Tag Archives: Creativity

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…………..]

****

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.

****

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.

****

### 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

****

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

2 Comments

Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, Design, Economics, Education, Finance, Geography, Infrastructure, Innovation, Leading edge, Media, People, Politics, Project management, Public interest, Structural engineering, Technology, Town planning, Transportation

Dunedin not an IT city, compared

The Creators Project is a global network dedicated to the celebration of creativity, arts and technology: http://thecreatorsproject.com/

The Creators Project Published on Mar 23, 2015
Inside the Volume: Making the 2015 YouTube Music Awards Launch Film
A behind-the-scenes look at how Autofuss made the laser-filled launch film for the 2015 YouTube Music Awards.
Watch the YouTube Music Awards 2015: http://goo.gl/GRsv0H
The YTMA show features 13 brand new, innovative music videos from Action Bronson ft. Chance the Rapper, Cahoots, Charli XCX, Ed Sheeran & Rudimental, FKA twigs, Kygo ft. Parson James, Lindsey Stirling, Martin Garrix ft. Usher, MAX ft. Hoodie Allen, Migos, Megan Nicole, Nicky Jam & Enrique Iglesias, and Shamir.

In ReForm, a new franchise from The Creators Project, we meet the artists creating and re-appropriating the latest technologies in various areas of creative expression.

The Creators Project Published on May 19, 2015
ReForm | Hollywood’s Creating Digital Clones
In the premiere of our ReForm series, we explore the frontier of the 3D face- and body scanning technology used to create digital doubles for films, video games, and holograms. We meet some of the scanned humans, their avatars, and get to understand the challenges the Institute For Creative Technologies has had to overcome in their quest to create a photo-realistic virtual person, including the conquering of the Uncanny Valley.

The Creators Project Published on Jun 25, 2015
ReForm | Data Becomes Art in Immersive Visualizations
In the second episode of ReForm, we look at how big data and art have converged into a new visual culture. Six major data artists (Mark Hansen, R Luke DuBois, Kate Crawford, Jer Thorp, Fernanda Viegas, and Martin Wattenberg) discuss what it means to make art in the 21st century and how quantification and digitisation is completely changing the way we live and create.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

4 Comments

Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, Design, Geography, Innovation, Inspiration, Media, Name, People, Politics, Project management

Otago Polytechnic: Dunedin School of Art —SITE 2013 [student showcase]

SITE 2013 - Image by Jo Papps 1SITE 2013 – Image: Jo Papps

23 Nov & 25-28 Nov, Dunedin School of Art (DSA), Riego Street (off Albany Street)
Art lovers will be engaged and inspired by a varied range of unique artworks in this celebrated end-of-year exhibition from the Dunedin School of Art. The featured artists are all final year undergraduate students and each of the School’s studio areas are represented. Prepare to be impressed by the talents of this next generation of artists. Many works will be for sale. See SITE 2013 Event on our facebook page

Exhibition opening hours:
Saturday 23 Nov, 10-4pm
(Sunday closed)
Monday 25 to Thursday 28 Nov, 10-4 pm

See ODT article with a glimpse of works by Tara James and Cheriene Singer in the upstairs gallery. (image: Tara James, Dumb Animals, 2013 installation from SITE 2013 – Tara is currently on a work placement at the DPAG)

DAS Link (news)

Related Post:
9.11.13 Otago Polytechnic: DEBRIEF and Collections 13 [student showcase]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

2 Comments

Filed under Events, Fun, Innovation, Inspiration, Media, New Zealand, Otago Polytechnic, People, Pics, Project management, Site

Reykjavik, Iceland: The strongest mirror [speculative apartments]

I missed it – the Otago Polytechnic press release of Thursday 21 March.

Icelandic Activist To Speak At Dunedin School Of Art
Iceland democracy activist and artist Hordur Torfason will be speaking at Otago Polytechnic’s Dunedin School of Art on Wednesday the 27th of March, as part of a series of nationwide talks on modern democracy. cont.

By chance, at morning coffee a friend mentioned the speaking event and offered a ride there. Well. Not one speaker, but two —good fortune doubled. All Dunedin residents should have downed tools, pots and pans to attend.

The two men from Iceland, Hordur Torfason and life partner Massimo Santanicchia, each delivered a session, with Santanicchia up first. They shared intriguing, calm, sensible statements about their lives and work, about the quality and countenance of human social interaction, within a gripping exposé of the capitalist drain and the peaceful revolution that occurred in their financially devastated homeland — with thoughts to urbanism, greed, discrimination, corruption, property speculation, sick governance, economic collapse, human rights, the lobby power of silence, noise and internet, and the Icelandic people’s hard-won solidarity for change.

A compelling two-hour glimpse at a nation losing and finding itself.

Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik, is the strongest of mirrors held to Dunedin’s glaring errors of recent and pending ‘big’ construction, economic blunders, and forces of business and political corruption – in turn, Dunedin reflects our nation’s wider political and economic struggles.

[Dunedin, we’re not crippled yet… but New Zealand? Blind rhetoric.]

ODT 21-12-12 screenshotProposed hotel and apartment building, Dunedin (ODT Online, 21 Dec 2012)

Derelict Reykjavik Highrises (Donncha O Caoimh 9-3-12 inphotos.org)Derelict Reykjavik highrises

While on our photowalk today we passed these buildings on the sea front. I thought they were just another apartment building until I noticed that the balconies were fenced in by planks of wood held together loosely!
Donncha O Caoimh (9 March 2012)

Originally from Perugia, Italy, Massimo Santannichia graduated from the School of Architecture in Venice in 2000 and holds an MA from the Architectural Association, School of Architecture in London, and an MSc in Urban Studies from the London School of Economics. He has been working as an architect and urban designer in Italy, the UK and Iceland. Over the last decade he has come to know Reykjavik intimately. Essentially an outsider in the tightly knit Icelandic society he has survived the downturn by moving from the firm Arkitektur to a plethora of internationally connected activity – delivering courses at the Iceland Academy of Arts since 2004 and coordinating projects and workshops with organisations such as the International Peace and Cooperation Centre and the Architectural Association.

Santanicchia’s research interests include relations between the ecological, physical, social and economical aspects of cities. He has lectured extensively on the subject of sustainable cities and small scale urbanism in Zurich, Athens, Oslo, London, Venice, Riga and Reykjavik.

Massimo Santanicchia (AA Summer School promo for July 2013)Santanicchia, second from right (AA Summer School promo for July 2013)

The Production of Space: The lesson from Reykjavik

According to Santanicchia, small cities (less than 500,000 inhabitants) host fifty-two per cent of the world’s urban population, yet they are profoundly neglected in the urban studies field. His presentation at the School of Art focused on the small city of Reykjavik (118,326 inhabitants), investigating how the planning system is trying to build a new urban strategy away from the world city model which was adopted until the banking collapse of 2008.

Reykjavik, Iceland - houses (trekearth.com) 2Reykjavik, Iceland – vernacular housing (trekearth.com)

Commodifying the view…
In particular, Santanicchia noted Reykjavik’s receipt of its first ‘tall buildings’, a crop of extraordinarily bleak apartment developments set against the vernacular lowrise, 3-4 storeyed townscape, blocking existing residential views of the coastline – through to (now dead) speculative drive-to malls and commercial buildings [‘build it and they will come’] further problematised by the profound lack of public transport and infrastructural support to the (then) ‘new phase’ of development.

Throughout the commentary, the physical and moral contradictions were purposefully illustrated by well-selected slides, quotations, and use of statistics. Santanicchia’s creative and socio-political approach to what ails, and demonstrations of how to foster community investment in sustainable environment, is the busy-work of a contemporary intellectual with a warm humanity, grounded in the discipline of practical economics working for the public good.

He and students have won grants to set ‘in place’ temporal urban interventions that sample ways forward for the local community, utilising vacant and degraded public places; demonstrating creative re-design / re-forming of the opportunities lost to the blanket of capitalist-grey asphalt – making places that create “trust” between institutions and among people.

Massimo Santanicchia, Reykjavik (project work)Reykjavik’s dislocated waterfront (‘reconnection’ project work)
[This work is very similar to that of Gapfiller in post-quake Christchurch.]

Copy of Santanicchia’s presentation slides and readings will be made available through Professor Leonie Schmidt (Head, Dunedin School of Art).

A few points he made along the way, from my notes:

● When “priority is given to economic development” …. the city becomes all about ‘building envelope’, ‘the city as a series of volumes’ (bulk and location) | “Management of the economy is not a city, is not urban planning.”

● In 2008, Iceland’s economy shrank 90%. The economy devalued by more than 100% in one week. 1000 people emigrated which kept unemployment low.

● “Big-fix” solutions don’t work in a small city.

● The DANGER of “one idea” …. “it is NOT a plurality”.

● “The WORST is what was built.” Flats and parking lots. No public transport. No sharing. 7000 apartments at Reykjavik are redundant. 2200 properties have been acquired by the banks.

● “The WORST neighbourhoods were created in the richest years.”

● The government didn’t protect the weakest. “The architecture failed because it placed itself at the service of political and economic interests with very little regard for social interests.”

● (Jane Jacobs, 1984): “The economic model doesn’t provide niches for people’s differing skills, interests and imaginations, it is not efficient.”

● (Aldo Rossi): “Building a city is a collective effort.” [empower the people]

● Post-crash, Iceland’s birthrate has increased and children are happier.

● “Trust is about participation.” Better institutions, social justice, equity and public/private relationships.

Zurich: They used 4 hot air balloons to indicate the height and bulk of a proposed tower development, prior to public submissions being received on the proposal.

[In evidence, at Dunedin, applicant Betterways Advisory said it couldn’t afford to provide a height indicator at 41 Wharf St – all the cranes were in Christchurch (wrong), and where do you get balloons from anyway, it asked…. Mr Rodgers (Betterways), we know, took his mother-in-law ballooning in Germany recently. Perhaps he could’ve made a stopover in the Mackenzie Country on his way home.]

### architecturenow.co.nz 25 Mar 2013
Massimo Santanicchia visits New Zealand
By Stephen Olsen
Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter has won high praise from Reykjavik-based architect Massimo Santanicchia for the “observable scaffolding” it is providing for an area in transition.
Santannichia knows a thing or two about making waterfront spaces more accessible from sparking a design revival at the harbour’s edge of the world’s northernmost capital last year, within the context of an award-winning programme known as the Meanwhile projects.
Santanicchia has also been drawing audiences to hear his views on the ways in which Iceland’s largest city is embracing a more human scale of urbanism in the wake of the financial crash.
Read more

Hordur Torfason followed with a punchy impassioned delivery, spoken with a run of crowd scenes and peaceful protest images repeating behind him. Describing post-crash Reykjavik as a scene of ferment and healing, Torfason took us through specific mechanisms for the peaceful revolution that has worldwide and local application – hear that, Dunedin.

Shortly, Torfason will head to workshops in Cypress. The following interview (2011) covers the gist of his lecture.

A multi-talented individual, he told his story from the age of 21 (1966), of how he grew the personal confidence and expertise (“proving talent”) to lead the people of a city and a nation to overturn the Icelandic Government and jail the bankers. He said Parliament has almost lost ‘all respect amongst all Icelanders’. Nevertheless, there’s a bill in passage to make Iceland a Safe Haven for journalists, whistleblowers, international media – protected by law.

● He maintains the role of the artist is to criticise, that criticism is a form of love: “We have to use reason, cultural roots, feelings and the precious gifts of life – our creativity”, to ensure human rights aren’t undermined by economic growth and politics.

“It’s about learning every week, every day, new sides of corruption,” he said. “Inequality is a tool for extortion, a way to maintain The System.”

● Inequality won’t be removed by conventional systems: “If you want to move a graveyard, don’t expect the inhabitants to help you.”

● “The internet has to be protected to dislodge the monster.”

● “One big party owns one big newspaper for Iceland.” According to that paper there was no crash.

The key word is AWARENESS. The silence of government was upsetting to the people; it meant the people used silence as a mirror to the government and politicians, to protest their rights. The cohesiveness and cleverness of the protest, the silent revolution, achieved 100% success. “They the media won’t tell you [the rest of the world] about it.”

● “Stick together and use the internet.” Make Plan A, B, C, D, E. Protest by peaceful revolution v Arrogance.

● Just 25 people from around the world are responsible for the crash, and one of them was the leader of Iceland’s national bank.

Hordur Torfason - blogs.publico.es (juan carlos monedero June 2011)Hordur Torfason by Juan Carlos Monedero (June 2011)

### grapevine.is August 4, 2011
You Cannot Put Rules On Love
An Interview With Hordur Torfason by Paul Fontaine

“I tell people, ‘I’m not demonstrating. I’m fighting for a better life.’ I think aloud, ask questions, seek answers. I knew there was corruption in this country. But I never thought in my wildest dreams that the banks would crash. We have been told lie after lie after lie, and people just accept them. They say ‘þetta reddast’ [‘it’ll all work out’], until it affects them personally, and then they come screaming.”

The 2008 economic collapse of Iceland would send Hordur’s life path in a whole new direction—one that would take him beyond the bounds of even his own country.
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

4 Comments

Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, DCC, Design, Economics, Events, Geography, Heritage, Innovation, Inspiration, Media, Name, People, Pics, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Town planning, Urban design, What stadium

Barlow Justice Valuers / New Zealand Historic Places Trust—Heritage Interiors Award 2011-2012

Background and purpose
Dunedin’s unique look and feel is, in part, defined by its large number of historic and heritage buildings. Heritage interiors are a very important, but sometimes overlooked, part of Dunedin heritage. Ensuring restorations and adaptations of heritage building interiors respect and re-use existing heritage features and fabric is an important part of ensuring their future survival.

Barlow Justice Valuers and the NZ Historic Places Trust wish to recognise and highlight the achievements of building owners who have undertaken sympathetic restoration and refurbishment to interiors of Dunedin’s older buildings. The Dunedin Heritage Interiors Award recognises successful, and appropriately sympathetic interior restoration or upgrade projects.

The Award is administered by the DCC and may be given annually to building owners or developers who have, in the opinion of the judging panel, undertaken the most innovative and sympathetic heritage building interior upgrade and/or refurbishment project in the city.

General Information
Individuals or organisations may nominate their own or others’ buildings for consideration. Projects should reflect a commitment to the retention and re-use of interior features and building fabric. Eligible projects will have had work completed in the 12-month period to 1 December 2011.

The Award consists of a certificate and a cash prize of $1500,
which is awarded to the property owner. A certificate will also
be awarded to the interior designer/s.

Download Award information here:
Barlow Justice – NZHPT Heritage Interiors Award 2011-2012 (PDF, 493 KB)

Barlow Justice Valuers
New Zealand Historic Places Trust

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

Leave a comment

Filed under Architecture, Construction, Design, Economics, Heritage, Innovation, Inspiration

Urban Outfitters Corporate Campus / Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle

Updated post 18.11.14 at 7:02 p.m.

Urban Outfitters urbn banner [urbn.com]

Innovation Incubator
When profits depend on employees’ ability to create cutting-edge designs, a business simply can’t survive unless its workplace is an incubator for innovation: Urban Outfitters “lives and dies in creativity”. –Richard Hayne

After relocating to an abandoned naval yard, Urban Outfitters, the retro-chic retailer sees revenue skyrocket—and once skeptical employees have embraced the gritty, but inspiring space.

Amenities such as a gym, yoga studio, dog park, and farmers’ market further add to the lively and informal atmosphere. The exterior landscaping was designed by Julie Bargmann’s D.I.R.T. studio, known for turning derelict industrial sites into vibrant public spaces.

### hq.construction.com 1 December 2009
Urban Outfitters’ Edgy Adventure
By Jenna M. McKnight and Sebastian Howard
PHILADELPHIA—Richard Hayne, chairman and president of Urban Outfitters, met stiff resistance when he initially announced plans to move his company’s headquarters from traditional high-rise offices to five dilapidated buildings in the decommissioned Philadelphia Navy Yard. “I wouldn’t say it was a mutiny,” Hayne says, recalling his colleagues’ reactions. “But there were definitely some blank stares and ‘are you kiddings?’”
The retailing giant, which sold nearly $2 billion worth of its clothing and apartment wares in 2008, for many years had been spread among six buildings in downtown Philadelphia. This physical separation was “horrible”, Hayne says, because each department was “unsure about what the other was doing”.
Increasingly, Hayne realised that to maximise performance his company needed a unified campus — and a generic office park was out of the question given the spirit and reputation of Urban Outfitters.
Founded in 1970, the retailer offers hip merchandise with a vintage twist aimed at trendy, young buyers. Most of its retail brands, which include Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and Free People, are housed in renovated old buildings with double-height ceilings and exposed brick, concrete and timber.
So Hayne began looking for a setting for his new corporate home that would mirror the aesthetic sensibility of his stores, and in 2004, he found what he judged to be a near-perfect spot: the naval shipyard, which the Defense Department shuttered in 1995.
Read more

Urban Outfitters Corporate Campus, Philadelphia’s Navy Yard (2006) - Lara Swimmer PhotographyConversion of Philadelphia’s Navy Yard (2006). Photo: Lara Swimmer

### uli.org [Urban Land Institute]
Awards for Excellence: 2007 Winner
Urban Outfitters Corporate Campus
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Philadelphia Navy Yard, which encompasses more than 1,000 acres (405 ha), 2,000 buildings, and 2.5 miles (4 km) of riverfront, was decommissioned in 1996. In 2000, ownership was transferred to the Philadelphia Authority of Industrial Development (PAID), and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) began developing the property on behalf of PAID and the city. The Navy Yard is rapidly becoming a dynamic and viable new business location, as evidenced by the Urban Outfitters corporate office campus, which was completed and opened in October 2006.
Read more

Meyer Scherer & Rockcastle- Urban Outfitters HeadquartersUrban Outfitters’ pioneering move has positively impacted the entire Navy Yard. A new creative district, with top advertising agencies, graphic designers, and photographers, is growing around the retailer. New coffee shops and restaurants serve workers and visitors alike. More than 4,000 jobs have been created in the Yard since the company moved.
worldarchitecturenews.com (Thursday 29 Oct 2009)

UrbanOutfitters 2 - Lara Swimmer [archdaily.com]UrbanOutfitters 1 - Lara Swimmer [archdaily.com]UrbanOutfitters 3 - Lara Swimmer [archdaily.com]More photographs of the heritage dock yard complex by Lara Swimmer at archdaily.com (1 December 2010).

█ Website: urbanoutfittersinc.com

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

1 Comment

Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, Design, Economics, Geography, Heritage, Innovation, Inspiration, Media, Name, People, Project management, Property, Site, Town planning, Urban design

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.
Read more

Post by Elizabeth Kerr

Leave a comment

Filed under Architecture, Construction, Design, Economics, Events, Fun, Geography, Heritage, People, Politics, Project management, Site, Town planning, Urban design