urbanus vulgaris

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Category: urban economy

Die Zeit: New life on the Stalin Allee in Berlin

by jiookrednav

henselmann

“Berlin, this post-war rubble. Today it is mangy and sexy, cheap and showy, brash and noble. A city of contrasts, which is converting towards the most exciting city in Europe. The signs are everywhere. And especially in one particular street. A street whose history reflects the post-war history of Berlin.

The Karl -Marx -Allee begins near the TV tower at Alexanderplatz, extends nearly three kilometres to Friedrichshain and is wider than the Champs- Élysées with 90 meters. “The last great European boulevard built”, said the Italian architect Aldo Rossi about it.

Built as the Stalin Avenue in the early fifties in “Soviet-pastry-house style”, Germany’s first socialist main road should impress the rest of the world. The workers of the GDR should be awed and delighted. A few months later these workers lit the popular uprising of the 17th June 1953 on the Parkway . The Red Army had to help quell the launching revolution.

More than two decades after the street was renamed Karl -Marx -Allee, East Berliners again demonstrated on their boulevard, now for the fall of the wall. Then: the German unification, euphoria, disappointment, unemployment, the rediscovery and Gentrification of the avenue.

There are still people living here, who have experienced it all. And many newcomers. We have visited them. For the portrait of a road.”

Beautiful website by the influential German newspaper “Die Zeit” presenting the Karl-Marx-Allee in Berlin:

http://www.zeit.de/kultur/karl-marx-allee/index.html#prolog

Tip: Google Chrome offers automatic translation!

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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)

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).

SpontaneousInterventions: design actions for the common good

by vytasvulgaris

“SpontaneousInterventions: design actions for the common good is the theme of the U.S. Pavilion at the 13th International Venice Architecture Biennale (Fall 2012). In recent years, there has been a nascent movement of designers acting on their own initiative to solve problematic urban situations, creating new opportunities and amenities for the public. Provisional, improvisational, guerrilla, unsolicited, tactical, temporary, informal, DIY, unplanned, participatory, opensource—these are just a few of the words that have been used to describe this growing body of work.” http://www.spontaneousinterventions.org/about

Picture: http://www.envelopead.com/proj_octaviakl.html
http://www.spontaneousinterventions.org/project/proxy

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

 

The Pedal Project: Three Cycling Cities – From Dublin to London to Amsterdam

by vytasvulgaris

 

“When you picture a council junket you never see the fold up bike, the ferry and the cycle cafe. DCTV goes on a whirlwind (read cheap and quick – the way we all travel now) trip to look at models for European cycling along with the Dublin City Council cycling officer Ciaran Fallon. Along the way they meet bloggers and fashion designers and activists who all, incidentally, cycle bikes. We see how normal cycling is all across Europe.

The establishment of a cycling office in Dublin City Council is part of a visible commitment to cycling as a transport solution in our city. This programme gets inside not only what the cycling officer is dong but what he’s thinking, what he thinks Dublin can look like and what he’s basing some of this on.” http://vimeo.com/10095272

More Information Project:
dctv.ie/main/?p=1671

 

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

The iPod Index

by gailiute

Some interesting fact about cities/urbanisation/slums. Worth to know that cities started being ranked by iPod index :) (Ranking by burgers still valid, or not?)

Cities:

“The iPod index: An average wage-earner in New York City or Zurich, Switzerland can buy an 8 GB Apple iPod Nano after nine hours of work. In contrast, it takes an average wage-earner in Mumbai, India 177 hours – nearly a month’s salary – to buy the same iPod (CityMayors)”

“Most expensive: Luanda, Angola is the most expensive big city in the world, according to Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey for 2010. Tokyo, Japan and Ndjamena, Chad rank second. This year’s survey of the world’s most expensive cities includes ten from Africa (CityMayors)”

Urbanisation:

“The urban population of the world’s two poorest regions, South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, is expected to double over the next 20 years.”

“Rural-to-urban migration is just one of the three drivers of urbanisation, accounting for about 25 per cent of urban population growth. The other two factors are natural population increases and the reclassification of rural areas into urban ones (Commission of Growth and Development, 2009)”

(Source: The World Bank’s World Development Report 2009)

Slums:

“Slums are often economically vibrant: today, about 85 per cent of all new employment opportunities around the world occur in the informal economy.”

“There is one toilet for every 500 people in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya.”

(Source: UN-HABITAT State of the World’s Cities Report 2010-2011)

The Netherlands a Manufactured Landscape

by svoosten

Following the posts ‘Manufactured landscapes’ and ‘Who’s your neighbor’ I would like to recommend the series ‘Nederland van Boven’ by the VPRO, that captures impressive imagery of the Netherlands and combines it with attractive data visualizations. Providing insight in the daily though sometimes not ordinary ‘organisation’ of the urban, industrial and cultural landscapes of the Netherlands.

For those whomwere not already convinced, this series will make you understand that the title ‘manufactured landscape’ could also rightly be applied to the Netherlands, or at least to the Rotterdam Harbor, an exemplary case study when it comes to the man- made landscape.

http://nederlandvanboven.vpro.nl/afleveringen/handel-video.html

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