Summer Reading: “Walkable City” by Jeff Speck

Originally posted on Exploring Inequality:

What makes a house or apartment great has a lot to do with its location. In “Walkable City,” Jeff Speck writes that living in neighborhoods with mixed-use zoning—where all the different types of necessary businesses are close by—reduces carbon emissions far more than could any green gizmo. Not only are pedestrian-friendly areas good for the environment, but they also appeal to many Americans, including the “creative class” Millennials that many cities are trying to court. Speck argues that walking and bicycling don’t depend on climate, but on design; after all, brisk Minneapolis has been declared the best city in America for bikers. Walkable cities decrease obesity, car fatalities, and the stress caused by long driving commutes—and, according to Speck, they can be created anywhere.


Pictured: Not Atlanta

Many of Speck’s tips for making a city walkable match up with my own experience as a pedestrian in Atlanta. Curb-cuts—places where cars…

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Two awards for Venezuelans

Originally posted on {FAVEL issues}:

post by Silvia Soonets

I’m happy to report two awards recently won by Venezuelan architects. Both go to projects dealing with informal settlements and poverty.

PICO won the ASF-AWARD-2015 with their project  Spaces for Paece, that we discussed in a recent post. The award goes to inspiring projects, with the motto, Learning South of North. The award site is worth a visit, as it presents a variety of interesting projects.

Earlier this year, Ana Cristina Vargas won the Dubai International Award for Best Practices, for her project Tracing Public Space, in Mumbay.  The project was her MIT thesis.

She is now back in Venezuela, and is working in the application of her research in our “barrios”. Today we attended to a conference where Ana Cristina showed her interesting  and touching work. I’m not giving any details as she has promised a guest post for the next weeks. Meantime…

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“City Smell” Mappers Want Urban Planners to Use Their Noses

Originally posted on The Urban Sustainability Lab:

Jenn Stanley
Next City
June 8, 2015

This “smell map” of London shows emission odors in red and natural scents in green. (Credit: Daniele Quercia, Rossano Schifanella, Luca Maria Aiello, and Kate McLean)

There are many ways to map a city: a basic street map, a neighborhood breakdown, by demographics. Now, thanks to researchers from the academic and technology worlds (Yahoo), we have something a bit different: the smell map.

The authors of “Smelly Maps: The Digital Life of Urban Smellscapes” used their own noses, crowdsourcing and social media to create odor-centric maps of cities.

According to the Washington Post:

Smell is hard to record, analyze and depict visually. So to make these maps, the researchers first created what they call a “smell dictionary” with the help of volunteers around the world. They asked dozens of residents in seven cities in Europe and the U.S. — Amsterdam, Pamplona, Glasgow, Edinburgh…

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Barrio Rising: Urban Popular Politics & the Making of Modern Venezuela

Originally posted on Deterritorial Investigations Unit:

“In the mid-1950s, Venezuela’s military government razed a massive slum settlement in the heart of Carácas and replaced it with what was at the time one of Latin America’s largest public housing projects. When the dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez was overthrown on January 23, 1958, however, thousands of people rushed to occupy the uninhabited portions of the project, taking it over and renaming the resulting neighborhood for the date of the fall of the regime: the 23 de Enero. The neighborhood that emerged stood at the geographic and in some cases political center of Venezuela’s transition to democracy over the decades that followed. This unruly, often contradictory transition is detailed by Alejandro Velasco, Assistant Professor at the Gallatin School at New York University. The book traces how the residents of the 23 de Enero came to fashion an expansive understanding of democracy–both radical and electoral–from the late 1950s to the…

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Performative Histori-city, Part II/III

Originally posted on PAUST:

Author: Aliki Kylika

This text discusses the importance of collective memory within public space. The notion of ‘performative space’ is introduced, as one that evokes memory and emotion and provides ground for action or contains profound traces of past action. It is argued that radical art practices and performances in urban space contribute importantly to the preservation of the collective spirit and identity of space.
It has been previously published in the student journal ‘Jaws’ June 2013 issue #2 pp.82-89.

“We can understand how we recapture the past only by understanding how it is, in effect, preserved by our physical surroundings. It is to space – the space we occupy, traverse, have continual access to, or can at any time reconstruct in thought and imagination – that we must turn our attention. Our thought must focus on it if this or that category of remembrances is to reappear. […]the image…

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US Artist Kyle Holbrook Hits London

Originally posted on London Calling Blog:

Last week London was treated to a visit from Pittsburgh born, Miami based, Street Artist Kyle Holbrook, who laid some three works, with two around the East End and one in Camden Town. All three works are laid out in Kyle Holbrook’s distinctive purple, white and yellow colour scheme and painted entirely by brush.


The first work from Kyle Holbrook, laid out at a Paint Jam put on by Hidden Streets Of London in Paradise Row 2 weekends back. The scene painted by Kyle Holbrook is superb in choice, choosing to paint the Paint Jam around him.


Kyle Holbrook’s second London work, this time laid on in Camden Town with support from The Real Art of Street Art. On this occasion going with a piece inspired by the manufactured influences in people’s lives today.








Kyle Holbrook’s final addition to London’s streets, this time as part of a collaboration with Himbad…

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“I find it soothing, the thought of a movie theater”*…

Originally posted on (Roughly) Daily:

Saubine Haubitz and Stefanie Zoche are intrepid photographers of thought-provoking things.  Here, they discuss their series on movie theaters in India…

In three journeys between 2010 and 2013 we have photographed movie theatres from the ‘Thirties to the ‘Seventies in South India. The photos of these buildings give eloquent testimony to the rich cinematic culture of those times. We are particularly interested in the culturally influenced reinterpretation of modern building style apparent in the architectural style, which displays an unusual mixture of Modernism, local architectural elements, a strong use of colour and, in the case of some older cinema halls, of Art Deco…

Many movie theatres in South India are left in their original state. Nonetheless, remodelling into multiplex cinemas is already underway, in particular in major cities, and will result in these buildings’ disappearance as witnesses to their times. The photographs document a part of cinema culture that has…

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