city & bioregion

My chances of survival

Is there something in the air in this town? Seattle’s W Hotel has more features than I need and they don’t all work. A 64-page catalogue in my room lists an extraordinary array of services ”masterfully orchestrated to surround you with style, service and comfort”. A menu for pets is available 24 hours. So too […]

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Creative class on the run

A trouble-maker sent me a copy of Richard Florida’s new book, The Flight of the Creative Class – hoping, no doubt, that I would be rude about it. Perish the thought. Florida’s new book has two virtues. First, Florida argues for “a broadening of the definition of creativity that will ennoble and encourage the everyday […]

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Are cosmopolitan cities creative?

Do mixed societies innovate more than homogeneous ones? How do new ideas and innovations emerge when people of diverse cultures interact? Comedia has launched an eighteen month project across cities in several countries called The Intercultural City to find out how interractions between cultures might be formed into new products, services, and styles – and […]

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Jugaad and its limits

Indian users of technology-based devices cannot rely on formal networks of distribution, support and maintenance: these are often incomplete, unimaginative or unrealistically priced. They therefore turn to the temporary fixes or ‘jugaads’ carried out by Indian street technicians. An army of pavement-based engineers and fixers keeps engines, television tubes, compressors – and a thousand other […]

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Architecture as old media

Architecture used to focus mainly on the design of buildings. Nowadays, the spaces between them are also important. Applications such as geocaching make even small real-world spaces easy to locate and access; this transforms once marginal spaces into viable assets. A new variant of this theme, called urban agriculture, converts other kinds of idle and […]

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Open Source Architecture

Usman Haque has posted an enticing description of his pre-Doors8 workshop on Open Source Architecture. Please remember that that you need to register first in order to take part in Usman’s workshop.

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The shadow city

One of the North-South links we will explore at Doors 8 concerns the importance of un-designed urban areas as sites of social innovation. Half or more of the inhabitants of major South Asian cities like Delhi are ‘illegal’, but they are economically active, too. In Europe interest is growing in so-called ‘free zones’ as breeding […]

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Spatial slop

Tristram Hunt’s terrific book about the rise and fall of the Victorian city in Britain is full of insights about about infrastructure. One reason for the decline of cities, for Hunt, was the failure to control housing densities. By 1897 the quaker inspired Cadbury Bounville estate was built at 20 dwellings per hectare, and Ebenezer […]

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Clogging up the City: Flows of Fat in Bodies and Sewers

I’m repeating a plug here (published before in our newsletter) for this memorable paper, by Simon Marvin and Will Medd, about the circulation, deposition and removal of fat in bodies, sewers and cities. “Our emphasis is on the metabolisms of fat across the different levels of bodies, infrastructures and cities” say the authors; “We explore […]

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