Thursday, 19 December 2013

Urbanising tha suburbs

Housing and park replace parking lot in suburban Seattle. I still wander wether the sidewalks are walkable. In any case it seems like a good example of densification and reduction of car use. Hoping to see more of such developments.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Urban vs suburban

Breaking the myth of the lower cost of suburban development. Worth a read. Even though it is only based in Canada, many of the observations are comparable to other European or American cases.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Mexico city claims rights for pedestrians

Alejandro Hernandez comments on the minority (car drivers) that occupy the majority of public space in Mexico City. New plans for prioritising the pedestrian.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Still building unnecessary skyscrapers...

One more time. Rotterdam has 30% of its built office space lying empty, yet the city government still co sponsors the building of new starchitecture. Continuing the collage of Rotterdam. Is it ever going to stop?

Rem Koolhaas's De Rotterdam: cut and paste architecture

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Fred Kent in The New York Times in 1993

The influence of William H Whyte saw some popularity in the 1990s
It is a shame that these type of position towards public space is still not more generalised in urban planning internationally.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Happier cities

When investment in public transport infrastructure beats roads. Bogotá case study.
The secrets of the world's happiest cities

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Polyport 1

Polyport has began. 15 schools of architecture in Rome, 2 days of harbours. For us, one year of work on the harbour of Callao, Lima, Peru. Upcycling, local markets, flexible housing and streets.
Students ready to present!
Well done Shea, Sandra, Tom, Martin, JB and Matthew.

Michelle will have the pictures when we are back.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

New streets old streets

Rome's fabric is full of surprises. One street one building, and one street one building that once was. This is Testaccio. Tevere 100 meters away.

Getting ready for Polyport!

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Why streets should have trees

This is a very clear study on the basic function of urban trees

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Walking in skinny streets

Jeff Speck on cars and walking. How density, city living and walking can improve our health and economies.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Street Sections Kilkenny

A greatly productive day in Waterford with Miriam Fitzpatrick and a good group of students. One more city, Kilkenny, analysed by its street sections. Soon I will be uploading the students' work on the website. Thanks Miriam and students!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The highrise

No street. No ground. Just rise. An illustrative history of the high rise in four video chapters by the New York Times.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Building age map of the Netherlands

Fantastic map of the Netherlands by Bert Spaan. Each building has a color code showing its age. The differences between cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam are evident and clearer than ever.,4.331,13

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Pittsburgh downtown

Simple tranaformations may allow an array of new uses of city centres.

In the case of Pittsburgh :

'Transforming downtown into a neighborhood means making it more inclusive for families and others beyond just office workers.'

This may sound obvious, but at least asking the right questions is a way to start.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Street Design from Milano

It will be interesting to see this in detail. The Italian take on new street design should shed some light of the regional characteristics of the street, or maybe of models to understand and follow. New post about it when I get the book.

Street Design. Progetto di strade e disegno dello Spazio Pubblico | Street Design and Public Space

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The end of the suburbs

Today, a book I would like to take a look at. Interesting to see the view of a North American journalist on the issue of housing and dwelling in the US. On my list

The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream Is Moving , by Leigh Gallagher

Friday, 20 September 2013

Boston Street installation

Can a single installation change the perception of a street? This piece of street are in Boston tells stories of the past in sound and image. How does this really affect the pedestrians experience? If the author is right, this piece not only brings attention to the installation but also to the already existing venues of the street.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Glasgow regeneration schemes

The impact of urban regeneration on society.
Stories from the ground. Highly recommended website.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Unborn streets

The construction of layout that development started, which inevitably collapsed with the market in 2008. Black Mountain Nevada. Thanks Miriam Mahiques for the link

Visible Invisible - Urban History in Catania

Visible Invisible is the latest conference of the Italian Association of Urban History. 400 participants, about 50 sessions in three days. Respect to the organisers for putting together such a massive event. Absolutely stunning location in the Benedictine monastery in Catania. Fantastic southern italian food.
It is very difficult to focus on anything specific in such an event. Very difficult to know which session or paper will be good, interesting, exciting, innovative. So you end up picking randomly and liking, as usual, one or two papers out of the whole conference. However, the strongest point is what you can build up in your own session, the possibilities of collaboration, especially international, even in an extremely local context. So I thank Giovanni, Michael and Miki for putting the session together and hope to continue working on the project.

For more information on the conference.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Via Etnea, Catania. My first street in Sicily

Via Etnea is a good street.
It is 8pm. People walking by. All ages. Mostly locals and some tourists. Some stores open, some closed. 3 story buildings, very tall. Generous space for pedestrians. By the look of it all buildings are occupied over the shops. Some apartments, some hotels and some offices.

It was built in 1693 under the direction of Duca di Camastra, after an earthquake destroyed great part of the city. It is now one of the most populated streets in the city.

And I will now eat my bruschetta, while i study the program of tomorrow's conference.

Spatial planning and Governance. The case of Brazil by Roberto Rocco

On my way to a conference on urban history in Catania, I came across a very insightful article by my colleague from Delft, Roberto Rocco. Spatial planning is not enough. Research is not enough. It is in the interaction between governing bodies and research and design practices that the real problems of cities can be addressed. Thanks Roberto.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

About suburbs and density.

This article attempts to defend suburbs from the accusations of bad urbanism in the 20th century. For a defensor of density like me, it is not really convincing. However, even if it applies mainly to North American cities, it has a point in questioning the easy accusation against the suburban typology.

It’s not the suburbs, it’s mid-late 20th century urban design, planning, engineering, and architecture

Saturday, 7 September 2013

OMA masterplan for Bogotá. Have we not learned?

For a couple of decades, Bogotá  succeeded in improving the quality of life of its population by very careful strategic moves. Now a speculative pseudomodernist urban planning seems to finally be taking over.
It is unfortunate to see this turn of events. The plan appears to erase any footprint of the past; zoning the area eliminates the posibility of any mixed use or flexibility in the future; and by the plans it becomes apparent that this is yet another top down geometric layout for a sizable and significant part of the city, with little regard for human scale or people's interaction.

Read on and see.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Detroit new ideas

Is Detroit behaving like a new artist quarter? First urban farm, then young artists, then young entrepreneurs...potentially gentrified?
It is a great opportunity not to be overlooked, but it has to be handled with care. A city is not a quarter.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Jane Jacobs

Back from the summer break and ready to connect my posts of different sources FB, Twitter, QUB, etc.

Let's start with a classic, interview to Jane Jacobs by James Howard Kunstler

On education, the city, demolitions, profit and social wellbeing.

I particularly like the passage:

'One of the things that angered me so much in urban renewal was the West End of Boston. You know there was a phantom community to this day. They have a newspaper that comes out periodically, these displaced people and their children. That was before Ed Logue [head of the Boston Redevelopment Agency in the 1960s]ead of H. Well, I talked to two architects in ’58 who helped justify the destruction of the West End. And one of them told me that he had had to go on his hands and knees with a photographer through utility crawl spaces so that they could get pictures of sufficient dark and noisome spaces to justify that this was a slum -- how horrendous it was.'


Wednesday, 10 July 2013


This is STREETSPACE, my new blog.
I will be posting news and comments about the street, architecture and public space.