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February 25 2014


February 05 2014


Is That A Pop-Up Pedestrian Plaza, Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?

Plus more incredibly silly urban planning-themed Valentine's Day cards.

All too often, February 14th means getting a generic greeting card with the basic "Happy Valentine's Day!" Our love is only worth a $3 piece of CVS cardstock suffocated by pink glitter. Or worse, our love is worth a free e-card.

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January 27 2014


Can Graffiti Be Good For Cities?

Graffiti isn't always a sign of criminal disorder; it can actually be a boon to cities' economies.

Late last year, 5Pointz a graffiti hotspot in Queens, New York, was whitewashed, erasing years of graffiti by artists from all over the world. Since the '90s, street artists have been allowed to spray paint the walls of the warehouse in Long Island City, and the work that appears has long been curated by the graffiti artist Meres, whose goal was to turn the industrial space into a graffiti museum. More recently, the building's owner, Jerry Wolkoff, forged ahead with plans to tear the warehouse down and turn the property into high-rise apartment buildings, starting by painting over the existing graffiti.

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January 23 2014


Cities From The Sky

Voici de nombreuses vues impressionnantes prises depuis le ciel sur des lieux et des pays aux 4 coins du monde. New York, les pyramides d’Egypte et l’Arc de Triomphe à Paris sont assez reconnaissables mais il y a également des vues plus surprenantes comme ce cliché au milieu de l’Océan Indien. A découvrir dans la suite.

New York, Etats-Unis.

Dubaï, Émirats Arabes Unis.

Shanghai, Chine.

Mexico, Mexique.

Barcelone, Espagne.

Amsterdam, Pays-Bas.

Venise, Italie.

Spoorbuurt, Nord des Pays-Bas.

Turin, Italie.


Moscou, Russie.

San Francisco, États-Unis.

Paris, France.

Seattle, Etats-Unis.

Chicago, États-Unis.

Cities from above 14 Cities from above 13 Cities from above 12 Cities from above 11 Cities from above 10 Cities from above 9 Cities from above 8 Cities from above 7 Cities from above 0 Cities from above 5 Cities from above 2 Cities from above 4 Cities from above 3 Cities from above 6 Cities from above 1
Reposted bypharts pharts

January 21 2014


The Parking Lots Of The Future Look Super Fun


Back in September, the Long Island Index, part of the nonprofit Rauch Foundation, launched ParkingPLUS, a design challenge that asked four architecture and design firms to come up with better ways for the community to potentially use the more than 4,000 acres currently devoted to parking lot asphalt in Long Island. A follow up to the Long Island Index's 2010 Build A Better Burb competition, the newly released ParkingPLUS proposals include everything from a signage revamp for existing parking lots to a design for a 30-acre parking playground filled with space for hockey, soccer and golf games.

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January 13 2014


Heartwarming Portraits Of Bus Drivers

Photographer Joel Devlin gets up close with the folks behind the wheel at a London bus depot.

The men and women who drive city buses are rarely celebrated. In the rush and crush of boarding, paying, and elbowing old ladies aside to get a seat, it's hard to catch a glimpse of who's behind the wheel. Buses, though, are not automated people-movers (yet), and photographer Joel James Devlin teamed up with bus operator Go-Ahead London to show the people behind the morning commute. The aim, he tells Co.Design, was "to shine a light on those people that sometimes go unnoticed, or sometimes are simply not appreciated."

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January 11 2014


Accession: kaleidoscopic city series by Ben Thomas

Accession: kaleidoscopic city series by Ben Thomas

Accession is the latest kaleidoscopic photo series from Ben Thomas and was shot in New York, Tokyo and Melbourne. It’ll be exhibiting during 2014. Of the work, Thomas says: ‘The series what shot with various lens on a Canon 5d mark iii body. Available light was used for each of the images. Most of the photos were shot from high vantage points- either rooftops of buildings or from a doorless helicopter, strapped in! A lot of time was spent fine tuning the perspective of the images as well as creating new geometric patterns at the join point of each image’.

Ben Thomas’s first book, Tiny Tokyo (Chronicle Books) is set to be released March 2014.

city reflection photography city reflection photography city reflection photography city reflection photography

The post Accession: kaleidoscopic city series by Ben Thomas appeared first on Lost At E Minor: For creative people.

January 06 2014


A Brief History Of Bike Superhighways

Norman Foster, the British starchitect who recently proposed a new cyclist-only highway in the sky, isn't the first to suggest a better way to commute on two wheels.

When a cyclist battles it out for road space with a multi-ton truck, chances are, the guy on two wheels is going to lose. So it's no wonder that bike advocates around the world want a way to elevate the status of cyclists with design that prioritizes their needs. In London, architect Norman Foster has unveiled the concept for an urban cyclist's dream: a sparkling, car-free stretch of elevated highway made especially for biking. Futuristic as the rendering (above) makes it seem, Foster's proposal hardly the first of its kind. Hopes for superhighways that let cyclists bypass city traffic safely and quickly have been around for almost as long as the bicycle itself, though few cities have been willing to implement such plans. Here's a brief history, and what Foster--and the rest of the world's bike advocates--could learn from it:

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December 10 2013


What Washington D.C. Would Look Like With Skyscrapers

As Congress debates D.C.'s building-height restrictions, we asked four illustrators to imagine what the city would be like if developers could build right up into the clouds.

Washington, D.C. has a height problem. For almost its entire history, builders in the nation's capital have faced restrictions limiting how high their structures could rise. Starting with regulations established by George Washington himself and written into Congressional law in 1899, anything resembling even the stout relative of a skyscraper has been banned within the district's borders. As the current Height of Buildings Act (passed in 1910) stands, buildings in D.C. are stunted at 90, 130 and 160 feet tall, depending on their zoning.

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December 04 2013


The 11 Most Resilient Cities In America

The Rockefeller Foundation's resiliency challenge will give 11 American cities support to improve their ability to bounce back from disaster.

As more of the world's population moves into urban areas, and climate change increases the likelihood of flooding and extreme weather, cities all over the globe will need to strengthen their ability to withstand disasters. This year, the Rockefeller Foundation is giving a few lucky cities a push with its 100 Resilient Cities challenge, which aims to give metropolises support to design and implement disaster contingency plans.

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Hop, Skip, And Jump Across The Street With New Artist-Designed Crosswalks

Clever graphics brighten up the streets of Baltimore. Why walk across the street when you could hopscotch?

Downtown Baltimore has just added some spice to the city's crosswalks, replacing the traditional, faded white lines with clever graphics created by area artists.

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November 19 2013


Beautiful cities on the water

Bangkok, Thailand
WaterCities07 650x432 Beautiful cities on the water

Giethoorn, The Netherlands

WaterCities05 650x487 Beautiful cities on the water

When pronouncing the phrase “city on the water” comes to mind Venice. Architecture, rich history and romance of the place turned this water attraction in Italy, a real treasure for tourists. However, in the world there are many cities, standing on the water. In this issue we will talk about the ten most popular ones.MORE CITIES


November 15 2013


Infographic: Just How Roaring Was 1920s New York?

An interactive map of jazz-era New York packs the sights and sounds of neighborhoods new and old, from Chinatown to Harlem.

A typical wander through New York's Upper West Side in 1929 would have left the pedestrian virtually deaf, assailed by the blasts of street construction and traffic horns. Having managed to escape these with their hearing intact, the aural assault was pretty endless: booming radios, metal-clanging garbage collectors, noisy boys, quarreling neighbors, and, yes, howling cats.

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November 14 2013


The 10 Smartest Cities In North America

Which cities are doing the most to become the sustainable, connected, innovative city of the future?

The survival of our species on planet earth is largely going to be determined by what happens in our cities. By 2050, 70% of the world's population will live in them. We are observing a mass migration to cities at an unprecedented rate. The growing urbanization places high demands on infrastructure such as transportation and building as well as increased demand for resources such as food, water, and energy. Global cities can not continue to sprawl as many U.S. cities did in the 20th century.

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Tags: Cities

November 12 2013


A 600–Foot–Tall City On Wheels, For When It's Time To Get Away From It All

Cities are so... static. The Very Large Structure will let an urban population just roll down the road if commerce or resources dry up.

When a city struggles––much like Detroit is struggling today––residents move. But what if the city moved instead? Madrid–based architecture student Manuel Dominguez imagines a mobile, nomadic city with his design for Very Large Structure, a gigantic community on wheels.

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November 03 2013


Nature At It’s Best Pictures Part 2

Here’s a 2nd part of Nature At It’s Best Pictures. Amazing photographs taken of nature, animals and city by various photographers.

bonjour paris 650x364 Nature At It’s Best Pictures Part 2

flying owl 650x433 Nature At It’s Best Pictures Part 2

milkyway cave 650x433 Nature At It’s Best Pictures Part 2

See more images on FunOfArt.


October 31 2013


Architect Wants To Reclaim Public Space, One Dumpster At A Time

Decades of rampant privatization have left New York's public spaces endangered. The backlash frothed and bubbled with the OWS protests of two years ago, but has since quieted. There were many lessons to be learned, and for designers, these included seeing that incremental change is possible in spontaneous bursts that work to subvert zoning codes or property boundaries. Their efforts most frequently took the form of informal installations that could literally pop up anywhere in the city and scuttle away before the authorities came knocking.

Designer John H. Locke sympathizes with these aims. But where others attempt to hijack a park or crowded sidewalk, his latest project goes where none have dared. Locke and his collaborators at the Department of Urban Betterment (DUB) literally went dumpster diving for a pop–up prototype that they say could deliver social and cultural benefits to New York neighborhoods.

The idea behind the fittingly named Inflato Dumpster is simple, and more important, feasible, Locke says. He points to the tent's $3,700 price tag, which DUB hopes to pay with funds from the project's Kickstarter. The parti consists of an inflatable, tent–like structure made of cheap, biodegradable mylar and, of course, an empty dumpster. The former is inflated inside the dumpster, taking advantage of a footprint roughly eight feet wide by 23 feet long. The tent roof then peaks at 25 feet, creating an airy and generous interior space amenable to hack–a–thons, urban strategy demos, workshops, and film exhibitions. The whole thing can be easily deflated, so by the time street cleaners or the trash collectors have swept through, not a trace is left of the inner–dumpster guerrilla activities.

Locke heralds the lowly dumpster as "the solid base of the intervention." That key piece of urban infrastructure is what differentiates DUB's from similarly minded pop–ups. The Inflato Dumpster forms a small, self–contained world of its own within the confines of the trash receptacle. It's of the street and separate from it, which, Locke tells Co.Design, "allows us to find and exploit street occupancy rules," without actually disturbing or occluding street activity. At the same time, the inflatable quality "lets us quickly deploy inhabitable space as a backdrop for activities that are naturally suited to these same questions of public space."

It's a nuanced solution that nudges against city legislation, and ad hoc urban design is an area in which Locke has some experience. His Phone Booth Book Share, which used New York payphone kiosks to stock libraries, was an Internet sensation (though a pragmatic failure). Even so, the experience inspired his serial experiments with neglected articles of city space. A dumpster, "something typically associated with waste and discarded materials," says Locke, is impermanent, and it frames an immersive environment that's partially concealed, leaving its interior somewhat of a mystery to passers–by.

Exactly what happens inside the Inflato is to be determined, but Locke envisions constructive and entertaining programs that engage nearby residents. The idea, he says, is to equip locals with the tools they'll need to "become more engaged members of public space." Long after the Inflato has come and gone, he hopes that the experience will trigger "a ripple of aftereffects that will germinate practical ideas and actions that are more inclusionary and empowering for the neighborhood."

Perhaps his is a plan that inflates the role of the individual citizen––blasé urbanite one day, public space activist the next.

Help support the Inflato Dumpster at the project's Kickstarter page, here.



Major American cities in their earliest photos

Major American cities in their earliest photos

Imagine New York City’s Upper West Side without the diners, the yellow cabs or the hustle and bustle. Or perhaps Las Vegas without the multi-storied casinos. Once upon a time each U.S. city was still developing and Business Insider ran down a list of 12 cities across the country that show them at their earliest form. From horse-drawn buggies of Los Angeles’ Spring Street to the dirt streets of downtown Denver, these photos will have you imagining life as an American pioneer—and grateful for all the conveniences we now have in the 21st Century!

vintage city street with old cars vintage city street photograph vintage city buildings vintage city pavilions

The post Major American cities in their earliest photos appeared first on Lost At E Minor: For creative people.

October 01 2013


London's Largest Living Wall Takes Root

London's newest green wall is also its largest. The 3,770–square–foot bio–tapestry cloaks the southern end of the Rubens Hotel at the Palace, just a stone's throw away from the symbolic seat of British rule. The Living Wall, with its dense variety of flora––some 10,000 plants––is a vibrant piece of public art, one with a sustainable ethos meant to be digestible by all.

The work functions as a "sustainable drainage system," says its designer, Gary Grant, which greatly aids in mediating the divide between urban hardscape and the environment. An ecologist, green consultant, and urban planner, Grant is responsible for pioneering what he calls "building–integrated vegetation" in the U.K. and beyond. The typology, which he explored in his book Green Roofs and Facades, includes living walls like the one at the Rubens.

"The lesson for projects like these is that vegetation is not just an optional extra that looks nice, but that it is functional," Grant tells Co.Design. This latest work, he adds, best encompasses his interest "in urban greening in order to restore biodiversity and provide ecosystem services––cooling, cleaning air and water, reducing flooding, and keeping us sane."

That last point is critical. The Living Wall is one green project of many developed under London mayor Boris Johnson's tenure. Johnson has pushed for SUDS, the sustainable drainage systems Grant describes, which help mitigate the disastrous effects of flooding. Vertical gardens and green roofs offer vital absorptive surfaces, capturing rain and airborne pollutants that would otherwise slick streets and contribute to flooding. "Buildings and streets are made more resilient to climate change through the integration of soil and vegetation," Grant explains. "Think summer cooling and reduction in runoff of stormwater."

At the Rubens, he was able to realize this in the form of walls that shore up 16 tons of soil, plus the aggregate weight of the plant life. Rooftop rainwater stores trickle down along the surface of the vertical garden, sustaining green life through all seasons. Rain is, after all, London's greatest natural resource, resupplied frequently and generously.


September 23 2013


Kickstarting: A Gorgeous Chess Set Of Famous Architectural Landmarks

The Staunton chess set has been the worldwide standard for the game for more than 160 years. Named after English chess master Howard Staunton, who signed and numbered the first 500 sets, these are generally the same pieces you, me, and Bobby Fischer grew up playing with. And it's probable that the next generation of chess novices and geniuses will be reared on them as well. That is, unless some other design comes along to replace it.

In all likelihood, Skyline Chess won't replace the Staunton set. But it's a nice contemporary complement if you like a design that's a little less 1840s on your table. The project reconceives the board as a site for modern urban conflict, its pieces based on architectural landmarks of the world's great cities. Only a London set is available for the Kickstarter launch, but makers Chris Prosser and Ian Flood promise many more are to follow.

Naturally, the idea came to the London–based architects and friends when they were playing a game. "We often play chess in the evenings, and our discussions tend to focus around architecture and design," they tell Co.Design. Noting the ubiquity of the Staunton pieces, they thought it would be fun to introduce some new characters. From there, the pair made the link from stylized combat to jostling skyline fairly easily. The exact translation from chessman to buildings fell more or less into place.

The duo 3–D printed an iteration that cast their city's most famous buildings as stand–ins for the familiar Staunton crew. The lowly pawn is represented by the humble terraced house that still accounts for much of central London's low–rise housing stock. The rook assumes the form of a Big Ben; the bishop is the bulging Gherkin tower by Foster + Partners. The sleek and domineering profile of Renzo Piano's Shard was a natural fit for the queen. Canary Wharf is the king, with a mighty presence.

The most radical metamorphosis occurs in the knight, for which the designers chose to drop the equine identity to reveal skeletal remains arranged in the shape of the London Eye. That translation, say Prosser and Flood, was the most challenging of the set to get right. They cite the knight's traditional role of "seeing the whole board" as the rationale behind the design––after all, there's no better view of the whole of London than from the Eye.

Of course, the architectural sites on the chess board will vary from edition to edition and city to city. But London presented the designers with the opportunity to explore the peculiar layered and often hierarchical landscape of their home city. "Part of London's intrigue lies in its density, and the point at which the city meets dwelling is a fine and often blurred line," they explain. "So when a pawn, or a terraced house, is about to take another more powerful piece, it speaks loudly both in terms of urbanization."

If the project's Kickstarter reaches its £25,000 goal, the team will roll out the London set, as well as move ahead with New York and Paris versions. The ultimate goal though is to take the game global: "Why not play your home city against that of your friends or family; London vs. Paris, New York vs. Rome, Dubai vs. Shanghai?"

Support the Skyline Chess Kickstarter here.


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