Cities and buildings are made for people and by people. Architects’ interpretation of the human body transfers into their architectural designs. Le Corbusier‘s tall and muscular person created utopian city sketches with large geometrical buildings. Similarly, Theo van Doesburg’s stacked up person looks exactly like many of his products. The way we perceive our surroundings influences how and who we shape them for. How would you, or your favourite architect draw the most vital of forms?
Re-thinking human relationships with water is critical for climate change adaptation. Waterfront cities have undertaken a range of initiatives to address sea-level rise and future water deficiency. Shaped like an upside-down umbrella, Tåsinge Plads, a public space in Copenhagen, uses clever landscaping and materials to both manage flood control and increase quality of life. The collaborative designs overcame restraints of traditional engieneering solutions. Would you agree that today’s complicated issues are better served by creative multidisciplinary approaches?
Across most of the western world, more people are living alone in cities than ever before. This shift provides independence for many, but also increases the risk of isolation. As Failed Architecture writes, when this shift is coupled with new developments that are devoid of shared space, the potential for social isolation, spatial segregation, and the overall atomization of society is exacerbated. Have we learned from past building mistakes or in the age of individualism, are we amplifying them?
As land becomes increasingly valuable, more cities are looking upwards to accommodate growth. Tall buildings create their own challenges however. But one key challenge – shadows and darkness – may be resolved shortly. Several approaches to reflect dispersed light into spaces that would otherwise be shrouded in darkness, including moving panels and curved windows, could contribute to more livable spaces in the skyscraper city.
Powered by demographic shifts coupled with a renewed interest in urban amenities, as well as transit, walking and biking, downtown cores have seen a major resurgence in recent years. And companies are taking notice. Through this shift, cities have learned many lessons. Now, Smart Growth America has distilled them into seven steps for downtown redevelopment. The full report, a valuable resource for cities, planners and councils looking to catch up, is available here.
At CoT, we’ve previously written about the health benefits of urban greenery, but could beautiful architecture have a similar effect? Researchers from the University of Warwick recently completed a study suggesting an attractive perspective, be it built or natural, has positive health effects. Strikingly, the crowdsourced results showed that photos garnering the best response often focused on built form, rather than nature. High quality citymaking, just what the doctor ordered?
Major increases in city land values, a side-effect of a revived appreciation for urbanity, have pushed planners, developers and designers to reconsider formerly overlooked spaces. A creative and pragmatic outlook is useful to maximize the value of these spaces, including New York’s Highline and Miami’s Underline. Now an exciting new generation of designs are emerging, such as Toronto’s Under Gardiner and New York’s Lowline. The marriage of market and creativity is a powerful force to enhance our cities.
Since the invention of automobile, increasingly car-oriented street networks have encouraged people to drive more, while simultaneously discouraging and, even criminalizing, walking. The result has been growing health issues, car accidents, and environmental problems. In response, city planners are experimenting with different methods to change the trend. Check out a series of bold moves and programs these leading cities are testing for car-free-ideals.
Historically unprecedented urban growth has led to tremendous technological advancements, but has severely diminished cities’ long-term sustainability. Inspired by similarities between urban systems and the natural environment, architects, urban planners and designers are starting to apply biomimicry to create more ecologically balanced cities. How can a city function more like an ecosystem? Find out more here.
After more than a half century of separation, public health issues have returned to the urbanism discussion. But what is a healthy city? In an illuminating interview with Metropolis Magazine, renowned architect and designer Jan Gehl offers his insight from more than 50 years of studying people and the spaces they love. He has found that sustainability and health are intrinsically related and that the cities that best address these issues are those that look at buildings and life simultaneously. They are also designed for people, rather than cars.