city & bioregion

Water garden

This was the most interesting exhibit for me at the Milan Furniture Fair. Hidden away in a small courtyard, “Aqva Garden” functions as a distributed rain collector and water storage system. Unlike conventional recycling systems, which tend to be hidden away in clunky boxes, Aqva Garden’s unique branching system, which exploits the ways that water […]

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Global place – or is it a hat?

The following is the text of my lecture at the Global Place conference in an unseasonably warm Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Joshua Kauffman has posted an excellent summary of the event here). THE MAN WHO MISTOOK HIS WIFE FOR A HAT Some of you may know Oliver Sacks’ book “The man who mistook his wife for […]

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Talking Cities

Too much media coverage of architecture focuses on the banal excesses of Shanghai and Dubai. The more interesting story these days concerns marginal, residual and abandoned spaces left behind when industry disappears. A new publication, Talking Cities is all about “Guerilla Architecture”, “An-Aesthetics”, and “Architecture on the Edge’. Later in the year, a spectacular series […]

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Learning from steel cities

“Steel City awakens a longing for for authenticity in of a world where networks and technologies are no longer palpable. Steel City is a place of physical presence, the presence of body, of the haptic, of patina and aging. Steel City can be touched and felt”. Thus, poetically, Professor Wolfgang Christ, in his preview of […]

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Homeless urban designers

Cluster is running a series of pieces on the spontaneous cities, favelas, bidonvilles and squatter cities that grow independently “creating their own networks without the help of traditional planning or design”. In the new issue Frederica Verona describes her visits to numerous dormitories, day centres, and soup kitchens in Milan. She discovered that a number […]

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Biomedical downtowns

An intriguing story in next month’s Cluster magazine describes plans in China for the world’s first urban biomedical hub. Sascha Haselmayer, one of its advisors, writes that Fenglin Biomedical Centre will concentrate life science, medical care services, medical education, business incubation, and medical exhibitions, in the Xuhui district of Shanghai. Haselmayer says Fenglin is about […]

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Some enhanc-ed evening

AV Festival 06 is the UK’s newest, and largest international festival of digital arts, music, games, film & new media. With the theme of Life, it explores what happens as expectations rise that we might be able modify and improve our bodies and/or minds. More than 90 events will take place in NewcastleGateshead, Sunderland and […]

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Is sprawl good, after all?

I have always assumed that sprawl is a Bad Thing. For Jane Jacobs, in ‘Dark Age Ahead’, urban sprawl is something that “murders communities, and wastes land, time, and energy”. Sprawl is frequently blamed for environmentally-damaging transport intensity, the collapse of communities, even obesity. But James Woudhuysen, for one, thinks density has been over-sold, and […]

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Corrupted by cool?

Have cultural producers and designers become the stooges of property development? Guy Julier has invited me to stir things up in a talk at the inauguration on 2 March of DesignLeeds, a new research and consulting centre at Leeds School of Architecture, Landscape and Design. Invitations are available from Jean Horne: Telephone +44 113 283 […]

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