urbanus vulgaris

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

Category: urban contradictions

Compare an ideal of the sixties to an ideal of today….. I recommend the tiny house at 27:30 in Manhattan.

by jiookrednav

 

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!

 

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. )

Jeremy Rifkin: A New Era of Capitalism

by vytasvulgaris

Jeremy Rifkin about the current global development trends and “the third  industrial revolution”. About the emerging new political order, about the new generations of social entrepreneurs, about survival of human race etc.

Some more of Rifkin’s quite fascinating anthropological concept – Empathic Civilization (RSA Animate)

An Englishman’s Home is his Castle

by gailiute

Collaboration with Tim Brunsden looking at how Urban Regeneration affects the lives of the people it is supposed to help.

Urban Regeneration is about the people, not about the buildings, however this example proves it different.

I cannot find exact video where Liverpool Vision is explained on these specific sites, supposedly located in Merseyside, Liverpool but here is one of many show-offs on grand regeneration of the city.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ey4UGkT8Jg]

Bonnington Square

by vytasvulgaris

 

A docummentary film directed by Alistair Oldham

“Bonnington Square is right in the heart of London, just two minutes walk from the river and just ten minutes from the Houses of Parliament. In the early eighties the one hundred houses of the Square were all squatted, forming a bohemian community from all around the world.The squat had two community gardens, a cafe, a wholefood shop, a nightclub, a newsletter and even a milkbar. Although it is no longer squatted, there are still many low rent housing cooperatives, and the cafe and the gardens are still collectively run, and the Square is now a model of a modern sustainable urban community” (http://vimeo.com/36595608).

New park in Copenhagen

by gailiute

‘Superkilen’ is a kilometer long park situated through the Nørrebro area just north of Copenhagen’s city center, considered one of the most ethnically diverse and socially challenged neighborhoods. The design pulls on themes and references that connect to the more than 60 nationalities in the area.

Here are some images/renderings of the park:

 

I would like to know what do you think about it? Good? Nice? Beautiful? Smart? Over-designed? Inappropriate? Stupid? Clumsy? Hectic? What else?

More pictures here.

 

Detroit: Requiem for the City on the Move

by vytasvulgaris

Michigan Theatre (now parking garage), Detroit. Photography by Sean Doerr

Here is a great story of Detroit revealing itself through two wonderful films. The first one is “Requiem for Detroit?”, a 2010 BBC Two documentary by Julien Temple. The second one is  “Detroit: City on the Move”, a  1965 promo film narrated by then-mayor Jerome P. Cavanaugh.  The promo film could be a perfect intro into this tragically fascinating story, however, to make it even more grotesque my suggestion is to watch it in non-chronological order, so first Requiem for Detroit, then Detroit: City on the Move. Enjoy!

video link a: “Requiem for Detroit?” (2010)

“Julien Temple’s new film is a vivid evocation of an apocalyptic vision: a slow-motion Katrina that has had many more victims. Detroit was once America’s fourth largest city. Built by the car for the car, with its groundbreaking suburbs, freeways and shopping centres, it was the embodiment of the American dream. But its intense race riots brought the army into the city. With violent union struggles against the fierce resistance of Henry Ford and the Big Three, it was also the scene of American nightmares. Now it is truly a dystopic post-industrial city, in which 40 per cent of the land in the centre is returning to prairie. Greenery grows up through abandoned office blocks, houses and collapsing car plants, and swallows up street lights. Police stations and post offices have been left with papers on the desks like the Marie Celeste. There is no more rush hour on what were the first freeways in America. Crime, vandalism, arson and dog fighting are the main activities in once the largest building in North America. But it’s also a source of hope. Streets are being turned to art. Farming is coming back to the centre of the city. Young people are flocking to help. The burgeoning urban agricultural movement is the fastest growing movement in the US. Detroit leads the way again but in a very different direction.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00rkm3y

 

How the Dutch got their cycle paths

by vytasvulgaris

 

Brief and sharp documentary which brings  through the Dutch cycling history of the last century within 6 min. With numbers, facts and simple  analysis that gives summarized and clear answer.

http://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2011/10/20/how-the-dutch-got-their-cycling-infrastructure/

China’s Ghost Cities (documentary by SBS Dateline)

by vytasvulgaris

 

“Vast new cities of apartments and shops are being built across China at a rate of ten a year, but they remain almost completely uninhabited ghost towns.  It’s all part of the government’s  efforts to keep the economy booming, and there are many people who would love to move in, but it’s simply too expensive for most. Video journalist Adrian Brown wanders through malls of vacant shops, and roads lined with empty apartment buildings… 64 million apartments are said to be empty across the country and one of the few shop owners says he once didn’t sell anything for four or five days ” (http://www.sbs.com.au/dateline/story/about/id/601007/n/China-s-Ghost-Cities,   20 04 2011).

Zhengzhou New District, Henan

South China Mall, Dongguan

Ordos, Inner Mongolia

Erenhot, Xilin Gol, Inner Mongolia

Dantu, Zhenjiang, Jiangsu

Yunan University Campus, Yunnan, Changgong

http://www.sbs.com.au/dateline/story/related/aid/371/id/601007/n/China-s-Ghost-Cities

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