It is easy to tear a single sheet of paper – and nearly impossible to rip a whole stack of them. Building on this simple observation, researchers at Georgia Tech, the University of Illinois, and the University of Tokyo created structurally engineered plastic tubes inspired by Origami arts. The physical endurance and structural flexibility of this lightweight material when folded and stacked, could have important implications on civil engineering, disaster infrastructure and urban resilience. In fact, Pritzker-winning architect Shigeru Ban is already employing some of these techniques.
While a resurgence in mixed-use development has contributed to more human-scale districts, Färgfabriken‘s Jan Ryden argues in a recent article for Volume, that it often lacks the diversity Jane Jacobs championed, driving up costs and limiting fine grain development. He proposes the re-application of Christopher Alexander’s design language to urbanism. The article critiques large developers but, ironically, this strategy could create new business opportunities for these very companies.