Tag Archives: Cities

When Life as we know it erupts into Scale, Manufacturing and Transit

Productivity is a measure of how efficiently production inputs are being used within the economy to produce output. Growth in productivity is a key determinant in improving a nation’s long-term material standard of living. —Statistics NZ ….[yawn]

Since March 2006, Statistics NZ has produced a yearly release of official measures of annual productivity for the measured sector. These measures are vital to better understanding improvements in New Zealand’s living standards, economic performance, and international competitiveness over the long term. Productivity is often defined as a ratio between economic output and the inputs, such as labour and capital, which go into producing that output.

Productivity Statistics – information releases ….[ZzzZzzzz…………..]

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Viddsee Published on May 18, 2016
Changing Batteries – A Robot “Son” Couldn’t Replace The Emptiness In Her Heart // Viddsee.com
‘Changing Batteries’ is a final year animation production made in Multimedia University, Cyberjaya, Malaysia. The story tells of an old lady who lives alone and receives a robot one day. Based on the theme ‘Change’, our story tells about their relationship development with one another through time.

Viddsee Published on Feb 23, 2016
Alarm – Relatable Animation For The Mornings // Viddsee.com
The story is about a salaryman living in a single apartment. But he has a problem getting up early in the morning. He would rather die than wake up early. He decides to set many alarm clocks everywhere in his apartment so he can get to work on time. The next morning, after struggling with his alarm clocks, he barely finishes preparing for work.

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WIRED UK Published on Jul 5, 2016
Shenzhen: The Silicon Valley of Hardware (Full Documentary) | Future Cities | WIRED
Future Cities, a full-length documentary strand from WIRED Video, takes us inside the bustling Chinese city of Shenzhen. We examine the unique manufacturing ecosystem that has emerged, gaining access to the world’s leading hardware-prototyping culture whilst challenging misconceptions from the west. The film looks at how the evolution of “Shanzhai” – or copycat manufacturing – has transformed traditional models of business, distribution and innovation, and asks what the rest of the world can learn from this so-called “Silicon Valley of hardware”. Directed by: Jim Demuth

Future Cities is part of a new flagship documentary strand from WIRED Video that explores the technologies, trends and ideas that are changing our world.

BBC aired the documentary in November, with the following descriptor:

Best Documentary 2016 Shenzhen: The Silicon Valley of Hardware gives us an insider’s perspective on a system of creative collaboration that ultimately informs all of our lives.

The centre of the technology world may not lie in California’s Silicon Valley, but in the bustling marketplace of Huaqiangbei, a subdistrict of Shenzhen in China. This is where curious consumers and industry insiders gather to feast their eyes and wallets on the latest software, hardware, gadgetry, and assorted electronic goods. At the very start the film sets the scene to this fascinating technology mecca. A city populated by 20 million people, Shenzhen is the setting where advancement is most likely to originate at speeds that can’t be replicated in the States. The city’s vibrant and inventive tech work force takes over when the innovations of Silicon Valley become stagnant. The revolution may have started in the States, but its evolution is occurring in China. Working in collaboration, Shenzhen labourers craft unique upgrades and modifications to everything from laptops to cell phones. Their efforts then immigrate and influence the adoption of new products in other regions of the world. The infrastructure by which this is made possible is known as the ‘Maker movement’. In developer conferences and Maker exhibition fairs, tech geeks are encouraged to share their ideas freely with colleagues in the hopes that more open collaborations will form grander innovations. The film highlights how these attitudes stand in sharp contrast to the Western world where communications are secretive, monopolies are the norm and proprietorship is sacred. However, there are challenges faced by Shenzhen in maintaining their edge in the industry. While widely acknowledged as pioneers, Shenzhen’s prominence has faltered as the remainder of China has proven successful in their attempts to catch up. Adding to the frustrations, the government has interceded and moved manufacturing bases outside of the city. Meanwhile, figures from the world of investment financing have moved into the equation, and threatened to stifle creativity by imposing a more closed and impenetrable mode of operations.

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### dailymail.co.uk 30 Oct 2013
Ever wondered how everything you buy from China gets here? Welcome to the port of Shanghai – the size of 470 football pitches
By Daily Mail Reporter
Whether it’s the car you drove to work in, the computer at your desk or your children’s toys strewn across their bedroom floor, there’s a very good chance they have come from here. This is the world’s busiest trading port which handles a staggering 32million containers a year carrying 736million tonnes of goods to far-flung places around the globe. Stretching as far as the eye can see, rows upon rows of containers lie stacked up at the Port of Shanghai waiting to be shipped abroad and bringing in trillions of pounds to the Chinese economy in the process. It’s this fearsome capacity that has helped China become the world’s largest trading nation when it leapfrogged the United States last year.
The port has an area of 3.94 square kilometres – the equivalent of 470 football pitches. China’s breakneck growth rate in recent years has been driven by exports and manufacturing as well as government spending on infrastructure. In the last eight years alone, capacity at the Port of Shanghai has ballooned from 14million TEUs (a unit which is roughly the volume of a 20ft-long container) in 2004 to more than 32million last year. The rapid expansion was largely thanks to the construction of the Yangshan Deepwater Port, which opened in 2005 and can handle the world’s largest container vessels. That port alone can now shift around 12million containers a year.
Shanghai’s location at the mouth of the Yangtze River made it a key area of development for coastal trade during the Qing dynasty from 1644 to 1912. In 1842, Shanghai became a treaty port, which opened it up to foreign trade, and by the early 20th Century it became the largest in the Far East. Trade became stifled after 1949, however, when the economic policies of the People’s Republic crippled infrastructure and development. But after economic reforms in 1991, the port was able to expand exponentially.
Read more

shanghai-yangshan-port-01-topchinatravel-comdonghai-bridge-1-topchinatravel-comyangshan-deepwater-port-meretmarine-comyangshan-deepwater-port-embed-lyyangshan-deepwater-port-via-reddit-com

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David Carrier Published on Jan 13, 2017
World’s Biggest and Busiest Port Ever Made – Full Documentary
The Yangshan Deepwater Port is connected to the mainland by the Donghai Bridge, the world’s longest sea bridge.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

*Images: (from top) Shanghai Map – topchinatravel.com, Donghai Bridge – topchinatravel.com, Yangshan Deepwater Port – meretmarine.com, embed.ly, reddit-com

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time to go home —girls’ own pl.

aware and active c.2000
aware and active c. 2000 EJ Kerr notebooks 1995-96[click to enlarge]

*from my notebooks 1995/6

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21.4.13 Architecture + Women • New Zealand

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PROFOUND #AvoidMegaStructuresForHappyCities

Link received Tue, 21 Apr 2015 at 6:45 p.m.

### Stuff.co.nz Last updated 17:09, April 21 2015
Christchurch Convention Centre location a ‘mistake’
By Lois Cairns
Putting a convention centre in the middle of Christchurch’s city centre is a mistake, Canadian urban experimentalist Charles Montgomery says.
“If your interest is in creating rich, social, connected environments in your core you should be very wary of plans to drop mega structures into that fabric. Convention centres are notorious, because of their architectural requirements, for killing street life around their edges,” Montgomery said.
“We need to be very wary of renderings of mega structures like convention centres that are filled with cartoon people because frequently those cartoon people don’t actually appear after the structures are built.”
Read more

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Charles Montgomery on Q+A TVI 12.4.15 - ONE NEWS [tvnz.co.nz] [screenshot]

TV1 Q + A 10:36AM Sunday April 12, 2015
The key to a happier life is in the design of our cities.
█ Video: Why sprawling, car dependent cities are making us miserable? Charles Montgomery (10:34)

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Hamilton is here, DUD

Link received from Hype O’Thermia
Sat, 4 Apr 2015 at 10:20 a.m.

█ Message: Local shop owners blame lack of free parking and rising costs for “demise” of Hamilton’s CBD.

WaikatoTimes - Hamilton CBD 1

The Central Business District of Hamilton is looking a little gloomy, with for lease signs up in many shop windows.

### Stuff.co.nz Last updated 05:00, April 4 2015
Hamilton central-city retail space sits empty
By Rachel Thomas and Nancy El-Gamel
Twenty per cent of ground level central Hamilton retail space is empty. Local shop owners are blaming lack of free parking and rising costs, while business leaders are pointing fingers at absentee landlords, sub-standard buildings and an inability to compete with lower rents at The Base.

The Base is New Zealand’s largest shopping Centre based in Te Rapa, 7 km North of Hamilton CBD.

To quantify what the average shopper sees [in the CBD], the Waikato Times counted all ground floor premises in the block within Hood St, Victoria St, Angelsea St and Liverpool St, finding that of 524 premises, the 104 empty ones outnumbered the 67 locally owned and operated stores in the area. […] Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker acknowledged the CBD needed desperate attention, and said council was taking a “holistic approach” to the problem. […] “For the city centre to be successful it must be commercially and economically successful and over the last few decades most reports have focused on physical changes, so we have started with an economic analysis and looked at the trend since 2001 in terms of the economy.
Read more + Video

WaikatoTimes - Hamilton CBD 3WaikatoTimes - Hamilton CBD 2

Read comments to the article.
How many other places – like Dunedin – mirror Hamilton ?

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Images: Waikato Times/Stuff – Hamilton CBD [screenshots from video]

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Pollution in Chinese cities

China pollution dnews-files-2013 [ddmcdn.com]City pollution [ddmcdn.com]

### stuff.co.nz Last updated 12:20, March 7 2015
Film highlighting pollution woes vanishes from China’s Internet
By Dian Zhang
A 104-minute film lecture that outlines the serious pollution in China has been removed from the nation’s internet, after receiving millions of views and raising hopes that the country’s leadership might tackle China’s widespread smog problem. The film – by Chai Jing, one of the best-known journalists in China and a well-known former state television reporter – was released right before China’s two most important political events, the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. Before the movie was censored, a story from Xinhua News Agency, China’s official press agency, praising the film was deleted online the same night the article was posted, offering a hint of the government’s real attitude.

Released last Saturday, Under the Dome had received 42.9 million views on Youku, a video-sharing website like YouTube, by 5 pm Thursday (local time). It prompted 530,460 posts on Weibo.

In the film, Chai gives a speech and shows data and interviews with government officials and environmental experts from China and abroad. The film shows striking images of the extent of air pollution in a number of Chinese cities, as well as rivers fouled by chemicals and littered with flotsam and dead fish. Chai also travelled to Los Angeles and London to gauge their experiences dealing with smog.
Read more

█ Chai Jing’s documentary is well worth watching. Preamble via CNN.

CNN Published on Mar 3, 2015
China smog documentary goes viral
Director of China Environment Forum Jennifer Turner discusses a new documentary titled “Under the Dome” that discusses pollution in China.

Linghein Ho Published on Mar 1, 2015
Chai Jing’s review: Under the Dome – Investigating China’s Smog 柴静雾霾调查:穹顶之下 (full translation)
ENGLISH SUBTITLES ARE FULLY TRANSLATED
For more information: http://www.linghein.me/tr_u/
English Subtitles: FULLY UPDATED | Japanese Subtitles: update to 09:25 | French Subtitles: update to 31:06
Former celebrity TV anchor Chai Jing quit her job after her baby daughter was born with a lung tumor, and after a year of rigorous investigation, launched this 1 hour 40 minute documentary about China’s smog: what is smog? Where does it come from? What do we do from here? It is very powerful in many ways. English subtitles are now completely finished, and other languages are being added.
Music: “Brotherhood” by John Dreamer (Google Play • iTunes)

[click to enlarge]
18kx19av6svsagif3 photo comparatives (*gif) taken by NASA’s Aqua satellite via gizmodo.com

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23.3.13 Chongqing, Southwest China

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Charles Jencks —extreme emotion and neutrality

Dalian International Conference Centre, China 4

►► Jencks excerpts [click to enlarge or ctrl +]

Jencks, Charles - Architecture Becomes Music. Essay 6 May 2013 - Architectural Review 1

Jencks - Architecture Becomes Music. 6 May 2013 - Architectural Review 2b

Ed Sheeran Published on Oct 7, 2014
Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud [Official Video]
Here’s my official video for ‘Thinking Out Loud’, I learnt to dance! Taken from my album ‘x’, available to buy via iTunes here: http://smarturl.it/x-itunesdlx

Jencks - Architecture Becomes Music. 6 May 2013 - Architectural Review 3a

TaylorSwiftVEVO Published on Nov 10, 2014
Taylor Swift – Blank Space
Watch Taylor’s new video for “Blank Space”. No animals, trees, automobiles or actors were harmed in the making of this video. Taylor’s new release 1989 is Available Now on iTunes http://www.smarturl.it/TS1989

Dalian International Conference Centre, China 9

Coop Himmelb(l)au, Dalian Conference Center, China, 2008-12.
A continuously changing surface that rises and falls and bulges in the middle to include a theatre and opera house. Organised like block chords of music that open up and close, it is reminiscent of both Wagnerian chromaticism and the tonal melding of Philip Glass and John Adams.

Jencks - Architecture Becomes Music. 6 May 2013 - Architectural Review 4a

http://www.coop-himmelblau.at/architecture/projects/dalian-international-conference-center

Dalian International Conference Centre, China 3Dalian International Conference Centre, ChinaDalian International Conference Centre, China 2Dalian International Conference Centre, China 7Dalian International Conference Centre, China 6Dalian International Conference Centre, China 5Dalian International Conference Centre, China 8Images: Coop Himmelb(l)au —Wolf D. Prix and Partner ZT GmbH

█ More at Google Images

█ Download: Charles Jencks – Architecture Becomes Music | The Architectural Review 6 May 2013 via academia.edu [research]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Warehouse conversions | Apartment interiors #materials #light #colour

Loft-Barcelona-01 [homedsgn.com]

Warehouse Converted to Modern Loft
This 8,600 square-foot loft was completed and renovated by developers and designers of urban lofts Benito Escat and Alberto Rovira; the designers teamed up with interior design studio Minim for this ambitious project. What was once stables (built in 1930), a bomb shelter and then a print shop is now a modern loft located in Barcelona, Spain. The original brick walls are exposed, and the high concrete ceilings make the space truly magnificent. Glass lights set in the floor reveal the bearing structure and provide light to the level below.

More photos at http://www.iintrepidinc.com/lifeinstyle/2011/9/29/a-rustic-modern-loft-warehouse-conversion-barcelona.html

Russian architect Denis Krasikovis created this eclectic apartment in Murmansk, Russia.

001-murmansk-apartment-denis-krasikov [homeadore.com]004-murmansk-apartment-denis-krasikov [homeadore.com]008-murmansk-apartment-denis-krasikov [homeadore.com]002-murmansk-apartment-denis-krasikov [designyoutrust.com]011-murmansk-apartment-denis-krasikov [homeadore.com]

More photos at http://www.homeadore.com/2014/12/09/murmansk-apartment-denis-krasikov/

In 2014, Vertebrae Architecture designed this tiny 330 square feet apartment in Venice, California. Full height hidden storage delineates space and provides visual and acoustic privacy. The minimal material palette minimizes distraction and maximizes the spatial quality of the apartment.

001-micro-apartment-vertebrae-architecture [homeadore.com]004-micro-apartment-vertebrae-architecture [designyoutrust.com]006-micro-apartment-vertebrae-architecture [homeadore.com]007-micro-apartment-vertebrae-architecture [designyoutrust.com]

More images at http://www.homeadore.com/2014/12/08/micro-apartment-vertebrae-architecture/

Rad Design fully demolished and redesigned the interior of this loft in Toronto, Canada. Custom shelving and displays show off the client’s antique camera collection and books on photography. The client had requested use of reclaimed wood materials and simple, metal elements. A small black platform makes the low bed float slightly above the floor. The bright new kitchen and bathroom add modern touches.

001-photo-loft-rad-design [homeadore.com]004-photo-loft-rad-design [homeadore.com]003-photo-loft-rad-design [homeadore.com]006-photo-loft-rad-design [homeadore.com]005-photo-loft-rad-design [homeadore.com]008-photo-loft-rad-design [homeadore.com]009-photo-loft-rad-design [homeadore.com] 1

More images at http://www.homeadore.com/2014/11/04/photo-loft-rad-design/

Warehouse in San Francisco Converted into Contemporary Loft
This project located in the historic Oriental Warehouse Loft Building in San Francisco’s South Beach neighbourhood, is a complete reconfiguration and renovation of an existing loft apartment. In order to maximize the spatial experience of the loft, traditional notions of domestic privacy were abandoned in favour of open and transparent relationships. Here is more on the renovation process from the architects: “Opaque guardrails at the sleeping mezzanine were replaced with frameless glass guardrails in order to provide a direct visual connection to the living room below. A large over-sized sheet of transparent glass further eliminates privacy in the master bathroom by allowing views into and out of the bathroom to the rest of the loft beyond. In contrast to the existing heavy-timber and rusticated brick structural shell which are left exposed, sleek new interior finishes were replaced throughout including wall and floor finishes, kitchen and bathroom mill work and a new steel cantilever stair that connects the living areas on the ground floor with the sleeping areas on the mezzanine.”

Oriental Warehouse Loft exterior [freshome.com]Oriental Warehouse Loft 2a Edmonds + Lee Architects [edmondslee.com]Oriental Warehouse Loft 4a Edmonds + Lee Architects [edmondslee.com]Oriental Warehouse Loft 6a Edmonds + Lee Architects [edmondslee.com]Oriental Warehouse Loft 8a Edmonds + Lee Architects [edmondslee.com]Oriental Warehouse Loft 13a Edmonds + Lee Architects [edmondslee.com]Oriental Warehouse Loft 7a Edmonds + Lee Architects [edmondslee.com]Oriental Warehouse Loft 11a Edmonds + Lee Architects [edmondslee.com]Oriental Warehouse Loft 3a Edmonds + Lee Architects [edmondslee.com]Oriental Warehouse Loft 9a Edmonds + Lee Architects [edmondslee.com]

Edmonds + Lee Architects: http://www.edmondslee.com/owl.html

Jestico & Whiles, Andel’s Hotel Łódź, Poland, warehouse conversion (completed 2009)
Located in central Łódź, the hotel features a top-floor spa centre and modern interior design. Its spacious and bright rooms come with air conditioning and a flat-screen TV. The hotel houses a luxury spa, the skySPAce, featuring a glass-covered swimming pool with beautiful city views, as well as various saunas, a massage parlour and a fitness centre. The hotel is a beautiful building with a post-industrial character. You can see an old and historical place (loads of old factory elements) and on the other hand the building is really modern. The Andel’s Hotel Łódź is housed in the cultural and commercial complex of Manufaktura, just 1.5 km from the famous Piotrkowska Street. The hotel was recently awarded the best in Poland in a European ranking.

Andel's Hotel, Lodz, Poland 6 exterior [booking.com]Andels Hotel, Lodz, Poland 1 facade with pool room [op-architekten.com]Andels Hotel, Lodz, Poland 1 pool [holidaycheck.com]Andels Hotel, Lodz, Poland 1 pool [tripadvisor.com]Andels Hotel, Lodz, Poland 2 lobby area [vi-hotels.com]JAW-AHL-0003Andels Hotel, Lodz, Poland top light [wikimedia.org]Andels Hotel, Lodz, Poland 3 lobby area [thecoolhunter.net]Andel's Hotel, Lodz, Poland 1 dining [e-architect.co.uk]Andels Hotel, Lodz, Poland 2 restaurant [tripadvisor.com]Andels Hotel, Lodz, Poland standard suite [vi-hotels.com]Andels Hotel, Lodz, Poland meeting room [urlowpolsce.pl]

More photos and their sources via Google Images

Lant Street warehouse conversion, Southwark, London
Dow Jones Architects
An ongoing process of urban regeneration has seen the transformation of nineteenth century light industrial buildings into residential quarters for the liberal middle classes. In Lant Street, a five-level former brick warehouse is a case in point; over the past few years it has been gradually transformed into residential property with an art gallery below street level. Dow Jones Architects was asked to convert the top two floors and the roof, with spectacular views of the city, into a separate apartment. The brief was unequivocal; the client asked for ‘London in my living room’.
Giving views of the City skyline, only previously available from the rooftop, required the placement of the living room on the uppermost floor, with the sleeping and bathroom area on lowest level and the kitchen and dining in the middle. Preserving the stairways in their original locations allowed a relatively unpartitioned organisation of the individual floors, with just two oversized, automatically operated fire doors unobtrusively concealed in wall linings. Dow Jones’ internal material palette combines the original brick surfaces and rough timber structure with new smooth oak linings with flush camouflaged doors. The in-situ concrete boxes that mark the wet areas – bathroom, shower room, kitchen – read as discrete objects placed atop the existing surfaces.

DowJonesArchitects Lant Street warehouse conversion, Southwark, London [architecturetoday.co.uk]

Read more at http://www.architecturetoday.co.uk/?p=6122

Historically Preserved Mansion Gets Eclectic Makeover
A true mansion, originally from 1922, with preserved architecture and full of details that reveal a rare magnificence, is the headquarters of the 22nd Edition of Casa Cor Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. With very high ceilings and large windows, the beautiful and famous building has been designed in an eclectic style with over 5,400 square metres of constructed area, divided into 52 environments, with about 80 professionals who have demonstrated that it is possible to renew with style, but without deleting the marks of time. The building was once a Boarding School of Nursing Anna Nery (1926- 1973) and the College Student House (1973-1995). Here, past, present and future coexist im harmony.

Casa-Cor-13-1-Kindesign [onekindesign.com]

Casa-Cor-34-1-Kindesign [onekindesign.com]

Interactive room. Reuse was the watchword for Tiana Meggiolaro and Bia Lynch who set up the room with brick walls left exposed. “Based on the concept of upcycling and demos new function was given to the pallets, wooden structures used in freight transport that became bookshelf and countertop,” says Tiana.Casa-Cor-54-1-Kindesign [onekindesign.com]

Jewellery. The space of interior designers Mariana Dean, Jason Sartori and Luciana Arnaud pays homage to the fashion designer Coco Chanel and makes reference to her jewellery.
Casa-Cor-45-1-Kindesign [onekindesign.com]

More at http://www.onekindesign.com/tag/preservation/page/5/

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Housing affordability in this country is “just hopeless” –Hugh Pavletich

Housing Minister Nick Smith and Auckland Mayor Len Brown announcing special housing Sept 2014 [radionz.co.nz]

September 2014. Another 17 Special Housing Areas were revealed in Auckland, under the plan to accelerate new home building – only two of them outside the suburbs. Housing Minister Nick Smith and Auckland Mayor Len Brown announcing the special housing. Link Photo: Radio New Zealand

### NZ Herald Online 9:15 AM Monday Jan 19, 2015
Property: Mad truths on home prices in Auckland
Auckland housing affordability has worsened and it remains one of the 10 least affordable big cities in the world. Auckland’s surging housing market is now only slightly cheaper than London but pricier than Los Angeles, Toronto, New York, Perth, Brisbane and Boston.

█ The latest Demographia survey (1.74 MB), released today, compares prices with incomes in 378 cities, including 86 with more than one million people.

Auckland is one of the most unaffordable places due to its high house prices and low incomes. […] Now, the median house price has climbed to $613,000 and income to $75,100, giving a multiple of 8.2 and maintaining Auckland’s top 10 spot for unaffordable major cities.
Property Council chief Connal Townsend blamed Auckland Council’s planning regulations. “We’ve got houses more expensive than LA. How is this possible? A dump in Pt Chevalier demands a million dollars, which gets you a mansion in Beverly Hills. We’ve reached the point of madness.”
Survey authors Hugh Pavletich of Christchurch and Wendell Cox of the United States criticised the Government and Auckland Council for failing to ease affordability by vastly increasing housing supply via the Housing Accord and its 80 Special Housing Areas, but said the situation was bad in other areas too.

█ Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith said housing affordability problems went back 25 years but the Government was planning additional reforms this year, particularly around the Resource Management Act.

Analysis: So … what can be done?
Auckland is extraordinarily expensive relative to incomes and rents but the solutions need to be broader than what Demographia argues on land supply, writes Shamubeel Eaqub, principal economist at the NZIER.
Read more

Auckland Housing Accord (2014)
Under the terms of the accord approved between the Government and the Auckland Council, a total of 39,000 new homes/sections are targeted for approval over the next three years. Not all of those 39,000 have to be found specifically through the accord, as the figure includes all developments that might be approved in Auckland during that period. Link

Special housing areas - expected supply. Auckland 2014-2026 [interest.co.nz]Graphic via interest.co.nz [click to enlarge]

### stuff.co.nz Last updated 09:18, January 19 2015
Auckland in world top ten for housing unaffordability: report
By Laura Walters
The co-author of a survey which found Auckland house prices exceeded those in Los Angeles says housing affordability in this country is “just hopeless”. The 11th annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey classified Auckland as the ninth least affordable major city in the world. Auckland is the 14th least affordable city out of all 378 cities surveyed, and has been rated as “severely unaffordable” in 11 surveys done – less affordable than Los Angeles and the Gold Coast. “It’s just not on, is it? The social injustice of the whole thing’s just dreadful. It’s screwing up people’s lives big time,” said Christchurch-based Hugh Pavletich. When the cost of housing exceeded three times people’s incomes it showed there was a “massive problem” with infrastructure financing and land supply, he said.

NZ HOUSING AFFORDABILITY DROPS
While Auckland’s house prices were extremely high, Tauranga-Western Bay of Plenty, Christchurch and Wellington were also seen in the survey as “severely unaffordable”. Palmerston North-Manawatu and Hamilton-Waikato were “seriously unaffordable”. There were no moderately affordable or affordable markets in New Zealand, according to the survey. “Housing affordability has declined materially in New Zealand’s three largest markets over the last decade.”

Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephens said the high prices of New Zealand houses had a lot to do with the tax regime being favourable to home ownership and property investment compared with other forms of saving or investment.
Read more

Tephra Boulevard and Stonefields housing development, Mt Wellington, Auckland Feb 2012

Todd Property Group with Fletcher Residential – Stonefields is a 110 hectare development at Mt Wellington, located, only 8km from the Auckland Central Business District and next to the established eastern suburbs of Ellerslie, Meadowbank and St Johns. Photo: panoramio.com

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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DCC: Jaunt to USA, explain

Dunedin at night [commons.wikimedia.org] 1Dunedin, March 2010. Benchill (Wikimedia Commons).

### ODT Online Fri, 3 Jan 2014
Streetlight ideas from US trip
By Debbie Porteous
Seeing the bright lights of some major American cities has given the man responsible for a street lighting revolution set for Dunedin some solid ideas. Dunedin city council roading maintenance engineer Peter Standring went to the United States last year to look at different technologies and visit cities that have started updating their street lighting.
Read more

Puzzled. The news story says Peter Standring went to USA.
But lower down, it says (our emphasis):

“Los Angeles was in many ways the world leader in the procurement, installation and development of LED technology, and the group was “very lucky” to have had one and a-half hours of Mr Ebrahimian’s time, Mr Standring said.”

What group? A DCC group? (or a USA group he tagged along with?) What have we paid for? A 2013 trip for one person to Los Angeles, Durham, Racine, Chicago, Phoenix and San Francisco —or a trip for a group of staff and their wives?
Clarification, please.

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[via Upstart Incubator (@UpstartDunedin) who tweeted at 9:29 AM on Tue, Dec 31, 2013]

### mckinsey.com September 2013
How to make a city great
By 2030, 60 percent of the world’s population will live in cities. That could mean great things for economic growth — if the cities handle their expansion wisely. Here’s how.

What makes a great city? It is a pressing question because by 2030, 5 billion people — 60 percent of the world’s population — will live in cities, compared with 3.6 billion today, turbocharging the world’s economic growth. Leaders in developing nations must cope with urbanisation on an unprecedented scale, while those in developed ones wrestle with aging infrastructures and stretched budgets. All are fighting to secure or maintain the competitiveness of their cities and the livelihoods of the people who live in them. And all are aware of the environmental legacy they will leave if they fail to find more sustainable, resource-efficient ways of managing these cities.

Explore six diverse initiatives aimed at making cities great places to live and work.

To understand the core processes and benchmarks that can transform cities into superior places to live and work, McKinsey developed and analysed a comprehensive database of urban economic, social, and environmental performance indicators. The research included interviewing 30 mayors and other leaders in city governments on four continents and synthesizing the findings from more than 80 case studies that sought to understand what city leaders did to improve processes and services from urban planning to financial management and social housing.

The result is How to make a city great (PDF, 2.1MB), a new report arguing that leaders who make important strides in improving their cities do three things really well:

█ They achieve smart growth. Smart growth identifies and nurtures the very best opportunities for growth, plans ways to cope with its demands, integrates environmental thinking, and ensures that all citizens enjoy a city’s prosperity. Good city leaders also think about regional growth because as a metropolis expands, they will need the cooperation of surrounding municipalities and regional service providers. Integrating the environment into economic decision making is vital to smart growth: cities must invest in infrastructure that reduces emissions, waste production, and water use, as well as in building high-density communities.

█ They do more with less. Great cities secure all revenues due, explore investment partnerships, embrace technology, make organisational changes that eliminate overlapping roles, and manage expenses. Successful city leaders have also learned that, if designed and executed well, private–public partnerships can be an essential element of smart growth, delivering lower-cost, higher-quality infrastructure and services.

█ They win support for change. Change is not easy, and its momentum can even attract opposition. Successful city leaders build a high-performing team of civil servants, create a working environment where all employees are accountable for their actions, and take every opportunity to forge a stakeholder consensus with the local population and business community. They take steps to recruit and retain top talent, emphasise collaboration, and train civil servants in the use of technology.

Mayors are only too aware that their tenure will be limited. But if longer-term plans are articulated — and gain popular support because of short-term successes — leaders can start a virtuous cycle that sustains and encourages a great urban environment.
Link to source

McKinsey&Company The material on this page draws on the research and experience of McKinsey consultants and other sources. To learn more about their expertise, visit the Infrastructure Practice, Public Sector Practice, Sustainability & Resource Productivity Practice.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image: commons.wikimedia.org – Central city view of Dunedin, New Zealand, at night from Signal Hill lookout. The dark horizontal band above the centre of the photo is the Town Belt. Some landmarks including First Church of Otago and the Dunedin Railway Station are visible near the centre. Photo by Benchill, 9 March 2010.

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Broadcast Notice: RA Lawson, architect

RNZ National
Sunday Morning with Chris Laidlaw

http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/sunday
22 September 2013

9.40 Norman Ledgerwood – Dunedin’s Victorian Architect
Norman Ledgerwood has just published a book about RA Lawson, the architect behind some of the country’s most important historical buildings. Scottish-born Lawson designed the First Presbyterian Church of Otago, Knox Presbyterian Church, Larnach Castle and the Dunedin Municipal Building. In his 28 years working in Dunedin from 1862 onwards, Lawson designed over 250 buildings, and his work also survives in many towns in Otago and Southland.
R.A. Lawson: Victorian Architect of Dunedin, by Norman Ledgerwood, with photography by Graham Warman, is published by the Historic Cemeteries Conservation Trust of New Zealand.
http://www.cemeteries.org.nz/

● Norman Ledgerwood ( 17′ 56″ )
Writer who chronicles the career of architect Robert Lawson, the man responsible for much of the historic skyline of Dunedin.
Audio | Downloads: Ogg MP3

Publication: 25 September 2013.
From the publicity material . . .

RA Lawson Victorian Architect of Dunedin [HCCTNZ]Following the discovery of gold in Otago, Dunedin quickly grew to become the largest and richest city in New Zealand. Among the architects who influenced the young city was the Scottish architect, Robert Arthur Lawson.

Lawson became more than a leading architect of the day, he was deeply involved in the management and affairs of his beloved Presbyterian Church. Over a short period Lawson played a major role in the growth of Dunedin — taking it from a small township to a city of remarkable and enduring Victorian architecture.

Lawson’s most significant works — First Presbyterian Church of Otago, Knox Presbyterian Church, Larnach Castle, Otago Boys’ High School, Dunedin Municipal Building — take their place amongst the country’s most important historical buildings and grace Dunedin to this day, giving the city its distinctive
character, unique among New Zealand’s towns and cities.

In R.A.Lawson Norman Ledgerwood celebrates the life and career of Lawson, and Graham Warman’s photographs offer an elegant tour of the living legacy of Lawson’s most prominent buildings.

This handsome volume is printed on fine art paper and is richly illustrated throughout with historical and contemporary photographs, as well as many of Lawson’s architectural drawings.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Towering inferno: Fire engulfs luxury apartments and 5-star hotel

Thanks to Source. Oh dear.

Fire engulfs 40-storey hotel, Chechnya, Grozny

Flames have engulfed a 40-storey luxury skyscraper in the Chechnya capital of Grozny.

### msn.co.nz 05:30 Thu Apr 4 2013
Fire engulfs luxury skyscraper hotel
By MSN NZ staff
The building, a local centrepiece named the Olympus tower which is used to promote the city [Grozny] as a glitzy and modern hub, has been evacuated as the fire raged from the top to bottom floors.
It is understood the flames spread rapidly due to the plastic trimming on the building, which includes luxury apartments and a 5-star hotel.
Local police confirmed no one was injured.
State television pictures showed a huge plume of smoke rising into the sky and clinging to the sides of the building with bursts of yellow flames snaking down the facade.
“We have no reports of casualties … The fire is currently spreading across the building’s facade via the plastic outer panels,” the spokesman for the North Caucasus regional branch of the Emergency Situations ministry, Kantemir Davydov, told the Interfax news agency.
Eighty firemen were at the scene, the emergency situations ministry said.
A witness photograph posted on Twitter showed flames and smoke pouring from the building, which is topped by a giant clock face and stands 145m tall.
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr
Hope springs eternal

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Growth fetish ? Urban sprawl v Higher density living ?

### onenesspublishing.com March 20, 2013
Urban sprawl isn’t to blame: unsustainable cities are the product of growth fetish
By Brendan Gleeson
In a recent article on The Conversation Robert Nelson argues we are all morally culpable for unsustainable urban sprawl. He goes on to suggest we fix this by taking advantage of opportunities for higher density development in sparsely populated inner suburbs. But his argument is based on a false opposition: mounting evidence shows that high density development in inner areas performs very poorly in terms of resource consumption and greenhouse emissions. The idea that outer suburbs are inherently less sustainable than inner ones doesn’t bear scrutiny. The key question is not where we accommodate growth; it’s our slavish pursuit of growth itself.
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● Brendan Gleeson is Professor in Urban Policy Studies at University of Melbourne.

The Conversation hosts in-depth analysis, research, news and ideas from leading academics and researchers.

Urban Expansion shutterstock.com

Read two articles by Robert Nelson at The Conversation:

The grass isn’t greener in the outer ‘burbs (7 March 2013, 6.43am AEST)
“For a long a time real estate close to the palace was socially desirable, and anyone with aspirations didn’t want to know about the rest. Today in Melbourne inner-city people are embarrassed to reveal knowledge of the outer suburbs such as South Morang, like 17th century Parisians who would mispronounce the street-names of poorer areas or affect not to know them at all. Throughout history, the distribution of wealth has had a geographical expression. Snobbery, however, is only part of the challenge of urban geography. Power and privilege are concentrated within 10kms of the city centre.”

The devaluing dream; why Australian suburbia is an economic disaster (11 January 2012, 6.22am AEST)
“In spite of what everyone believes through natural pride and vanity, the family house is an asset that depreciates. Don’t be deceived that the value of property goes up and up, which of course it does. The rising prices are caused by the land becoming more expensive, not the house itself.”

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image: shutterstock.com – urban expansion

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RNZ Sunday Morning | Ideas: Re-imagining the Urban House

Athfield House by Grant SheehanAthfield House, Wellington. Photo: Grant Sheehan

### radionz.co.nz 3 March 2013
Radio New Zealand National
Sunday Morning with Chris Laidlaw
Listen on 101 FM or online at radionz.co.nz

10:06 Ideas: Re-imagining the Urban House
Arguments for intensifying the density of housing tend to fall into two categories: Affordability and putting a halt to urban sprawl.
Ideas talks to two architects who advocate higher density housing not just for those reasons but because they believe, if done right, it will result in more livable houses and communities.

Robert Dalziel, the co-author of A House in the City: Home Truths in Urban Architecture, has traveled the world looking at traditional models of high density housing and come to some interesting conclusions; and Ian Athfield, one of New Zealand’s most celebrated architects, talks about the lessons he’s learnt from building his own house which now combines living quarters for 25 people with office space for another 40.
Audio | Download: Ogg Vorbis MP3 | Embed (49′59″)

A House in the City http://www.rationalhouse.com/the_book.php
Ian Athfield: http://www.athfieldarchitects.co.nz/

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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‘Low-rises are great for the community and the residents’

### theglobeandmail.com Tuesday, 10 July 2012, 1:07 PM EDT
Last updated Tues, 10 July 2012, 1:15 PM EDT
Real Estate
High time for more low-rises
By Nadani Ditmars
The traditional “Vancouverist” model of a tower and podium may well be headed for a civic sea change. In the midst of controversy over proposed new towers – like the Rize Alliance development in Mount Pleasant that continues to draw significant community opposition despite being approved by council – several new “low-rise” projects are quietly making their mark on the urban landscape.

Call it the “slow-rise” revolution if you will, but the model that is gaining ground is one that evokes an earlier era and a more human scale, with uniquely contemporary design. Centred around Vancouver’s historic neighbourhoods, projects like Gastown’s Paris Annex, Chinatown’s Flats on Georgia and Mount Pleasant’s Collection 45 offer modernist architectural values that respect the surrounding built-and-social environments in a way that the city’s growing number of cookie-cutter towers do not.

Developer Robert Fung, whose six-storey Paris Annex building will be completed this summer, and has already sold out, contends that “our region needs density – it’s crucially important. But that doesn’t mean that it has to be exclusively through high-rises.” He notes that Paris, one of the densest cities in the world, achieved that density largely through the six-storey walk-up typology.

While he believes that high-rises can be designed with sensitivity to their environment, low-rises offer certain advantages, says Mr. Fung, “They increase light in an area,” he notes. “They offer a strong sense of identity and individuality, but at the same time make it easier for neighbours to get to know each other.”

Because of the low-rise’s need to be “strongly contextual to where they are,” he says, “that can often mean a higher level of design, and greater attention to detail,” noting that “our historic neighbourhoods tend to offer greater opportunities for this, as the buildings have to have a greater sense of engagement with their environment.”

He notes that some towers in the area, like the Woodwards one, tend to be “inward looking” with a lack of “street-front engagement.” Low-rises by nature have a greater engagement with the street and tend to go against the grain of the “commodity ubiquity towers” that proliferate around, say, the False Creek South area.
Street view-HASTINGS-10The Paris Annex is a conjoined fraternal twin of sorts to the next-door heritage conversion (and former HQ of Paris boot-makers) Paris Block. Both buildings, designed by architect Gair Williamson, share service core infrastructure.

“You have to walk through the old 1907 building to enter the new one,” notes Mr. Williamson. “Every day, residents are literally moving through history.”

The elegant 35-foot building of glass and steel will contain 2,500 square feet of retail on the ground floor and mezzanine, with 17 market residential units on the upper floors.

The constraints of these “character sites,” as Mr. Williamson calls them, “make them unique. When you work on a 25-foot site, you have to respond with integrity and be hyper-aware of the surrounding environment.”
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New Zealand Architects: Pete Bossley, and Ian and Clare Athfield

### radionz.co.nz Monday 18 June 2012
Nine To Noon with Kathryn Ryan
http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon

Feature Guest – Pete Bossley
Auckland-based architect Pete Bossley last month won the NZ Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal for 2012. The Director of Bossley Architects is best known for his designs for Te Papa, the Voyager Maritime Museum and the McCahon Artist Retreat in Auckland. (34′00″)
Gallery: Architecture by Pete Bossley
Audio | Download: Ogg Vorbis MP3 | Embed

10:40 Book Review – Athfield Architects
Written by Julia Gatley, published by Auckland University Press. Reviewed by Jeremy Hansen. (5′27″)
Audio | Download: Ogg Vorbis MP3 | Embed
http://www.homenewzealand.blogspot.co.nz/

****

### radionz.co.nz Saturday 23 June 2012
Saturday Morning with Kim Hill
http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/saturday

10:05 Playing Favourites with Ian and Clare Athfield
Ian and Claire Athfield have been running one of New Zealand’s most celebrated architectural practices for over four decades, and their work is celebrated in a new book and gallery exhibition. (40′57″)
Audio | Download: Ogg Vorbis MP3 | Embed

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

Note: *Radio New Zealand misspells Clare Athfield’s first name as ‘Claire’; the error is repeated in their Urls for the item.

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amalgamation, Anyone?

Would you trust your own mother with the information that Dunedin City Council (DCC) is fully debt laden, that is, stony broke? You should.

Also, tell her DCC has no insurance for infrastructure assets, which badly need upgrade and replacement. Prettily, DCC has a new stadium that’s bleeding millions of dollars annually and it will continue to do so for years and years and years. She’ll want to know that each DCC ratepayer is now carrying five to six times the debt burden of the average New Zealand ratepayer.

The list goes on. She’ll love you for it.

Or would you hide this from her and pretend a forensic audit of the Council books wasn’t needed – so to foster happy collaborations (comings together) with ‘super’ fellow cities, as if Dunedin was level-pegging?

Dear god, your Dunedin ratepayer base is around 53,000. A high proportion of the population is low-waged and or receiving some sort of benefit assistance. The majority of citizens live in ‘old, cold and costly’ houses. Fatally, your Council keeps borrowing like there’s no tomorrow.

Definitely grounds for inter-city collaboration and blending there. If other cities want to share our deep impoverishment due to Council’s continuing lack of fiduciary responsibility, roll on up. Ignore our weaknesses and transgressions, love your mother and the useless council despots.

Register to read D Scene online at
http://fairfaxmedia.newspaperdirect.com/

### D Scene 30-11-11 (page 5)
Add it up
Dunedin City Council Economic Development Unit and Corporate Policy department is working on the first draft of a central government project to compare the economies of 6 core NZ cities. Due for completion in early December, the project analyses economic and social information about the cities, highlighting strengths and areas for potential collaboration between them. The project is being led by the Ministry for Economic Development and Local Government New Zealand. #bookmark

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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“We all know that growth brings prosperity. Except, apparently, when it doesn’t.”

### citiwire.net For Release Sunday, January 30, 2011
Oops! Fast City Growth May = Lower Incomes
By Mary Newsom / Jan 28 2011
Optimists prefer to look forward, not back. But especially during a month named for the two-headed Roman god Janus — a month when state legislatures are convening only to face mammoth budget shortfalls — maybe we all need a clear-eyed look backward as well as ahead.
A look back at the past decade from an Oregon consulting company, Fodor & Associates, ought to get plenty of people thinking about whether some assumptions of the past need re-examining. The report looked at growth rates and prosperity in the 100 largest U.S. metro areas. Its findings may challenge a bedrock assumption for many local and state government leaders, that “growth” in and of itself automatically brings jobs and more wealth.
Read more

-Mary Newsom is an associate editor and opinion writer at the Charlotte Observer.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Landscape urbanism + ‘larger infrastructure of the territory of our cities and towns’

“Landscape is doing some serious environmental heavy lifting.”
–Adriaan Geuze, West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture

### architectmagazine.com October 6, 2010
Source: ARCHITECT October 2010
Urban Design
Systems, Not Icons: The unstoppable rise of landscape urbanism
By John Gendall
Not long ago, landscape architects were often dismissed as the consultants who put finishing touches on a building site—the broccoli around a steak. But with landscape architects increasingly taking lead positions on large-scale projects, winning urban design competitions around the world, and expanding the design market share, broccoli, clearly, is a thing of the past.
In many ways, the bellwether for these changes was James Corner’s career arc. As a young designer in Richard Rogers’ office, he grew frustrated by a lack of collaboration between disciplines on the postindustrial London Docklands project. Setting out on his own, he founded Field Operations, which has transformed itself from a boutique landscape practice turning out small projects and academic essays into a significant urban design firm with high-profile projects around the world. The critical step in that transition was when Corner won the competition to turn Freshkills, a huge former landfill in New York City, into a public park.
Underscoring this trend, the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) is in the midst of expanding its landscape faculty by six professorships over two years, and its landscape student body by 50 percent. And landscape architecture’s academic expansion holds up with the most tried-and-true indicator: It’s following the money. Large corporate architecture firms are ramping up their urban design and landscape divisions, as AECOM notably did in 2005 when it acquired EDAW, then among the world’s largest landscape firms.
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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?
Read more

● 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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Discovering the simple laws of cities

Whenever a city doubles in size, every measure of economic activity, from construction spending to the amount of bank deposits, increases by approximately 15 percent per capita. It doesn’t matter how big the city is; the law remains the same.

West admits that all successful cities are a little uncomfortable. He describes the purpose of urban planning as finding a way to minimize our distress while maximizing our interactions.

Cities are unruly places, largely immune to the desires of politicians and planners. “Think about how powerless a mayor is,” West says. “They can’t tell people where to live or what to do or who to talk to. Cities can’t be managed, and that’s what keeps them so vibrant. They’re just these insane masses of people, bumping into each other and maybe sharing an idea or two. It’s the freedom of the city that keeps it alive.”

### nytimes.com 17 December 2010
A Physicist Solves the City
By Jonah Lehrer
Geoffrey West is a theoretical physicist in search of fundamental laws, he likes to compare his work to that of Kepler, Galileo and Newton. …although West worked for decades as a physicist at Stanford University and Los Alamos National Laboratory, he started thinking about leaving the field after the financing for the Texas superconducting supercollider was cancelled by Congress in 1993. West, however, wasn’t ready to retire, and so he began searching for subjects that needed his skill set. Eventually he settled on cities: the urban jungle looked chaotic — all those taxi horns and traffic jams — but perhaps it might be found to obey a short list of universal rules.

“We spend all this time thinking about cities in terms of their local details, their restaurants and museums and weather,” West says. “I had this hunch that there was something more, that every city was also shaped by a set of hidden laws.”

And so West set out to solve the City.

West saw the metropolis as a sprawling organism, defined by its infrastructure. (The boulevard was like a blood vessel, the back alley a capillary.) This implied that the real purpose of cities, and the reason cities keep on growing, is their ability to create massive economies of scale, just as big animals do.

After analysing the first sets of city data — the physicists began with infrastructure and consumption statistics — they concluded that cities looked a lot like elephants. In city after city, the indicators of urban “metabolism”, like the number of gas stations or the total surface area of roads, showed that when a city doubles in size, it requires an increase in resources of only 85 percent. This straightforward observation has some surprising implications. It suggests, for instance, that modern cities are the real centres of sustainability.
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Cities: Wellington, or Dunedin?

I doubt the Dunedin stadium’s pulling power in attracting new residents. It’s ugly, it’s essentially redundant and its intimidating bulk will hinder people-friendly development of the surrounding area. –Meg Davidson

### ODT Online Mon, 27 Sep 2010
Let us, too, become the city of the verb, not expletive
By Meg Davidson
Dunedin resident Meg Davidson laments opportunities lost and asks if the city could follow Wellington’s lead.
Last month my daughter was lost to Dunedin. I was with her in Wellington, the new object of her affections, when she was seduced and I, a passionate Dunedinite, was seized by the same unexpected delight in the city I hadn’t visited for three decades.
Read more

****

We’re almost there, inside our final year – and nothing our dwindling band of critics say will deflect us from our primary purpose: to deliver, on time, on budget and fit for purpose, New Zealand’s first roofed, multipurpose performance venue and something all can be proud of. –Malcolm Farry

### ODT Online Mon, 27 Sep 2010
Something we can all be proud of
By Malcolm Farry
Carisbrook Stadium Trust chairman Malcolm Farry reflects on the journey towards building the “the best stadium in New Zealand”.
When I was asked in 2004 to lead an investigation into an upgrade for Carisbrook, the challenge was to investigate and recommend the best option that would produce most benefits to Dunedin and the region.
Read more

● Malcolm Farry is the chairman of Carisbrook Stadium Charitable Trust.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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‘The scrum and fray of urban life’

Book Review

### thenation.com March 18, 2010
Living for the City: On Jane Jacobs
By Samuel Zipp

This article appeared in the April 5, 2010 edition of The Nation.

Cities, Jane Jacobs famously observed, offer “a problem in handling organised complexity”. In her first and still most famous book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, published in 1961, Jacobs argued that cities are not chaotic or irrational; they are essentially systems of interrelated variables collected in an organic whole. The challenge, she wrote, was to sense the patterns at work in the vast array of variables. Something similar could be said for writing about cities. How does one coax the thread of a narrative from the scrum and fray of urban life?

In Twenty Minutes in Manhattan, Michael Sorkin, an architect and critic, makes like Jacobs and immerses himself in the rhythms and patter of the street. He has shaped his book according to the contours of his daily stroll across a dozen or so blocks of Lower Manhattan, from the top floor of his five-storey Greenwich Village walk-up to his office in TriBeCa. Walking, Sorkin writes, is “a natural armature for thinking sequentially”, providing opportunities for heady musings on all manner of city life. Yet his peripatetic narrative is anything but linear. Proving there’s a raconteur in every flâneur, Sorkin unspools strands of free-floating observations about a scattered array of urban issues and gathers them into a loose weave along his path downtown. Any full accounting of his rambles would be impossible, but he manages to ruminate on landlord-tenant troubles, the 1811 Manhattan grid, historic preservation, the “ratio of tread to riser” on apartment stairs, elevator etiquette, zoning and housing codes, rent control, the theory of montage, green roofs, public art, crime, gentrification, traffic, urban renewal and public-private partnerships. He also takes diversions into the city thinking of Walter Benjamin, Michel de Certeau, Ebenezer Howard, Jacob Riis, Le Corbusier, Henri Lefebvre, the Walt Disney Company, the Situationists, the New Urbanists and, of course, Jane Jacobs. It’s a primer on what one might call the “New York school” of urbanism.

Sorkin is a congenial, sometimes irascible guide. Ever the Manhattanite, he lambastes oblivious SUV drivers, callous landlords and “Disneyfied” urban environments (an undying spark for his ire), but he is also aware of his own foibles, including his tendency to lapse into “high ethical mode”. Sorkin’s musings–outrages and enthusiasms alike–converge around his sensitivity to the restless yet productive tension between the city’s role as both public sphere and commercial marketplace, and the intermingled chances city life offers for making meaning and making money. For Sorkin, the city’s hum and buzz is the sound of an endless “dialogue of desire and demand” and the pitched voices of “poets” and “bandits” jostling for each and every advantage.

(via The Nation)

Other reviews:
metropolismag.com
reaktionbooks.co.uk
amazon.com

****

In March 2002, the Masterclass! programme hosted two world leaders in architecture and urban design. The British Council, Montana Wines, Fullbright New Zealand and the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) jointly delivered a stimulating programme led by Kelvin Campbell from the United Kingdom and Michael Sorkin from New York.

The Dunedin Masterclass! and Urban Design Masterclass! Lunch were held with assistance from NZIA Southern, Dunedin City Council and Southern Urban Design Forum.

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For urban designers, speculators and stadium nuts

We love pop-up maps!!!

Today, at Fast Company’s website, William Bostwick profiles Rob Carter’s Metropolis, a 9-minute history of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Metropolis, Bostwick says, is a trend trifecta: cartography, cut and folded paper, and urban history. The animation, made from a sequence of aerial pictures layered on top of each other, transforms Charlotte “from Native American trading post to cotton-age boom town to tower-spiked banking hub in just a few folds.”
Fast Company Link


5LoveMyself 15 February 2010
View full animation, Metropolis (2008), on Carter’s site. (9:30 mins)

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“Metropolis is a quirky and very abridged narrative history of the city of Charlotte, North Carolina. It uses stop motion video animation to physically manipulate aerial still images of the city (both real and fictional), creating a landscape in constant motion. Starting around 1755 on a Native American trading path, the viewer is presented with the building of the first house in Charlotte. From there we see the town develop through the historic dismissal of the English, to the prosperity made by the discovery of gold and the subsequent roots of the building of the multitude of churches that the city is famous for. Now the landscape turns white with cotton, and the modern city is ‘born’, with a more detailed re-creation of the economic boom and surprising architectural transformation that has occurred in the past twenty years.

Charlotte is one of the fastest growing cities in the country, primarily due to the continuing influx of the banking community, resulting in an unusually fast architectural and population expansion that shows no sign of faltering despite the current economic climate. However, this new downtown Metropolis is therefore subject to the whim of the market and the interest of the giant corporations that choose to do business there. Made entirely from images printed on paper, the animation literally represents this sped up urban planners dream, but suggests the frailty of that dream, however concrete it may feel on the ground today. Ultimately the video continues the city development into an imagined hubristic future, of more and more skyscrapers and sports arenas and into a bleak environmental future. It is an extreme representation of the already serious water shortages that face many expanding American cities today; but this is less a warning, as much as a statement of our paper thin significance no matter how many monuments of steel, glass and concrete we build.”
Vimeo Link

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Singapore’s Waterfront Gardens @Marina Bay

### http://www.inhabit.com 21 December 2009
Singapore’s Largest Garden Project Unveiled
By Mike Chino
Designs have just been released for Bay South, an incredible botanical preserve topped with super-tall solar trees that is set to be Singapore’s largest garden project. Conceived by Grant Associates, the 101-hectare expanse of lush green space will be situated right next to the Marina Bay resort and will feature two botanical biospheres and a series of towering tree structures that double as vertical gardens.
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Grant Associates and Gustafson Porter have won an international competition, organised by Singapore’s National Parks Board, to design Gardens by the Bay, part of the next phase of the city’s masterplan.

According to Grant Associates: This is the largest garden project ever undertaken in Singapore, and a landscape project of world significance. It is intended to raise Singapore’s profile and cement its image as the leading garden city in the east. It is therefore integral to the future planning of Singapore as a major global hub and business centre.

The masterplan takes its inspiration from the form of the orchid, and has an intelligent infrastructure that allows the cultivation of plants that would not otherwise grow in Singapore. The centrepiece of this infrastructure is the cluster of Cooled Conservatories along the edge of Marina Bay. The Cool Dry and the Cool Moist Conservatories showcase Mediterranean, tropical montane and temperate annual plants and flowering species. They also provide a flexible, flower-themed venue for events and exhibitions.
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█ Download: PDF project sheet.

olruchimaru 06 November 2009

olruchimaru 06 November 2009
This is the second film created by Squint/Opera for the Singapore Bay International Design Competition to depict the client’s exuberant and ambitious scheme. It follows the flight of two dragonflies as they weave their way through the imagined gardens, guiding us through the unfurling layers of vegetation and the hothouse structures.

Squint/Opera is a film and media production studio whose unique work and methods bridge the disciplines of visual communication and architecture.The company makes short films, computer-generated visualisations, installations and interactive content to communicate architectural possibilities, putting narrative and humour to the service of deeply innovative design and techniques of illustration.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Toronto Tales

What could happen for Dunedin…

### Torontoist November 23, 2009 1:00 PM
Transit City or Transit Cities
By Hamutal Dotan

Transit City: the Toronto Transit Commission’s plan to build a network of light rail, extending dedicated transit infrastructure to many of Toronto’s neighbourhoods that lack it, thereby increasing residents’ quality of life, reducing our collective environmental footprint, and redressing a major backlog of transit development. Transit Cities: the term applied at a symposium held last week to cities that don’t just have transit but integrate it properly into the urban landscape, making good on the promise that transit expansion seems to hold but on which it doesn’t always deliver. Designing Transit Cities was its name, and bringing planners, academics, advocates, and the public at large up to speed on the opportunities and pitfalls of transit expansion was its goal.

The day-and-a-half-long symposium, co-sponsored by the City of Toronto, the Canadian Urban Institute, the Cities Centre at the University of Toronto, the Toronto Society of Architects, and various transit agencies, brought in experts from around the world to outline the successes and failures they’d seen in other cities’ transit expansions, and extrapolate some lessons for Toronto. Panel discussions dealt with everything from intelligent planning to community advocacy, and the symposium managed to cover a lot more ground than such events often do. (Though, as local transit guru Steve Munro suggested on his blog, this ground was perhaps well-trod, a rediscovery of ideas that have been discussed for decades.)

Though the speakers came from a variety of backgrounds, some themes did emerge quite clearly, providing a consensus view on the relationship between transit planning and urban development.
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Post by Elizabeth Kerr

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