urbanus vulgaris

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

Category: urban consequences

Robin Hood Gardens – one of the most hated buildings in UK

by gailiute

“As it faces demolition, the Architectural Review‘s history editor Tom Wilkinson considers the legacy of London’s Robin Hood Gardens– one of east London’s most notable brutalist housing projects. Although consistently voted some of the most hated buildings in the country, Wilkinson delves beyond the style debate to consider the values and intentions which underpinned the building of this controversial estate and others like it.”

– says SustainableCitiesCollective.

 

 

More on the building here.

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Strelka Talks. From welfare city to neoliberal utopia

by gailiute

One more interesting talk from Crimson Architectural historians. Enjoy :)

Retrofitting suburbia

by gailiute

This is quite an interesting talk on the possible futures of suburbia. I really liked her statement, which goes something like “urbanism does its job, we only have to make architecture to look better” :D

Immersive ugliness of everyday’s environment in America

by gailiute

Such a good talk. And very hilarious :)

Pedestrian friendly suburb without cars – Vauban, Germany

by gailiute

Recently I came across a nice example of working design that favours pedestrians and bicycles more than cars.

800px-Ecoquartier_Vauban_Freibourg3

The new (started mid 1990’s, construction finished in 2006) suburban development –  Vauban neighbourhood is based on a fused grid (first introduced in 2002, it offers the best of two widely known street patterns: grid and radburn) that favours active movement by foot or bike inside the neighbourhood and filters out the cars.

VaubanTraficNetwork-Schematic

Cars can enter local streets to access the houses, but the parking there is strictly forbidden. Car owners can park their vehicles only in two spots: the large garages at the end of location. In addition to that, residents of Vauban have to declare whether they own a car yearly  and in case they do, the are obliged to buy a parking space as well (which is not extremely cheap). However restrictions on car parking and such disfavouring of car ownership is compensated by a tram line which is within easy walking distance from every home.

Positive effect of this design is already visible in statistical data: “As of 2009 around 70% of the households had chosen to live without a private car. The level of car ownership has fallen over time. An earlier survey showed over 50% of households owned a car; of those who were living carfree, 81% had previously owned one and 57% gave up their cars on or immediately after moving to Vauban.” (Nobis, 2003, cited in wiki:)) 

And. Besides smart selection of pedestrians over cars, this neighbourhood is built according to low energy consumption standards: “100 units designed to the Passivhaus ultra-low energy building standard. Other buildings are heated by a combined heat and power station burning wood chips, while many of the buildings have Solar collectors or photovoltaic cells. Perhaps the best example of sustainable building is the Solar Settlement in Vauban, a 59 PlusEnergy home housing community. It is the first housing community world wide in which all the homes produce a positive energy balance. The solar energy surplus is then sold back into the city’s grid for a profit on every home.” (again, source: wiki). 

This project sounds great! Agree? ;)

 

Solarsiedlung_von_oben 327737739_b1bb1f8927 smart-urban-planning

 

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!

 

Suburbia is starting to die?

by gailiute

1335545624-suburb-intro1

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/

1335807541-suburbia3

Hong Kong’s claustrophobic appartments

by gailiute

The-Unseen-Tiny-Apartments-Of-Hong-Kong-3

Yesterday by accident I found one very interesting photo-report that shows us the reality of urban jungle in the city of Hong Kong. The photos are extremely beautiful though a bit sad. It is hard to imagine that these pockets of space are actually a home for so many people..

More photos you can find here.

City apart from the world / where those, who want to leave are rare

by gailiute

THE OIL ROCKS – Behind this enigmatic name lies the first and largest offshore oil town ever built. A vast, sprawling web of oil platforms in the middle of the Caspian Sea, commissioned by Stalin in 1949.
Imagine: 2,000 oil rigs, 300 kilometres of bridges, rusty old Soviet trucks rolling back and forth, nine-storey building blocks, thousands of oil workers, a cultural palace, a lemonade factory, a green park…
Sixty years on, the Oil Rocks still stand. But two-thirds of the infrastructure has been regained by the sea. A kind of Oil Atlantis, only real.
Combining black-and-white archives from the Soviet era and contemporary footage, the film tells the story of this timeless place and of some of its amazing inhabitants.
It is the first time a Western film crew is allowed to make a documentary on the site since its creation.

Doug Saunders: Arrival City

by vytasvulgaris

About nothing new-urban and rural relationship:  about often unnoticed and undervalued potentials of immigrant neighourhoods, social traps of  restrictive zoning  policies, planning and design. (Once again a great journalist appears to be an even greater urbanist. )

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