Working with the IWB to identify Innovative Strategies for Cities
A couple of weeks ago, one of my Archive DS partners, Dorian Moore and I participated as studio advisors for a large multi-team charrette at the Institute Without Boundaries (IWB), located at Toronto’s George Brown College. The IWD defines itself as follows – “The Institute Without Boundaries is a studio that works towards collaborative design action and seeks to achieve social, ecological and economic innovation”. Continue Reading
One of the things that we consistently stress is the need to travel and study varied urban conditions. We believe by studying these conditions that we can inform our projects and extend our experience and specialization beyond our own work. Being able to take an objective look at anonymous works around the global provides us the opportunity to critically analyze these places and transform our analysis into useful lessons. Continue Reading
Part of being a true urbanist involves reading up on current and classic thinking in urban development and planning. As part of what we like to do in this space is to provide guidance for those interested in furthering their understanding of urban issues. To that end we are presenting a few more books (two new offerings and two classics) to look at as you increase your understanding of the urban environment. Continue Reading
Cities are organic, they are always changing, evolving, growing, contracting and generally moving toward another place from the present. One of the drivers of change, at least for short periods, is the season of a year. Cities, where the four seasons are evident and pronounced, can take on a variety of visual and active changes that alter the way people feel and live in their particular urban environment. A healthy city is one where assets are fully utilized and offer an enhanced quality of life for its inhabitants – every month of the year. Continue Reading
There has been extensive dialogue about the way that the built environment has been created since the end of the Second World War in 1945. That was a seminal point in global history, where cities of the world started to build and rebuild themselves after severe disruption and destruction resulting in a fifteen-year chasm and a jolting double hit of the Great Depression followed by World War II. There was a clear change in emphasis from 1929 to 1946, where the focus of building cities, towns and villages moved away from being structured around people and the way environments had been built for centuries. A new emphasis was toward the development of a different world where accommodating technological advancements, and mass production was to be the driver of decision making. Fundamentally, this move eventually leads to deemphasizing the needs of the user (people) within the built environment toward tools (Automobiles).
Blank walls of a retail building – Pedestrian scale is not considered
People enjoy when the pavement is given over to pedestrians. A simple way to make the street a public space.
The study of urban spaces has a long established history. Urban cultural critic, Louis Mumford studied spaces as they related to the function of urban life. Renowned urban researcher William Whyte studied the way the design of spaces affected human behavior. Whyte’s approach harkened back to the days of the environmental design movement, typified by the late 60s/ early 70s teachings at such schools as the University of California Berkley and the University of Michigan. Continue Reading