Monthly Archives: December 2010

What if?

### petapixel.com Dec 30, 2010
Polar Bears Hate Being Spied on by Hidden Cameras
By Michael Zhang
For the BBC documentary “Polar Bear: Spy on the Ice”, special hidden cameras were designed with unobtrusiveness and durability in mind. They didn’t succeed very well in either, as the polar bears quickly detected and destroyed the pesky cameras intruding on their privacy. What they did accomplish was capturing footage showing what it looks like to have polar bears perform CPR on you. Luckily they didn’t have real photographers crouching in those domes!

(via Gizmodo)

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We trust Dunedin City Council’s use of social media will convey as much curiosity and success in 2011. Happy New Year!!!

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Jim Harland

Dunedin’s rates, compared with other centres, were still at the lower end of the spectrum, and were only 3.3% of household income for a median residential household in the city.

### ODT Online Wed, 29 Dec 2010
Jim Harland: a man of myriad ventures
By David Loughrey
After more than a decade at the helm of the Dunedin City Council, chief executive Jim Harland is about to move on. He tells council reporter David Loughrey the projects completed in that time have made the city a better place, despite their cost.
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29.10.10 DCC Chief Executive resigns – timing is everything!

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Dunedin company iVisit develops free iPhone app

Mobile tourism information service

### ODT Online Wed, 29 Dec 2010
Are phones the new guidebooks?
By Hamish McNeilly
Guidebooks may be a thing of the past, thanks to an innovative Dunedin company which turns smartphones into a mobile tourism information service. Smartphone applications represented the most exciting possibilities for the fast moving tourism industry since the introduction of maps and guidebooks, AA Tourism online general manager Roger Slater said.

At the forefront of this technology was Dunedin company iVisit, which has spent nearly a year creating the smartphone application XplrNZ.

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Related Posts and Comments:
23.12.10 ODT on the “the phoenix of design and innovation”
12.11.10 FREE wireless internet in Dunedin …now that’s wicked!
12.11.10 WIC NZ Ltd announces Innovate 100 programme
11.10.10 The Distiller + WIC — Dunedin entrepreneurs
28.9.10 AugmentedReality @ Dunedin
25.8.10 New hotspot in Anzac Ave, Dunedin

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Geospatial analysis, relieving burdens on existing infrastructure

How do we design and build to accommodate changing economics, family sizes, and employee and student populations? How can we merge online technologies with physical architecture to more directly serve our real-time needs?

“The city is a dense network of relationships. The best way to provide infrastructure is to not go in with a meat ax but to practice urban acupuncture, finding thousands of different spots to go into.”
–Nicholas de Monchaux

### nytimes.com February 3, 2010, 6:45 pm
Opinionator
Space: It’s Still a Frontier
By Allison Arieff

Our beds are empty two-thirds of the time.
Our living rooms are empty seven-eighths of the time.
Our office buildings are empty one-half of the time.
It’s time we gave this some thought.

–R Buckminster Fuller

That quote is 40 years old, but I continue to be amazed by the extent to which we haven’t begun to address the problem Fuller highlighted. There’s a staggering glut of empty space around the country right now, unused space that’s not doing anyone much good. That in itself isn’t new; what is unprecedented is our ability to visualise that data in an entirely new ways.

The ability to use GIS (geographic information systems) to locate data spatially, for example, is one reason Barack Obama is president today. His campaign turned a database of voters and volunteers into a map and was able to strategise house by house about how to get those votes. More broadly, GIS allows us to literally view our place both globally and in a hyperlocal context.

That level of specificity, both at the micro and macro level, is helping revolutionise the way we think about, plan for and design the space we inhabit (or abandon). A visual map can show us patterns of overbuilding, abandonment, mis- (or lack of) use; it can teach us something about our current tendency to overbuild.

How can this now-instantaneous access to data add clarity to ingrained patterns, and perhaps allow us to change those patterns according to evolving needs and requirements?
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● Allison Arieff lectures and consults on media, design and sustainability, most recently for Urban Revision and IDEO. She lives in San Francisco.

Local Code’s quantifiable effects on energy usage and stormwater remediation eradicate the need for more expensive, yet invisible, sewer and electrical upgrades. In addition, the project uses citizen participation to conceive a new, more public infrastructure as well —a robust network of urban greenways with tangible benefits to the health and safety of every citizen.

nicholas.demonchaux.com
Nicholas de Monchaux is an architect, urbanist, writer, and Assistant Professor of Architecture & Urban Design at UC Berkeley.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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‘Demolition of the Paris Metro’ by sleepycity

[Excerpts] “On 20 April 1896 the project to construct an underground transportation system for the city of Paris began. Four short years later the Compagnie du chemin de fer métropolitain de Paris (CMP) opened their first line, running east-west from Porte Maillot–Porte de Vincennes. Not long after that the CMP was joined by the Société du chemin de fer électrique souterrain Nord-Sud de Paris (Nord-Sud) and between the two companies almost all of the 10 lines initially planned for Paris were built by 1920. Initially these lines served only the city of Paris (the snobby residents even went to far as to ensure the metro ran right hand side, to guarantee non-interoperability with the left hand side system in the suburbs) but in the 30’s – 50’s the suburbs were finally connected. Today Paris’ metro is still growing and changing through constant renovations, line extensions and currently the conversion of more lines to use the driverless robotrains like those of line 14…

Back in October 2007 sometime after midnight and before the first trains rolled into regular service, qx and I took our first timid steps onto the tracks of the Paris metro. With more nervousness and care than I’d like to admit we gingerly stepped down between the metal rails just off the end of a platform wondering what madness had possessed us to do so. We’d never done Metro like this before and this scary new world was full of elements we didn’t understand at all…

Before developing a deeper appreciation of the system we were drawn initially to the abandoned stations. Some of these seem totally abandoned and haven’t been reappropriated for other uses, some have become RATP storage and others, even more rare, were never even open to the public…”

Photo essay at sleepycity
Blog author: dsankt

Tweet name and profile: sleepycity @dsankt Europe
World wandering hobo with camera, seeking adventure involving: sewers, drains, metro, subway, bridges, mines, abandonments, industry, infrastructure.

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‘Light urbanism’ – planners influencing residential design

USA’s Builder magazine picks their 10 Residential Design Trends for 2011, which include smaller houses, green building, a farm-to-table influence in the kitchen, and a walkable, village feel.

### builderonline.com December 16, 2010
10 Design Trends for 2011
By Jenny Sullivan
[excerpt] “Village Vibe. The suburbs are starting to feel more like little cities as planners and developers find ways to weave density and walkability into existing hot spots. “Fewer large-scale development opportunities have shifted the emphasis to smaller infill projects,” AIA chief economist Kermit Baker wrote in a recent design trends report. But these new nodes of “light urbanism” aren’t replacing existing subdivisions; they are popping up between them and connecting the dots. Prime targets for infill redevelopment include big box parking lots, dead shopping centers, strip malls, and transit stations. “People who want an urban lifestyle but either do not want to live in a ‘big city’ or cannot afford to will look to live in the many suburban town centres that have been emerging,” Urban Land Institute senior resident fellow John McIlwain wrote in a recent white paper.”
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Layers: Preservation / Creativity / Tradition / Modernity / Ideologies

### nytimes.com December 26, 2010
Art & Design: Critic’s Notebook
Preserving Heritage, and the Fabric of Life, in Syria
By Nicolai Ouroussoff
ALEPPO, Syria — At first glance it seems an unremarkable scene: a quiet plaza shaded by date palms in the shadow of this city’s immense medieval Citadel, newly restored to its looming power. Foreign tourists sit side by side with people whose families have lived here for generations; women, both veiled and unveiled, walk arm in arm past a labourer hauling tools into an old government building being converted into a hotel.

But this quiet plaza is the centrepiece of one of the most far-thinking preservation projects in the Middle East, one that places as much importance on people as it does on the buildings they live in. The project encompasses the rebuilding of crumbling streets and the upgrading of city services, the restoration of hundreds of houses in the historic Old City, plans for a 42-acre park in one of the city’s poorest neighbourhoods and the near-decade-long restoration of the Citadel itself, whose massive walls dominate the skyline of Aleppo, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, and a gem of Islamic architecture.

[The real lessons that cities like Aleppo and Damascus can teach:] Their power is not just the beauty of historical layers. It is that the coexistence of those layers, often piled one on top of the other, embodies a world in which every generation — including ours — has the right to a voice and individual creativity triumphs over ideological difference. It is the point at which tradition and modernity are no longer in violent conflict.

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