city & bioregion

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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Museum mania in China

The Chinese government intends to build 1,000 new museums across the country by 2015.A scary piece by Elizabeth Casale in The Platform, an e-zine on cultural policy, says that with approximately 100 urban areas with a population of 1 million or more, China’s place-based cultural strategy favours buildings as a symbol of cultural sophistication over […]

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Human scale architecture

Architects frequently complain to me that the architectural models they make for competitions cost them tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to make. That’s curious, because one-tenth scale model of a person standing can be purchased for 75 cents – far less than the $5 it costs to buy a model car at […]

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