Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Motorways removed

This is worth a share. Increasing numbers of cities accross the world rethinking public space through the demolition of motorways. Ideas for Belfast?

Monday, 29 December 2014

The quote of the week. Tony Vidler

This is the first of a series on streets. Each week I will introduce one author and one quote, to continue the discussion on streets as the link, bound and connection between buildings and the urban landscape.
I will start with Tony Vidler's last collection of essays.

"To confine architecture to the role of designing a single building in a context that is largely defined by the interplay of economic development and urban policy leaves the question of the form of the public realm unanswered.  In this period of global urbanization, the single building has become increasingly isolated as an icon of progress rising amid a sea of urban blight, a designer accessory masking the rampant spoliaton of traditional urban fabric and the unsustainable expansion of urban areas."

Vidler, Anthony, The Scenes of the Street and Other Essays, The Monacelli Press, New York, 2011, p6

Vidler is one of the most insightful scholars in the field of architecture and urbanism. His last collection of essays might not be an overarching analysis of streets in history, as the title may suggest, but it gives a thorough and deep view on certain moments of city streets in history. Paris is the protagonist, from 19th century urban development, through Tony Garnier and Le Corbusier to Guy Debord's psychogeographies. However, the collection does cover other gems like urban photography, museums, libraries and the obelisk.
Vidler's style is impecable and his observations shed light on the main driver of the book: the tight relationship between city planning, urban design, urbanism and architecture. This includes the distiction between all of these concepts. The focus of the book may be on certain times and spaces in history, but the ideas behind it are as current and useful for understanding urban spaces as they can ever be.
This approach should help us understand the need to analyse architecture not as buildings within a context, but urbanism and architecture as integral parts of a whole.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Back. Bernardo Secchi

After a break from my blog due to maternity leave, what better way to come back than a tribute to Bernardo Secchi, one of the great European urbanists of the 20th/21st century.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Cars vs people. Finally Jacobs is being considered by the mainstream

For more than half a century now the car has reigned over the streets of cities, not allowing them to be public spaces. Slowly some examples appear of the demolition of motorways to replace them with pedestrian areas. This one in Seoul is one of them.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Urbanism and urbanisation

Both faces of the city. We cannot talk about the city in general terms. Different parts of the world face different challenges in this increasingly urbanised society.

Whose city is it anyway? The harsh truth about urbanisation

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Sorkin on New York

A sustainable, convival and beautiful city. Michael Sorkin (an all time favourite) writes eloquently about the possibility of a self sufficient city. This could be applied to many other cities that are highly dependent on importation.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Hamburg 20 year plan

It is happening, and Hamburg will be a pioneer. Reducing car use might be the solution to congestion and CO2 emissions, whilr providing more liveable urban spaces.