Winners of the Amsterdam Iconic Pedestrian Bridge Competition

New ways to see what a bridge can  be , in the city of canals, where bridges are part of every day life, in many ways the bridge wether over water or land is an integral part of how we envisage and experience cites- from the heaviness and separation we experience under traditional freeway fly-overs to the feeling of lightness on a steel suspension pedestrian bridge over water- from bustler my own preference is for the 3rd prize from London with its flexibility and references to its historical and future context.

Three outstanding bridge designs have recently been selected as winners in theAmsterdam Iconic Pedestrian Bridge competition. Hosted by [AC-CA], this open international competition called for proposals that would reflect contemporary design tendencies and also take into consideration the “urban insertion and impact geared towards creating a new architectural symbol for an European capital city.” The program for the 90m long pedestrian bridge also included a 100 m2-cafe, a 50 m2-bicycle repair space, restrooms, facility rooms, as well as 30 bicycle racks.

1st Place: Nicolas Montesano, Victor Vila & Boris Hoppek, Spain

1st Place: Nicolas Montesano, Victor Vila & Boris Hoppek, Spain

1st Place: Nicolas Montesano, Victor Vila & Boris Hoppek, Spain

From the jury report: “The winning project was able to combine an iconic proposal with a real urban solution. A circuit bringing us to the heights or depths, a partially submerged Ring on an extraordinary equilibrium. It swims and at the same time threatens to fly.

It is a solution that engages the user to ponder on the decision of which path to choose: the underwater for a romantic and exploring passage or aerial for a bright and direct path – Ring of pedestrian and environmental activity.

1st Place: Nicolas Montesano, Victor Vila & Boris Hoppek (Spain)

1st Place: Nicolas Montesano, Victor Vila & Boris Hoppek (Spain)

At the moment, there are however no plans for this Iconic Pedestrian Bridge to be actually built.

Second Place: 2:pm architectures (Paul Rolland, Hans Lefevre & Matthieu Bergeret), France

From the jury report: “This is a very poetic and minimalist proposal, which in itself could be iconic for that very reason. The drama created by the scene of people walking over the canal elevated this project, reminiscence of the “Moses Bridge”, however a different kind of proposition. The floating principle of the bridge allows for very low impact, with a very high urban effect.

Second Place: 2:pm architectures (Paul Rolland, Hans Lefevre & Matthieu Bergeret), France

Second Place: 2:pm architectures (Paul Rolland, Hans Lefevre & Matthieu Bergeret), France

Third Place: Velorose + Heyne Tillett Steel (David Rosenberg, Tom Steel, Dominic Weil & Olivia Pearson), United Kingdom

From the jury report: “This project was executed cleverly with light-hearted humor and a rather risky approach. The Jury could not help but appreciated such a fresh and simple proposition capturing all the elements with an undertone of good and responsible citizenship.

The proposal is a rather organic and flexible bridge that grows and shrinks with time, need, weather or specific event. It is the activity over the water that creates the passage – a slow-living organic passage. The bridge lives and exists, thanks to the way the users approach and use the space, through the identity or activity that is going on around it.

This is not just a bridge but, in itself, constitutes a neighbourhood, a place or space constantly changing to meet the needs of daily life in the city.

Third Place: Velorose + Heyne Tillett Steel (David Rosenberg, Tom Steel, Dominic Weil & Olivia Pearson), United Kingdom

Third Place: Velorose + Heyne Tillett Steel (David Rosenberg, Tom Steel, Dominic Weil & Olivia Pearson), United Kingdom

When a Parking Lot Is So Much More

The obvious often needs to come from bigger player to be taken notice of – from Archinect

We need to redefine what we mean by “parking lot” to include something that not only allows a driver to park his car, but also offers a variety of other public uses, mitigates its effect on the environment and gives greater consideration to aesthetics and architectural context. —

Vertical Villages for European Snowbirds by OFF + PR

via bustler 

ack in February, we reported on the winners of the Solar Park South international design competition in Calabria, Italy which played with the theme of a ‘Solar Highway’, re-using sections of the Salerno-Reggio Calabria highway soon to be decommissioned by the Italian Highways Authority. The winning team, comprising French firms OFF architecture (Tanguy Vermet, Manal Rachdi, Ute Rinnebach, Marina Daviu, Clement Gerard), PR architect(Philippe Rizzotti) and Samuel Nageotte, just shared their awarded entry in all its detail with us.


Winning design of the Solar Park South competition by OFF archietcture, PR architect and Samuel Nageotte

Winning design of the Solar Park South competition by OFF archietcture, PR architect and Samuel Nageotte Continue reading

11 US cities honored as “walk-friendly”

by Kaid Benfieldon Sustainable Cities Collective: How the “West” lives is long way from us here in the South – and yet we aspire to achieve walkability – but for different reason here – most people don’t have cars and yet our aging city infrastructures are designed for cars, Public urban transport is mainly by mini-bus and the urban poor are stuck out in peri-urban ghettos – with this in mind the advocates of global tourism still spend on structures and infrastructures designed to retain the privileged few.Issues such as this are tops in the current run up for local miunicipal elections in South Africa – interesting times. Still it is instructive to see which American cities are judged to be walker friendly”

walking the High Line in New York City (by: John Weiss, creative commons license)

After evaluating applicant communities in several categories related to walking – including safety, mobility, access and comfort – the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center last week announced the selection of eleven Walk Friendly Communities across the US.  They are ranked in categories of achievement, as follows:   Continue reading

Electric Car Infrastructure Developments Highlight Potential for EVs in the America

Is this the future creeping up on us ever so slowly – I can’t imagine a local petrol company putting a charging station on its forecourt here yet – by ECPA Urban Planning via Sustainable Cities Collective 

A ChargePoint(R) EV charging station in Oregon (Image Credit: WikiMedia Commons User M.O. Stevens)

On Wednesday, the first quick-charging station for electric vehicles Latin America opened in Santiago, Chile, the Wall Street Journalreported. The station, which can charge electric cars to 80% capacity in 30 minutes, is housed in one of Brazilian state-run Petroleo Brasileiro SA’s gas stations. At the opening ceremony, President Sebastián Piñera proclaimed, “The day we can use this technology in massive quantities, we’re going to leap forward in protecting the environment, reducing pollution in our cities and improving people’s quality of life.”

While Japan dominates the market with 600 charging stations – there are just over 40 stations combined in all other countries – electric car infrastructure is developing across the Americas. Hawai’i has implemented ten charging stations on Oahu through a collaboration among Better Place, resort hotel chains, the Hawaiian Electric Company, and the Hawai’i Renewable Development Venture. Ten charge stations were launched this week, and the project also includes seven electric cars that will be used primarily as fleet vehicles for Hawaiian Electric and hotel guest shuttles. The Hawai’i Natural Energy Institute at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa will monitor usage and performance of this pilot initiative. Business Week reported that Better Place plans to open 130 additional stations by early 2012 – an initiative welcomed by political leaders in Hawai’i, where the price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas reached $4.49 on Tuesday, the highest in the nation.

In New York City, Icon Parking Systems – which operates over 200 facilities in Manhattan – announced charging stations are now availableat another parking garage as part of an ongoing partnership with Car Charging Group. The new charging unit, part of the ChargePoint® Network, is open to EVs from all manufacturers and features conveniences such as variable fees for usage, access without subscriptions, 24/7 driver support, and smartphone applications that allow users to find unoccupied stations.

This week’s developments are promising signs of the potential for EVs in the Americas. The “Electric Vehicle Study” by Zypryme Research reported that 2011 will be a “breakthrough year for the Smart Grid…[and] a history maker for the electric vehicle (EV) industry” as numerous automobile manufacturers will be launching EVs into the mainstream market. Almost 40% of respondents to the Zypryme survey stated they are “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to purchase an EV in the next two years, with one-third of all respondents indicating they will pay a premium for an electric vehicle.

Featured Image, front page: Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) diagram (Image Credit: WikiMedia Commons user Matt Howard)

About ECPA Urban Planning

The American Planning Association (APA), with the support of the U.S. Department of State, promotes urban planning as a tool to foster sustainable, climate-proof development across the Americas. APA leads activities and programs designed to advance institutional capacity and improve long-term access to planning expertise and technical assistance in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Smart growth requires more than transportation thinking via Switchboard

This post from Kaid Benfield’s Blog on Switchboard drives to the heart of the problems we seem to experience with the (fairly) widespread adoption of TOD, Smart Growth and New Urbanism principles – even here in South Africa, Planners, Architects and Engineers have embraced these ideas and a lot of emphasis is being given to improved transportation such as high speed rail (Gautrain) and BRT projects that were coupled with the Soccer World Cup 2010. What is less obvious is the need to couple this with decentralized water and sanitation systems and reduced car use – overall a decoupling from consumption driven growth – here most people – even those who don’t have them, can’t seem to give up the idea of having a free standing house on its own piece of ground, two or more cars in the drive and using them to go to the mall, even if its round the corner. If you watch the media and TV you can clearly see why: that s what’s being shown in the soaps, driven by the ads and spawned by commercial interests and politicians who need compounded GDP growth art all costs to win elections and let’s face it most of us whohave these things are not rushing to give them up – we ‘of course’  have the excuse here that the transport systems don’t work, crime is rife and there is no other option but to hop in out car every time we think of anything we need!

Rieselfeld, Germany (courtesy of Payton Chung)

I’ve been a bit of a one-man band over the last 2-3 years, arguing that we need a second generation of smart growth theory that goes beyond thinking about land use patterns per se.

We now know from tons of research that smart land use patterns – neighborhoods that are compact, well-located, walkable and transit-served – are critical to a sustainable future.  They conserve land and reduce driving, reducing carbon and other emissions from transportation.  But there are so many important elements of sustainability that land use patterns themselves do not reach or at least do not satisfy, from water consumption and runoff to building and infrastructure energy, to equity and more. Continue reading

Hierarchy of Infrastructure Needs via SustainableCitiesCollective

David Levinson of The Tranportationist postulates a way of prioritizing infrastructure investment that makes sense, even here in the Southern tip of Africa:

The figure shows the “Hierarchy of Infrastructure Needs”. It offers a useful organizational tool for considering the priorities of transport investment. Borrowing from Abraham Maslow, it suggests that the first priority, at the base of the hierarchy, is Infrastructure Preservation. Without existing infrastructure being maintained, everything else falls apart. Given current financing challenges, existing infrastructure is deteriorating. Fortunately, through investment this problem can be reversed. The first part of the proposal Fix it First, Expand It Second, Reward It Third: A New Strategy for America’s Highways by Matt Kahn and myself seeks to rectify this problem.

At the second level of the hierarchy is Safety. If people do not feel safe, they will not travel by that mode. We see this in urban transit, aviation, and in adverse weather. Over 30,000 Americans die in road crashes annually, a vast improvement over previous years. Still, that is far too many, and one of the highest unaddressed costs of transportation. People overestimate their safety by car (and underestimate it by other modes), perhaps because they feel in control. Most safety progress will occur due to vehicle improvements and changes in driver behavior, (and ideally taking the driver out of the loop) but safety can be enhanced through select infrastructure improvement projects.

Continue reading