urbanus vulgaris

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

Month: April, 2013

Vertical horizons of Hong Kong by romain jacquet-lagreze

by gailiute

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“‘vertical horizon’, by french graphic artist romain jacquet-lagreze is a photographic journey between the buildings of the relentlessly
growing metropolis of hong-kong. the image series takes a deep dive into the city’s thick atmospheres, showcasing a visual record of
its wildly diverse built environment. presented in a hard-cover book, the collection of unique compositions contemplate the raw
nature of chinese culture and the expression of its sheer vivacity.” – Designboom.com

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Taken from: http://www.designboom.com/art/vertical-horizons-by-romain-jacquet-lagreze/

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New generation wind energy collector from TU Delft

by gailiute

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TU Delft not only claims to be one of the leading engineering universities – it really offers great inventions. One of them – new way of collecting wind power without any drawbacks that ‘traditional’ wind turbine has – no  moving parts, no sound, less vibration – it looks really promising. And the best part is that this new wind energy collector could be made in many different forms – easier to fit it in the urban environment :) well, of course it is still a project, but I hope it will evolve into real product.

About the project:

“TU Delft researchers Johan Smit and Dhiradj Djairam developed the EWICON (Electrostatic Windenergy CONvertor), a windenergy convertor that transforms windenergy into electricity without mechanical moving parts. This animation shows how it works and can be deployed. Do you want to know more? Read the entire thesis here: http://repository.tudelft.nl/view/ir/uuid%3Ae1cfdada-85ea-45c4-b6e4-b798abf5917e/ ”

The only issue that I see here is: this electricity generator needs water. Constantly. I try to imagine water tank nearby :)

 

Welcome to Lagos

by gailiute

I want to share with you great documentary series from BBC  that explore some of the most extreme urban environments in the world. The first one is about the dump in Lagos, city that hosts ~16 million people.

As the editors of the programme says:

“The dump became   symbolic of everything we were trying to achieve in the films. It looks at   first sight like a rough, lawless, dangerous place, and most people in this   country will be horrified to see people working there. But in actual fact,   through the eyes of the people who actually DO work there, it’s a   well-organised place where there’s good money to be earned. Decent, honest   people choose to work there, preferring a life of grime to a life of crime.   Some of them are university graduates. They are proud of   the fact that they earn an honest living, and are making a better life for   themselves and their families through sheer determination and hard work.”

The second documentary is about Makoko – the huge floating slum, a home to 100 000   people living on houses built on stilts. This video is the start of the second documentary set. Since I did not find the full one, the rest you can follow on youtube. Makoko is quite famous as I understood, it has a website, www.makoko.org,  where projects dealing with this environment, are presented. I did not know, thats new for me.

The last part is about the sandy beach in the city of Lagos. Sunny and nice, it is an attractive place – and actually ~1 000 people reside there. Well squat the area to be more precise. And not because of the attractiveness or suitability of the area, but because they have nowhere else to live. The video is also the first set of part 3.

In the end after watching all of this, I got confused. Not that I felt urgent need to change my life, or to be a good will ambassador, or to help the poor – I just got confused because it seems that we exaggerate all problems. We have none :)

Good watching!

 

Your mentality – social class

by gailiute

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Knowing your social class does not change your behaviour or mentality, but sometimes it is interesting just to do these tests to check how average are you :) or how extraordinary. It depends.

There are a few ways to find it out.

1. BBC has created a social class calculator to show your position in a society according to income, interests and social interaction. I did it and actually it did not say my anything interesting. Here it is if you would like to try it yourself.

2. Motivaction has created a test to find out your mentality by analysing your values and lifestyle. This test intends to be used by businesses, designers, organisations, advertising or any other groups that do people related work and need to target them as precise as possible. In deed, this test is quite detailed and precise if done honestly. You can find it here in case you would like to try it.

Of course there are more tests that have similar intentions,  but it is not my intention to bring them all here :)

If you have any one good in particular, please share!

Designing the speed, not limiting it

by gailiute

This is a great example how traffic can become less of a problem in a living environment. In this case this is a story about a village of Poynton that used to be on the crossing of two extremelly busy roads. Well, it did not vanished anywhere, it is still in the same place, however the new approach to the crossing seemed to be such a good investment, that it started pay off right from the very first days, both by reducing risks of crossing the roads and by improving liveability of the village public space.

The idea is quite simple, yet genuine and brave – to get rid of the traffic lights  by designing the speed instead of limiting it. The concept of shared space is already in some countries, like the Netherlands, but for the village of Poynton it was quite challenging experience.

Looks that it works just great!

I found the video here.

Suburbia is starting to die?

by gailiute

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While scanning through numerous articles about suburban life, I came over a few articles and posts that american dream of living in a nice suburban house actually is not a dream anymore. Well, at least for a small, but constantly growing part of society. Authors basically support this idea of decreasing amount of car users in generation Y (by the way, I did not know that we are called generation Y, that’s something new for me!) and increasing per cent of suburban poor, which means, according to the authors, that higher educated or “smarter” or anyhow “better” people tend to exchange suburbs to a better & compact city life. Of course, the authors admit that there will always remain those, who, despite anything, will adore suburban life.

Well, could be true, could be just a nicely played with a few statistical figures, but good to know.

And as for us, in Lithuania, I don’t think that suburbia is going to die soon, we’re just in the middle of creating it. Still need some time..

Pictures taken from here:

http://www.archdaily.com/230276/infographic-burbs-going-bust/

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