11.16.2007

WEEKEND READING: November 10-November 16, 2007 (Guest Post by Colin Kloecker)

Hi, I'm Colin and I usually cover the intersection of humanitarian issues, sustainability, and the built environment over at Blog Like You Give A Damn. But this month you'll find me here, curating Where's Weekend Reading segment. Five Items of interest for you this week.

ITEM ONE: I've been saying it for years: Skyways suck the vitality out of our city streets, "we should tear them all down". Living in Minneapolis/St. Paul I often get blank or bewildered stares when I tell people this (which I probably do far too often), but I feel my argument has been bolstered now that top urban designers Jan Gehl and Gil Penalosa have come out and expressed a similar sentiment.

ITEM TWO: Time-travel ALL the way back to September 29th, 2007 when nearly 100 teams from 70 different cities around the world participated in "Snap-Shot-City" and photographed a day in the life of their urban environs. Billed as an "urban photographic treasure hunt", the resulting photos are a wonderful celebration of city life. The CityDwellers team from London gets credit for the photo this week.

ITEM THREE: Is Jean Nouvel designing the most exciting Skyscraper to hit New York City since the early 20th century? This blogger thinks so. Straight out of a Hugh Ferris painting, 53W53rd is a thing of beauty. NYT article here.

ITEM FOUR: The Dharavi district (an urban mega-slum with over 1 million inhabitants) of Mumbai, India is getting "rehabilitated". So how much space will current inhabitants get out of the deal? Each of the 57,000 families are allotted a meager 225 square feet, no more and no less. Social Design Practice Blog has more, including an interesting memo from Matias Echanove suggesting that the city use Tokyo's revitalization after WWII as an alternative development model - see airoots for more on that. (Thanks Matias!)

ITEM FIVE: 250 Million Urban Planners! Planetizen reports that the $200 XO-1 laptop (the first model designed for the One Laptop Per Child program) will come packaged with Will Wright's 1989 classic planning game Sim City. OLPC plans on getting the laptop into the hands of 250 million poor children around the world by 2012. Want one too? You only have 11 more days.

Until next week, Happy Friday!

2 comments:

Matias said...

Just a short comment about Item 4. The city of Mumbai is not at all using the Tokyo's urban development as a model for Dharavi (although that would be really cool). The memo that Social Design Practice Blog is referring to is a suggestion to the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) by independent researchers (i.e.: airoots). In truth the city is only interested in making money selling the land on which hundreds of thousands scheduled cast people are living. There is no vision at all for incremental development and retrofitting. Also there is no recent population census but the estimations are usually hugely inflated. The whole area is only 223 hectares. Even with half a million people it would be by far the highest density levels in the world (and it is all low-rise).

Colin said...

Oops, I should have read that more carefully. I'll update the post to reflect your clarification. Thanks Matias!