urbanus vulgaris

urban life & culture / ideas & insights / innovation & development

How far is 5 min walking

by gailiute



Some time ago we had discussions why people do not choose public transport to reach university campus in Kaunas (Kaunas University of Technology campus), instead they drive cars even if they live in convenient location to a bus stops, close to campus, etc.

Well apparently taking a bus sometimes can take more than an hour to reach campus, while one can spend less than 15 minutes driving the same distance.

Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 15.06.12

time spent travelling

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5min (400m) walking distance from bus stops

There are many reasons for such an inadequacy,  starting from (probably) inefficient bus routes and bus stops that are quite far from campus itself.

This research is only small part of an ongoing project.

Eventual goal is to ensure sustainable future development of this campus. Making it better accessible by public transport instead of private cars is one small milestone to reach.



The hisory of (social) housing policies in the Netherlands

by jiookrednav



‘Allen die zich practisch met deze tak van maatschappelijke hervorming bezig houden, hebben de ervaring opgedaan dat in menig arbeidersgezin een volslagen ommekeer ten goede plaats heeft, wanneer het uit een krot in eene gezonde woning wordt overgeplaatst.’ H.L. Drucker in De Gids, 1898



Brutalist architecture

by gailiute


Today I came across an interesting article about 60s brutalist ski resort by Marcel Breuer, architect, known for Whitney Museun NY builbing among others (which recently reopened as the Met Breuer) and his iconic chairs – Wassily and B32.

This article is a photo-essay trying to explain the ambivalence of this architecture and in general is a nice way to spend few minutes of your time.

Alastair Philip Wiper finds “noble failure” at Breuer’s Brutalist French ski resort of Flaine

Reagan’s Challenger Speech Analysed.

by jiookrednav

Amazing documentary:



De omgekeerde wereld

by jiookrednav

Saskia Sassen: “The city is supposedly a space for people. Today you get the impression, it’s a space for buildings.”

by jiookrednav

This is what she explains in a short video-interview on the website of Die Zeit.

In response to the previous article on our blog, an alternative view on cities and urban development in general. :-)

How to build a city from scratch

by gailiute


There is an interesting article about new cities being built around the world.

A) I didn’t know there were so many;

B) what the hell are they thinking?


The key succes-factors of Urban Development according to Riek Bakker, supervisor Kop van Zuid

by jiookrednav

Everybody who is involved in this work, should be committed, should want something and have the energy to do it. A normal person does his work with 100 % effort, but if you’re in this line of work, you should be ready to give 500 %. And that’s just a fact. Otherwise you won’t make it. 

2. Allies.
You need allies, you’ll have to fight sometimes and will have to do the most awful things -at least you seem to think so, that’s how you feel, someone else could feel differently about it- you need to be brave, you’ll have to go against existing opinions, you’ll have to speak in public… a lot of things you need to do, that are not necessarily part of your character, but that you think is necessary, because you think things will have to get done. Then, every once in a while, you’ll need people that you can pass by spontaneously in the evening or who you can call early in the morning, without them saying “Are you crazy?” and who you can trust and can help you in difficult moments. so, HELP.

If a project gets stuck, it often has to do with people who don’t grant you the projectThat happened to me in Rotterdam, I was there in the urban planning and development department and the bosses we’re tired of me. They didn’t want me to hire external planning offices anymore, they told me: Do it with the planning department. That was impossible, because we needed to do something new (with the Kop van Zuid ed.) and those people were used to work in a certain way. They cut off the money and the project was DEAD. What to do? I went to a good friend, the then director of the Port Authority Henk Molenaar. He was always in his office, at night as well, so you could always go there. I told him what happened and then he really helped me tremendously. He asked me, don’t you work for the the Port Authority as well? Then you can also send me bills, right?

So I left with a little skip and thought, that’ll work! So I had an ally there. And what turned out to be the fact? He was born and grew up on the South bank of the river (Where the Kop van Zuid is built ed.). So he empathized with the project. Those are the kind of people you’ll need, otherwise you won’t make it.

3. Continuity
Continuity of the project, continuity of what you started, continuity of the things you achieve and you’ve got the first pile in the ground, then you have to make you sure, that the people around you, grant you and your successors. You have to make sure that the entire undertaking has continuity. There are people who put their money in, there are people who put their effort and energy in, there are people who put their professional knowledge into it, people are working on it in numerous different ways, they put something aside, they jumped over their boundaries, they have their trust in it… if their are authorities that say: now we have this political constellation and we’re not doing it anymore, then that could happen, but they should know, that they are killing certain things off and the least thing that they will have to do, is explain for weeks on end, how they can assure continuity.

The continuity of the project on the Kop van Zuid, in the first place depends on the fact that it is a very Rotterdam-style project. There are a lot of people who have said: The biggest, most impressing etc. No, it is a typical Rotterdam-style project. The bigness, the impressiveness is part of the harbour of Rotterdam.

In Rotterdam, there was a president of the Chamber of Commerce, mr. Van de Mandele, who said: Guys, this river is not deep enough, ships are getting bigger and they won’t be able to go in and out in the future. We need to dig out the river – that was an undertaking! He called that person, that person and that person and they got it done. So they people in Rotterdam are used to it, they are used to think in that way, it’s part of the tradition. So what we are still doing is realising a Rotterdam-style plan. You need the empathy of the Rotterdammer himself! So also word of mouth, also the general public were involved by us from day one. If they wouldn’t have agreed with the project…..

That is something else than acceptance or consensus (In Dutch “Draagvlak” ed.) The word consensus is brave word for scared politicians. And consultants.

The  challenge in urban development nowadays is to find the initiator. 
(…) It starts with, what we think is important and why. But also define what you think is not important. (…) It starts with bringing the right people together and that those initiatives are accepted by different administrative levels and that they join each other and quit playing the game “I don’t want to do anything, because I don’t have any money”, but that they play the game how can we solve this problem, even though we don’t have money, how can we be creative and how can we come to agreements and how can we make sure that one does this and the other does that and the other maybe does that as well? And then you can actually solve a lot of problems. (…)

I don’t care who starts, but someone has to start it! For that, you need to create a sense of urgency. Nowadays, it’s about agenda-setting and that is how we get back to energy and to granting each other. (…)


Sustainable Urban Development in Freiburg presented by Lord Mayor Dieter Salomon

by jiookrednav

I recommend watching this video with subtitles. The holistic urban development guide lines can be found on the site of Freiburg’s Sustainability Management. These are the goals for the policy area “urban planning and urban development planning”:

5. Urban planning and  Urban Development Planning

We oblige ourselves, to take on a strategic role in urban planning and urban development planning with respect to ecologic, social, economic, health and cultural aspects and benefits for all. 

  • Step-by-step reduction of green-field building sites to zero and supplying the need for building sites for housing and industry by the development of brown-fields and the densification of existing urban areas.
  • Urban quarters and villages of high urban design quality with social and life assuring infrastructure.
  • Strong urban centres with a high diversity in uses and attractive retail trade.  
  • Newly constructed buildings are to be of high quality and should be additions to the building culture of a city, that preserves its individuality and beauty. 
  • A good supply of attractive, urban and scenic public spaces, that are usable and accessible, in all of the city.

Monocle 24 radio – The Urbanist show

by gailiute



This is great stuff: radio station with the show about the cities for everybody who love cities, want to live in cities, move out of cities or just want to listen to smth that even might be interesting ;)


Highly recommend to listen!

P.s. they have more interesting shows, check them out


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