urbanus vulgaris

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Category: urban planning & design

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.

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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.

 

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.

A history of cities in 50 buildings

by gailiute

The Pruitt-Igoe public housing complex in St Louis, shortly after its completion in 1956. Photograph: Bettmann/Corbis

The Pruitt-Igoe public housing complex in St Louis, shortly after its completion in 1956. Photograph: Bettmann/Corbis

Few days ago I stumbled across very interesting series of articles. They explore our urban history through 50 buildings. Though didn’t read all of them yet, few already caught my attention quite successfully, like story about Pruitt-Igoe highrise or Aleppo citadel. So far so good.

Strongly recommend to read!

http://www.theguardian.com/cities/series/history-cities-50-buildings

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.

Cultivating complexity

by gailiute

Beautifully written and worth reading:

“We like to think of cities as human artifacts, but they behave like autonomous organisms, subject to growth and decay, health and renewal, that no single power is in control of. For that reason we rightly call them complex and self regulating entities. We should therefore seek to study them the way natural phenomena are studied. Laws of nature reveal themselves by patterns of change and gradual transformation. A similar approach yields knowledge about properties that are shared by all urban fabrics, large or small, historic or contemporary. Changes in an urban environment are caused by human agents in control of specific parts of it. To study this we do not need to know the agent’s identity, nor its intentions, hopes, and priorities, other than what we can deduct from transformations that we observe. The constants that govern the built environment can be learned by patient and detached observation, more or less in the way a person can learn the rules of the chess game by observing the movement of the pieces on the board. The chess game observer deducts two things: ” (J. Habraken, 2013)

Continue reading.

We really need some big institutional housing programs again. ;)

by jiookrednav

 

 

 

 

And as a dessert a Japanese Gem from the 80’ies:

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

by jiookrednav

 

E.Howard’s garden city vs. URBED’s garden city: spot the difference

by gailiute

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The Wolfson Prize, initiated in 2012, this year asked competitors to explore “the best delivery plan for a new garden city”. This years winning entry from British urban design consultancy URBED (Urbanism, Environment, Design) proposed to reenergise the Garden City (GC) movement, first conceived by Sir Ebenezer Howard in 1898.

“David Rudlin and Nicholas Falk’s submission argues that forty cities in England, including Northampton, Norwich, Oxford, Rugby, Reading and Stafford, could benefit from ‘GC status’. The award comes in the wake of polling conducted for the prize showing that 68% of the 6,166 Britons polled thought that  would protect more countryside than the alternatives for delivering the housing we need.” (quote from here).

If you read URBED’s proposal (can find it here) it seems that their are not really trying to re-invent a wheel, instead just merely adapt what was once written and drawn by E.Howard.

So my question that arose while checking this award and winning entry is this: why competition asks to revitalise Garden Cities idea? wasn’t it long ago rejected as romantic utopia?

As Richard Rogers, strong opponent to this movement points out: (this) “ridiculous concept” risks “emptying out existing cities and that is a ridiculous idea.” One of his arguments is that GC idea – the play toy of major political parties  in recent years, would bring benefit first and foremost to the developers, as greenfield is much easier and cheaper to develop in comparison to numerous brown-fields within existing cities and their centres. R.Rogers says ““We have 61,000 hectares of brownfield land in England and the government has approved half of it as potentially suitable for development. That would allow 1.3 million dwellings to be built even at a low density.” (You can read more here or full article here)

So again, even this one argument (not to mention revitalisation benefits of inner cities, cost for traveling from new suburban cities to city centres, benefits of existing social, spatial and economic tissue in the inner cities, etc) gives me a strong feeling that something becomes fundamentally wrong in UK if they want to revitalise GC idea.

 

Or do I miss something?

 

Strelka Talks. From welfare city to neoliberal utopia

by gailiute

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

New urbanism vs landscape urbanism

by gailiute

http://intermediatelandscapes.com/2011/07/14/urban-design-divide-new-urbanism-vs-landscape-urbanism/

Today I came across quite an interesting topic: new urbanism (though it is an new word for good old cities) versus landscape urbanism. I didn’t think these two approaches are confronting each other, yet it seems that in US “which one is better” can be quite an issue to debate.

Its nice short overview of this discussion complemented with a list of articles.

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