Rehabilitating Africa

From Design Indaba:  a proposed project – this might be a candidate for the very problem that was discussed earlier here of Gentrification but the need in African Cites is undeniable and many of them are so run down that they are in desperate need of development with the incredible growth of these cites projects like this are bound to happen:

Issa Diabaté has launched a project that seeks to rehabilitate a district of Abidjan, Ivory Coast to create a city that is economically and socially viable.

The Cocody Bay Landscaping Project by Issa Diabaté.

The Cocody Bay Landscaping Project by Issa Diabaté.

“Designing with a broad vision makes things possible”, said Issa Diabaté atDesign Indaba Conference 2014, while presenting his groundbreaking urban planning endeavour The Cocody Bay Landscaping Project.

The Cocody Bay Landscaping Project is an urban planning and architecture project designed for the rehabilitation of the lagoon bay area located in the centre of the city of Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

The issue for the Ivory Coast is the lack of vision for urban planning, says Diabaté.

Diabaté’s firm Koffi & Diabaté Architects was commissioned by the District of Abidjan in an effort to rehabilitate an area, which has suffered from major degradation over the past 20 years due to sewage problems that affected the landscape on a grand scale.

Beyond just rehabilitation the project aims to establish a positive and long-lasting impact on the city by developing a new leisure and economic centre in the heart of the town. As such, in an effort to incorporate both environmental and social needs, along with the rehabilitation of the bay, an integral part of the project is the design of major green and leisurely spaces for city dwellers in the form of boardwalks a d various entertainment areas.

The Cocody Bay Landscaping Project also involves the development of a “smart city” incorporating notions of urban planning for social mobility. With this in mind, Diabaté will create a new residential and commercial area in the hope of fostering a rise in employment and future economic viability for the city.

The project is due for launch this year and is estimated to take between five and ten years to complete. 

 

The Cocody Bay Landscaping Project was showcased as part of Design Indaba Expo’s Africa is Now exhibition under the theme of “Africa is Urban”. The exhibition and theme in particular shrugged off the perception that Africa is largely rural and instead reveal how it is a engine for growth and opportunity in both challenges and possibilities present on the continent. 

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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Diller Scofidio + Renfro Beat Out Strong Competition at Aberdeen City Garden Project

From Archinect a multilevel interconnected web surface is created as a structural response to the multiplicity and heterogenous needs of a dense  urban area brings an integral thickened surface – Stan Allen’s ‘Mat Urbanism: The Thick 2-D” With a now familiar idea diagram from a rubber band  the design displays D&S’s out of the box thinking.
Aerial view of the winning proposal by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Keppie Design and OLIN (Image: Courtesy of Malcolm Reading Consultants)
Aerial view of the winning proposal by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Keppie Design and OLIN (Image: Courtesy of Malcolm Reading Consultants)

Diller Scofidio + Renfro have won the Aberdeen City Garden Project design competition which seeks to transform the center of Aberdeen, Scotland. New York City-based DS+R collaborated with local Scottish architects, Keppie Design and landscape architects OLIN, on this project and emerged as winners from a head-to-head race with another finalist team led by Foster + Partners. — bustler.net

Image: Courtesy of Malcolm Reading Consultants

 

Malcolm Reading, the competition organizer, commented:

‘This is such an exciting outcome and a great coup for the city. This ingenious and inspiring design for Aberdeen’s key public space gives the city a new social landscape but one rooted in its extraordinarily rich heritage and natural assets.

‘The runner-up concept, by Foster and Partners was outstanding, elegant and thoughtful, but did not, in the end, persuade the Jury that it could match the promise of connectivity, excitement and spatial diversity of the winning scheme.’

Check the Bustler article to also see the projects of the five shortlisted teams led by Foster + Partners, Gustafson Porter, Mecanoo, Snøhetta & Hoskins, and West 8.

New Chinese eco-city in Langfang to model cutting edge technologies

By : Jenny Marusiak on Eco-Business:

An artist's rendition of China's new eco-city in Langfang. Image: Southworth International

Plans for a new eco-city south of Beijing were unveiled on Thursday by former Australian prime minister John Howard.

Located in Langfang in the Hebei province, the 30 square kilometre development will feature a theme park and an exhibition centre, designed to be the world’s largest with over 1.3 million square metres. Green space will flow throughout the development and there will be restrictions on gasoline powered vehicles, according to the developers.

Speaking at the China Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting, Mr Howard said, “I am very pleased that Langfang is taking a leadership position in developing smart city technology.  This is an outstanding opportunity to build a new city from the ground-up with wired and eco-green technology that will pave the way for cities of the future around the world.”

A representative from global investment company Southworth International, which is developing the project in a joint venture with the privately held Chinese Bestsun (Baichuan) Energy Group, told Eco-Business they would be using “cutting-edge technology in energy, transportation, low carbon, water and wired infrastructure in the recreational business district and residences.”

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Hong Kong’s Retail Diversity

BY DAMIAN HOLMES on LAND Reader

“Julia Levitt just posted Hong Kong’s Retail Tetris at Metropolis Magazine POV. Levitt looks at the retail makeup, density that comes in a densely packed mega-city such as Hong Kong. The variety of spaces and retails outlets in Hong Kong is often an amazing sight.

I recently traveled to Hong Kong last weekend and found that shopping centres are as lively and exciting as the streetscape and vice-versa depending on the time of day. Restaurants are often on the 5th, 6th and often 11th floor of shopping centres. Nothing beats the streetscape at night time in areas such as Tsim Sha Tsui and Mongkok on the Kowloon side that are a sea of neon and LED light until the early morning. Same can be said of Central, Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island. The culture in Hong Kong is also around eating and often Breakfast, Morning Tea, Lunch, Aftenoon Tea, Dinner, Midnight Tea, so you can always find people wondering the streets in some areas of Hong Kong. Also the heavy used public transport creates the opportunity to stay out to the late at night or early hours as the trains run until 1am and also buses that run all night”

restaurant with a view

I see Hong Kong as a model of smart growth management and land use planning. It’s a city were policy dictates that development must concentrate on only 25% of the land area, with the remaining 75% preserved as open space. This policy ensures that the region’s lush green spaces remain intact. It also maintains scarcity and high land values in developable areas. This is crucial to the local government because its primary source of income is land leasing.

Looking at development in Hong Kong through Western eyes, I noticed another impact of the city’s tightly concentrated density: the compact clustering of residential and working populations supports a diverse, competitive, and often ingenious retail community. Continue reading

Why cities are on the ‘cutting edge of environmentalism’ : Smart Planet

via LAND Reader

Peter Calthorpe, an architect, urban planner, and one of the founders of the Congress for the New Urbanism was interviewed by Smart Planet on Earth Day about his book – Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change (Amazon Link). Peter talks about climate change, smart urban planning, sustainable cities, urban lifestyle and many others in relation to urbanism and his book.

A good interview that talks more about the subject at large rather than Calthorpe’s book

If we’re going to curb climate change, urbanism — developing sustainable cities and metro regions — will have to lead the way.

So says Peter Calthorpe, an architect, urban planner, and one of the founders of the Congress for the New Urbanism. Continue reading