November 16, 2012

Can You Tell a City By Its Blocks?

What if city blocks could be extracted, isolated, stripped of all but their essential form, and lined up like soldiers for inspection? Would we know Paris or Berlin by the sum of their parts?

French artist Armelle Caron has satisfied this curiosity in “Tout bien rangé,” an assembly of what Caron calls “graphic anagrams” of well-known cities. The series, whose title translates roughly as “All in order,” is composed of digital images of cities printed on canvas — cities whole and cities disassembled, catalogs of parts for some Borgesian Ikea project.

Read more. [Images: Armelle Caron]

11:55am
  
Filed under: City Urban Planning Design 
October 15, 2012

Can You Spot What’s Wrong With These Urban Scenes?

It’s a good thing that Robert Rickhoff isn’t involved in any actual urban planning. Put in charge of a construction crew, he’d probably build a volleyball court in the middle of a highway or erect ramps so cars can catch some air.

Just such questionable public amenities are presented in Rickhoff’s graduate thesis at ArtEZ in the Netherlands, appropriately titled “Out of Place.” The surreal series of manipulated photos introduce a metropolis in which the architecture is twisted to spawn new, strange functions.

See more of Rickhoff’s work. [Image: Robert Rickhoff]

4:15pm
  
Filed under: Art Urban planning 
August 20, 2012

Can a Computer Tell Us What Makes Paris Look Like Paris? 

When the directors of Ratatouille set out to create the look and feel of Paris in computer-generated art, they faced the same question that faces any artist tasked with capturing any particular place: What is it — visually — that makes this place this place?

Read more. [Image: Pixar, Carnegie Mellon University]]

May 17, 2012
How and Why American Cities Are Coming Back

When one thinks of the larger demographic changes that have taken place in America over the last generation — the increased number of people who remain single, the rise of cohabitation, the later age of first marriage, the smaller size of families, and at the other end, the rapidly growing number of healthy and active adults in their later years — it’s hard to escape the notion that we have managed to combine virtually all the significant elements that make a demographic inversion not only possible but likely. I want to emphasize that I’m not predicting a massive invasion of the cities by middle-aged suburbanites and their children. I’m mostly suggesting that the emerging millennial generation — the second largest generation in American history, second only to the baby boomers — will find an urbanized form of life attractive. They will move to cities as singles; as couples; as young married families with small children. Will they want to live in the city when their children reach school age? I believe many of them will, but there is certainly room for debate on this subject.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

How and Why American Cities Are Coming Back

When one thinks of the larger demographic changes that have taken place in America over the last generation — the increased number of people who remain single, the rise of cohabitation, the later age of first marriage, the smaller size of families, and at the other end, the rapidly growing number of healthy and active adults in their later years — it’s hard to escape the notion that we have managed to combine virtually all the significant elements that make a demographic inversion not only possible but likely. I want to emphasize that I’m not predicting a massive invasion of the cities by middle-aged suburbanites and their children. I’m mostly suggesting that the emerging millennial generation — the second largest generation in American history, second only to the baby boomers — will find an urbanized form of life attractive. They will move to cities as singles; as couples; as young married families with small children. Will they want to live in the city when their children reach school age? I believe many of them will, but there is certainly room for debate on this subject.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

May 16, 2012
The Limits of Density

wellandlighthouse:

“The key function of a city is to enable exchange, interaction, and the [creative] combination and recombination of people and ideas. When buildings become so massive that street life disappears, they can damp down and limit just this sort of interaction…

What we need are new measures of density that do not simply count how many people we can physically cram into a space but that account for how well the space is utilized, the kinds of interactions it facilitates.”

Read more at The Atlantic Cities.

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