New York City Planners Janette Sadik-Khan and Amanda Burden Share Their Wisdom With Cape Town

With the upcoming municipal elections in South Africa and the fight over the Mayors position and role, especially in Cape Town, this report from Cape Town Partnership website about a visitors from the Big Apple highlights the impact a charismatic and powerful civic leader can have on a city. We hope and look forward to our future leader being able to mobilize and  transform our bureaucracy  and deliver on their campaign promises! Additionally we see the difference in scale and priorities of an urban megapolis like New York and sleepy hollow Cape Town!


“City partners were privileged to host Janette Sadik-Khan, the commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation and Amanda Burden, director of the New York City Department of City Planning this week to discuss issues of public transport, NMT, public space and city planning.Described as activists for change in their city, both Sadik-Khan and Burden have been major players in New York mayor Michael Bloomberg’s bid to transform New York into a green city by, among other things, reducing the city’s carbon footprint by 30% by the year 2030 while improving the livability and quality of life of the city Continue reading

Interview with Benjamin H Bratton via LAND Reader

This interview is an example of how far “left-field” thinking is needed to go to contemplate an alternative to “Global Capital” to rather an idea of “Global Commonwealth” – is this another type of utopian dream?

BY DAMIAN HOLMES of LAND Reader : ” The Guardian has published an Interview with Benjamin H Bratton, director of the Center for Design and Geopolitics, Calit2 and University of California, San Diego as part of their Activate New York event to be held in late April. Bratton gives interesting insights into design, technology and urbanism including:

“Better design is a way of doing good in and of itself, one would assume. But what is better design? Better for what end?” – Can we design a more harmonious world?

“Tell us who you work for and what you do.

I am a writer. My work is a mix of social and political philosophy, architectural and urban theory, and computing and information infrastructure. I direct the Center for Design and Geopolitics at Calit2 at University of California, San Diego, where I work side-by-side with nanoengineers, biotechnologists, computational physicists, neuro-ontologists, and, of course, crazy artists. A lot of my recent thinking is at bratton.info and @bratton. Right now, I am writing a book on the the fate of cosmopolitanism in the era of planetary computation and post-humanism.

Cities cover 2% of the earth’s crust and account for 50% of the world’s population. Does this statistic fully highlight the importance of architects and designers in facilitating a harmonious world?

Only if we assume that architects and designers are responsible for the architecture and design of cities. They are and they aren’t. Cities are almost living things unto themselves, which we can certainly effect in particular ways, but which evolve according patterns in migratory networks, logistical networks, financial networks, informational networks, and so on. We may soon take for granted the notion that these impersonal processes have more to with the character of cities than any single master plan. This is not to say that we shouldn’t think hard about design, quite to the contrary. But our focus should be on thinking of the world’s cities as a single, massively-distributed urban organism, instead of little isolated fortresses.

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Right-Sizing the Street: Not Just for the DOT Anymore via SustainabelCitiesCollective

There are plenty of places in Cape TOwn that could use this treatment – where the car rules and we could take back the streets! Aurash Khawarzad of PPS Project for Public Spaces Writes:

In Oak Cliff, Texas, community members initiated the process of right-sizing their street by orchestrating a temporary street re-design event. Photo from Go Oak Cliff.

It used to be that only transportation professionals decided how wide a street should be. Not anymore. Communities of all shapes and sizes are beginning to play a larger part in determining the design and network of their street system.

This new, active role helps ensure that transportation projects contribute to broad community outcomes, including local social, economic, and environmental well-being.

One primary way in which communities are playing an active role in the planning process is through grassroots efforts to “right-size” local streets. These right-sizing efforts take the form of low-cost experiments that are intended to demonstrate potential benefits of place-based transportation and informing long-term decision-making.

What is Right-Sizing?

Right-sizing is a technique to re-design streets to make them context sensitive. Through right-sizing, streets can be transformed so they are safer, sustainable, and more functional from a mobility and a community perspective.

For more detail on some examples of right-sizing techniques, read this recent post on Safer, More Livable Streets through Bike Lanes, featuring PPS Transportation Initiatives Director, Gary Toth.

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“CITYSUMERS” -The future consumption arena is urban

According to trendwatching.com , (“one of the world’s leading consumer trends firms”)  the city is the main arena for the unfolding of the new century – was it ever any different, at least in recent times the city is the focus of action with more than 50% of the worlds population being urbanized.

"Urbanomics" & "Citysumers"

“CITYSUMERS | The hundreds of millions (and growing!) of experienced and sophisticated urbanites*, from San  to Shanghai to São Paulo, who are ever more demanding and more open-minded, but also more proud, more connected, more spontaneous and more try-out-prone, eagerly snapping up a whole host of new urban goods, services, experiences, campaigns and conversations.”

Although this might be very consumerist for many people – there are a number of very interesting urban and digital urban ideas and examples in this trend review that tie in closely with where a lot of urban research and thinking is heading – trust retailers to get there first – but we can learn and turn these ideas into a more available model.

Read more here: CITYSUMERS

Four Shortlisted Designs Unveil Visions for Minneapolis Riverfront

Last Thursday, four globally renowned landscape and urban design teams converged on Minneapolis to present to the public their visions for the Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition (MR|DC) at the Walker Art Center. The teams – Ken Smith Workshop (New York City), Stoss Landscape Urbanism (Boston), Tom Leader Studio (Berkeley), and Turenscape (Beijing) – each presented a multidimensional design proposal for 220 acres of parkland and surrounding communities along 5.5 miles of the Upper Riverfront in Minneapolis.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, with creative partners the Walker Art Center and the University of Minnesota College of Design, sponsor the MR|DC. The largest design competition in Minneapolis history, the MR|DC builds on the Park Board’s award-winning 2000 Master Plan and is the first demonstration project of the Foundation’s “Next Generation of Parks” initiative. (REposted from Bustler)

Minneapolis Waterfront Turenscpae Proposal