Cities within Cities

Originally posted on 8late:

“… as the philosophers maintain, the city is like a large house, and the house is in turn like some small city…”
– Leon Battista Alberti

The Lost Places Forum series continued this week with an architectural debate entitled ‘Cities within Cities’, held in the exceptional interior of Bath Abbey’s north aisle. Four Architects were invited to talk about their work, ranging from the professional to the academic, to the personal obsession, and their varied interrogations of the cities that surround and shelter us.

Cities within Cities – Fergus Connolly

Fergus Connolly introduced the themes of the evening and shared excerpts from his sketchbooks, recounting a very personal journey uncovering the universal parallels that exist between architecture at all scales; identifying the urban proportions that can govern the furnishing of a drawing room, as well as the lessons that city masterplanning can learn from the composition of ornaments on a…

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New Otto Schade Works In The East End

Originally posted on londoncallingblog.net:

Following the three pieces Otto Schade put up in London over the last month, he has put up a further three and repaired a damaged one also. Placing his works over previous pieces of his, at this stage defaced to varying degrees, he manages to maintain the same familiar locations yet keep his works fresh. On Old Street he placed this piece based on Breaking Bad character Heisenberg, replacing his previous work of Barack Obama. Opposite this he reworked a piece of his that had been vandalized. Finally on Hackney Road he replaced his piece depicting the Evolution of man going off a cliff face, with his new piece ‘Senseless‘, also produced in Camden Town. Great turnover by the artist and great new pieces.

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‘Heisenberg’ on Old Street.

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‘Scissors, Paper, Rock’ on Old Street.

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‘Senseless’ on Hackney Road.

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Guy Debord exhibition in UCC and Psychogeography in Ciaran Carson’s Poetry.

Originally posted on Ireland - Text and Screen:

           Guy Debord, 1953

UCC library currently features on exhibition on Guy Debord, “a visionary and artist who saw the future, the future where we now live – a world of mass media and the narcissistic menace of a global obsession with the image.” The title of the exhibition, ‘Diagrams of Revolution’ greets the visitor upon entry, with Debord’s dates nearby, 1931-1994. He is declared a “cultural, political critic, radical theoretician, filmmaker and provocateur”.

Debord’s main work was to counter what he saw as “the deadening hand of consumerism”. In order to do this, he saw the need for play, for urban wanderings, experimental life–styles, détournement and getting lost within the space of the city. A number of theories spring up from this, detailed below.

Debord’s concepts:

  • Détournement will abandon old ideas and re-appropriate them.
  • The dérive goes where it will, responding to psychological states.
  • The

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The Deal

Originally posted on RICHARD J WILLIAMS:

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What you’re looking at is one of the towers of Lasalle College, a small private art school in central Singapore. Built in 2007 to a design by RSP, it was extensively funded by the Singaporean government who have been enthusiastic promotors of all things ‘creative’ since the early 2000s. Of all the things I saw in Singapore last week, this was perhaps the most thought-provoking, less for the architecture (which is undeniably spectacular) than for the attitude that it embodies. It makes a simple deal: accept that the arts are in the service of the national project, and they will be funded with an inconceivable generosity.

The deal is legible enough in the window vinyls, the words ‘excellence’, ‘spectacle’ and ‘critique’ screaming out the message. For many UK humanities academics, this kind of of sloganising is simply grotesque: aren’t these words supposed to be a means of interrogating the very things they…

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Intervention – “Future Shock” by Andy Merrifield

Originally posted on AntipodeFoundation.org:

Andy MerrifieldAndy Merrifield, Fellow, Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge

Speculating on the future, especially on the political future—and especially especially on a Left political future—is something you get slammed for these days; “they” tell you you’re writing fiction, particularly if your future threatens the status quo. (Check out Austin Williams’ recent review in the Architectural Review of my The New Urban Question.) On the other hand, if your future can be absorbed within the status quo, or else puts a different spin on that status quo, your future is realistic, permissible not dismissible: technocratic futures are okay, as are big futuristic master plans that involve lots of high-tech urban design stuff—lots of corporate high-tech urban design stuff—ones endorsed by some billionaire and administered by a patented scientific corporation. The reasons behind this are of course intellectual and political, particularly when ideology and politics underwrites commercial economics.

Contemporary academia…

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Cairo’s Metropolitan Landscape: Segregation Extreme

Originally posted on Cairo from Below القاهرة من الأساس:

The following is an excerpt from Abdelbaseer Mohamed’s “Cairo’s Metropolitan Landscape: Segregation Extreme” article. Follow the link below the text for the full article.

The urban growth patterns of the Cairo metropolitan area reveal a fragmented city of heterogeneous parts. As an urbanist and Cairo native I tend to see the city as a series of small islands isolated from one another by strong physical barriers. Walls, highways, flyovers, military sites, abandoned waterfronts, parking lots and vacant lands all contribute to a city that is characterised by a fundamental lack of cohesion. What is more, there is no public realm that accommodates different communities. Rather, each social group is confined to a separate enclave.

Spatial accessibility map for the urban agglomeration within the Ring RD. Red means integrated and accessible, while blue is segregated. Spatial accessibility map for the urban agglomeration within the Ring RD. Red means integrated and accessible, while blue is segregated.

A long History of Urban Segregation

Urban segregation has been a continual feature of Cairo’s history…

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Toward a Simple and Universal Law of Pedestrian Behavior

Originally posted on The Urban Sustainability Lab:

City Lab
Eric Jaffe March 3, 2015

Our sidewalk interactions are “fundamentally anticipatory in nature,” according to scientists.

Toward a Simple and Universal Law of Pedestrian Behavior

Big city sidewalks can feel like an inexplicable dance of elbows and shopping bags and baby strollers and pigeons and texting. But agroup of crowd scientists has whittled the chaos to its core and found that, far from unpredictable, foot traffic follows a mathematical formula elegant for its simplicity. From Shibuya Crossing to Times Square we’re all performing invisible calculus: computing other people’s speeds and trajectories and adjusting our own accordingly.

Or something like that. In a recently published paper, to be presented this week at a conference, a research team led by computer scientistIoannis Karamouzas of the University of Minnesota propose “a simple and universal law governing pedestrian behavior.” The law suggests our sidewalk interactions are “fundamentally anticipatory in nature”—meaning all those fellow walkers that seem oblivious…

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