby Foundation, and bring together various “expert groups” with select groups of neuroscientists. It was an absolute privilege to share a conversation with some of the UK’s leading scientists—for a start, it’s always fascinating to see another discipline at work, and we were also fortunate that they were all great communicators as well as great researchers

As Chris put it in his intro, we do have an increasingly shared vocabulary and way of thinking emerging about the systems of the brain and the systems of cities. This may partly be due to biomimicry shaping design discourse, partly the vogue for “smart cities” strategies, and partly because of recent advances in “brain science” (note: neuroscience is to some extent now seen as part of a continuum including behavioural psychology, behavioural economics, neurology, developmental biology and others. I’ll be using the term “brain science” as short-hand for all that. At one point, we tried to discuss the limits of neuroscience. We didn’t get very far.)

I briefly mentioned our own smart services work on Low2No, but my core point was that we need to step back and think about the question we’re trying to ask here—why were we gathered here today? I suggested that ideas themselves are not particularly relevant; that the idea of optimising urban infrastructure as a no-brainer (an odd phrase to use in this setting, I admitted.) (I also nodded to Zeki’s paper, which I’d learnt a lot from.)

But then I made the claim that the city is not psychological or biological, but cultural, and that if anything is holding us back from “better cities” (if that’s our goal), it’s not ideas or technology, but our cultures of decision-making (which is the focus of our work in the Strategic Design Unit at Sitra.)

The emerging discussion I personally found most interesting—and tested on Geoffrey West and others, who were receptive—was this idea of how we make public decisions. Given our cultures of decision-making, from the individual to the institutional, were designed in another time, is it any wonder these systems are struggling to deliver the kind of complex, longer-term, interdependent decisions we need to make today? Equally, we now know rather more about the way the individual and society works, and so have some idea that fundamental systems within the brain, such as the limbic system, seem to preference short-term decisions, for example, amongst a series of other unhelpful characteristics.

So the thought occurred: how can we better design our approach to public decision-making, in such a way that the structures and cultures mitigates against our inherent “limitations”? (Please note the inverted commas there, indicating the obvious value judgement.)

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How technology can help us redesign our cities – and lives (maybe?)

From a series in The Gaurdian on the Future of Urban Living another futurist hopeful on how technology could shape our lives for the better in the future with a caveat at least on how the current capitalist paradigm needs to change – for myself I am more skeptical than ever that we know what is in our best interests – with all the research and all the technology in the world – we don’t seem to able to control much in our own little lives – let alone  at a whole city level – as reputedly said by John Lennon  ” life is what happens while your were making other plans” still, no doubt, we will be salivating over the latest techno-wonders while bemoaning their lack of bandwidth and reliability – no matter who made them or how fat they are – they are always too slow and always …….

From analysing our urban spaces to ensure they encourage social cohesion, to connecting household appliances to the internet to regulate our energy needs, technological developments promise an exciting future for city living

Local teenagers in front of burnt out buildings on Tottenham High Road

Local teenagers pause in front of part-demolished buildings on Tottenham High Road after the London riots in August 2011. Photograph: Jason Alden/Rex Features

The riots that erupted across the UK in August 2011 caused devastation in many areas, but could they have been tackled earlier or even avoided through the use of advanced urban planning?

Work being done by consultants Space Syntax, who use computer-modelling to consider the spaces between buildings in the design of urban places, shows how technology can help us to understand the way we live and work in cities and how we interact with our surroundings.

Ed Parham, Space Syntax’s associate director, says: “By analysing how areas are connected, you can find patterns of accessibility.” The modelling technique, known as spatial networks, examines how streets and communities function in relation to each other. It builds on research being carried out in the slums of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia where Space Syntax discovered that a deprived area can become connected to surrounding communities and potential new markets by simply removing a small number of key buildings.

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India needs new cities and experts who can build them

From Economic TImes

Peter Head , chief of Global Planning Practices , Arup, is one of the key figures spearheading the British engineering and design company’s operations across the globe. Most recently, Head has been associated with building China’s first ecocities, Dongtan and Wangzhuan. But lately, he has been increasingly travelling to India.

Though Arup is present in India, Head’s visits have little to do with the company’s operations. Rather, Head is closely associated with developing the Indian Institute for Human Settlements , an upcoming Bangalore-based private university “focused on creating a new generation of professionals prepared to tackle the unprecedented transformation of India’s urban regions”.

Arup and design counterpart IDEO are partners of the university, established by a group of entrepreneurs and professionals such as Rakesh Mohan, Keshub Mahindra, Deepak Parekh and Jamshyd Godrej, among others. The institution, Head says, will teach urbanism as a holistic subject so that people can study a core discipline and branch out to special subjects such as architecture, urban design, energy and waste management.  Continue reading

MVRDV Wins Competition for China Comic and Animation Museum in Hangzhou

via bustler – some might say this is where these architects belong…. suitably futuristic and fantastic for the projects theme.

Hangzhou urban planning bureau has announced Dutch firm MVRDV winner of the international design competition for the China Comic and Animation Museum (CCAM) in Hangzhou, China. MVRDV’s winning design refers to the speech balloon: a series of eight balloon shaped volumes create an internally complex museum experience of in total 30,000m2. Part of the project is also a series of parks on islands, a public plaza and a 13,000m2 expo center. Construction start is envisioned for 2012, the total budget is 92 million Euro.

MVRDV won the competition of EMBTAtelier Bow WowTongji Institute of Architectural Designand Tsinghua Architectural Design. The MVRDV team consists further of Kossman.deJong exhibition architects, local architect Zhubo Architectural & Engineering DesignArup engineersand JongeMeesters graphic design.

Competition-winning design for the China Comic and Animation Museum (CCAM) by MVRDV © MVRDV

Competition-winning design for the China Comic and Animation Museum (CCAM) by MVRDV © MVRDV Continue reading

Five Sustainability Tools for the Built Environment and Beyond

This post from thisbigcity describes five sustainability tools, an essential component of taking evidence based design into reality, being based in the UK it makes no mention of Australia and South Africa’s Greenstar version , which like all of the others,  except Arup’s SPeAR are limited to building related metrics.

Arup’s software is not yet  available, but the related ASPIRE software is but only for use for academic purposes and can be purchased for commercial use, so there is, as far as I know,  still no public domain holistic perfomance measurement system for sustainability design and testing. If anyone can point one out to me I would appreciate the information.

With sustainability an increasingly important factor in decision-making, building developments are less likely to be driven by economic gain alone. To be considered truly sustainable, social, environmental and economic needs must be taken into account. However, achieving comprehensive sustainability is complex, resulting in numerous tools emerging for a sustainable built environment and beyond. Here are five of them:

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Henry Ford’s Helsinki -City of the Future – not what I expected

Having just published he article on Arup Journal with it’s reference to the Low2No competition – this article from WE ARE HELSINKI referred to on the Jatkasaari website, gives reference to a different view on Ford and shows how he was unable to see the results of his innovations and his “people car”


Although Henry Ford is remembered for his creating mass production of private cars, promoting consumerism and anti-Semitism, he also had ideas that seem quite progressive even today.

According to Ford’s ideology, a “semi-rural farm city” is the key to a modern community. Ford also wished society would be rid of its dependence on coal, which he thought to be an unreliable source of energy in the long run. Suburbs would develop hydroelectric and other sustainable forms of power instead. Energy would also be consumed less in tight-knit communities where everyone is a producer.

Farm citizens would combine the denseness and activeness of the city into a naturally self-sustaining model. They’d know who lives next door, and where their food comes from. According to Ford, the life of farm citizens would be healthier, happier, and more diverse and useful compared to the traditional model of people settling for quite simple roles. Sounds potentially Jätkäsaari-esque.”

The post-Madonna era of Jätkäsaari could well be an urban utopia that has been dreamt of since way back when. As the Low2No project takes flight, old ladies, families with children and young night crawlers grow their food together and relax at the neighborhood sauna – after they’ve hung their laundry out to dry in a common laundromat. During the winter, work or school is only a ski trip away and once spring rolls in, even the suits gather to fix their bikes together.

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Arup Journal (via dA Digital Lab)

Arup are one of of the leaders in planning of green cities, well known as the designers of Dontang Eco-City, which although sadly seemingly now downgraded was a seminal model for similar projects worldwide.

Dongtan: The world’s first large-scale eco-city?

Their competition winning C-Life -City as a Living Factory of Ecology for the Jatkasaari brownfield develpeoment in Helsinki FInland is equally interesting and state of the art in Sustainable design as it takes a significant portion of its input from public engagement with future users, which is remarkable for an engineering oriented approach.

The Arup Journal profiled here although heavily biased to engineering contains some interesting articles on landscape interventions as well – look especially at 3/2009 with an article on Songdo IBD Central Park, Korea. This also gives me an opportunity to profile Arup’s contribution to sustainable design along with their remarkable engineering acomplishments continues the tradition of their founder Ove Arup.

Arup Journal A great resource filled with technical and visual information relating building technology. In the current issue of Arup Journal there’s an article about the Denmark Pavilion Expo 2010 Shanghai. In the article it covers various aspects of the design process as well as a detailed coverage about the structure of the building. Nonetheless, the rest of the magazine is worthwhile reading. … Read More

via dA Digital Lab