Crime- and Poverty-Challenged Design – VPUU Khayelitsha Cape Town

A feature on an innovative approach to making informal and semi formal settlement s safe by intense public participation and a radical inclusionary approach is features in Gary Hustwit’s film,Urbanised post from  from Praxis in Landscape Architecture

Khayelitsha Township via The Guardian

How can designers improve the quality of life for residents of the poorest and most dangerous parts of cities? It is a daunting problem, and the temptation is either to say that the problem is too big or that a huge infusion of cash is needed to even get started. What if some of the problems of the poorest and dangerous places could be ameliorated, at least, by design that does not cost a fortune? The figure for total world population living in cities by 2050, cited in the Gary Hustwit film, Urbanized, is 75%! And 1/3 of those people will be living in slums. It’s time for creative thinking!

One of the many interviews with Gary Hustwit on Urbanized is found in Urban Omnibus. Hustwit describes a project in a township outside of Cape Town, South Africa that is striking in its success, both as participatory design and as a well-conceived, modestly priced solution to improving quality of life for area residents. In Hustwit’s words:

the idea of participatory design — of using the public as a design compass instead of just getting a reaction to projects that are already proposed — is not being employed as much as it might. It’s really inspiring when you see it happening and working, like the VPUU (which stands for Violence Prevention by Urban Upgrading) project in Khayelitsha in Cape Town

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Design for Resilience – The Case of Flood Mitigation (via Praxis in Landscape Architecture)

More and more we hear about resilience in the face of the unknown rather than “big scale planning”

Design for Resilience - The Case of Flood Mitigation What do you do when historical data is no longer useful for predicting the future? Climate change is making the already-difficult proposition of predicting environmental phenomena even harder. Consider societal efforts to manage the flood system. The concept of a 100-year flood is based on the idea that history is useful indicator of future states and "most likely" scenarios. A 2010 paper by Gersonius et al.* tackles the question of how we might … Read More

via Praxis in Landscape Architecture

SOUPERGREEN – technological future – dream of a future past?

Is there space for the future in the present? I am not sure  if technological mechanist dreams can solve the problems they have created – is our only hope really sub-urban “greenism” -i.e.  New Urbanism crossed with Landscape Urbanism’s ecological bio-morphism or What?????

From the website of the exhibition: A+D – Architecture and Design Museum Los Angeles:

“This exhibition presents new architectural work that offers a critical and compelling alternative to the prevailing approaches to environmentally conscious architecture. It specifically challenges the architectural discipline’s inexcusably normative application of technology in response to the environmental crisis, which has to date resulted in work that either approaches the environmental crisis as an engineering problem to be simply “solved” through a banal or invisible technology, or else speciously uses the rhetoric of technological performance in an attempt to justify an otherwise irrelevant formalism. Given the seriousness of the environmental crisis, the complacency of both of these existing approaches is severely problematic.”


This exhibition presents new architectural work that offers a critical and compelling alternative to the prevailing approaches to envornmentally conscious architecture. Between February 14th and April 14th, 2011, the Architecture and Design Museum of Los Angeles will be exhibiting work from several designers that challenge the ubiquitous approach to environmentally conscious architecture and the normative application of technology to achieve sustainability.

SOUPERgreen is a collection of five architectural propositions that explore technology as a means to promote the engagement between architecture and environment.

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