The Best Urban Planning Books Of 2010

Other
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
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One of the year's ten best books, according to Planetizen

Move over NY Times Holiday Guide… Our friends at Planetizen have come out with something wonkier: their annual top 10 list of books in urban planning, design and development. The winners were based on a combination of editorial reviews, popularity, reader nominations, sales figures, recommendations from experts and books’ potential impact. Some of our favorites include Los Angeles In Maps, a visual history of maps in LA that makes sense of the city’s crazy grids and charts development over the years; What We See: Advancing The Observations of Jane Jacobs, a collection of essays putting a fresh perspective on Jacobs’ views on topics like preservation and urban planning; and Reinventing the Automobile: Personal Urban Mobility for the 21st Century, which suggests shifting automobiles to “Ultra Small Vehicles,” which could mean far less gas use and even automated driving. Any of these would be a perfect gift for anyone who knows what FOR, CEQA, or TOD stand for..


New York Expands Pop-Up Cafe Program in 2011

City Terrain, East
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
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Returning the street to pedestrians with pop-up cafe's (Courtesy RG Architecture)

Returning the street to pedestrians with pop-up cafe’s (Courtesy RG Architecture)

Could 2011 be the year of the pedestrian in New York? Under the guidance of DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, NYC sidewalks will continue their slow march into the street next year as the city launches a major expansion of its “pop-up café” pilot program across its five boroughs.

The first pop-up café tested out in Lower Manhattan this year proved successful enough that Sadik-Khan has expanded the program, planning for up to 12 sidewalk extensions.

And they’re good for business. Read more after the jump.

I Saloni Kicks Off Street Walking Event

East, Pictorial
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
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Italian Trade Commission President Umberto Vattani cuts ribbon with Cosmit President Carlo Gugliemi and Federlegno-Arredo President Rosario Messina.

A weeklong celebration of Italian art and design kicked off last night at Scavolini, the haute kitchen emporium in Soho. Italian officials, architects, designers, and a sprinkling of royalty in attendance gave the event a mixture of gravitas and glamour.

Read More

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Tile of Spain Wants to Take You On Vacation

Other
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
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Valencia, Spain (Photo courtesy Wikipedia)

Valencia, Spain (Photo courtesy Wikipedia)

Want a free trip to Europe? Tile of Spain has just the ticket, but you have to act fast.  The tile manufacturer is offering four architects and interior designers a chance to taste the local cuisine, see a few of the local sites, take in a tile trade show, and probably learn quite a bit about the offerings of Tile of Spain.  But hey, it’s a free trip right?  You just have to answer a few questions, but, hurry, the deadline’s tomorrow.

Contest rules and info after the jump.

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Rose Window is Lower East Side’s Newest Star

East
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
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It’s official. The multi-decade restoration of the historic Eldridge Street Synagogue is now truly complete with the recent installation of the new rose window that we told you about last February.

Read More

First Ever Igloo In LA

West
Monday, November 29, 2010
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Our friends at Curbed just reminded us of the latest creation at Silver Lake archi-gallery Materials & Applications: Light Frames, an installation by LA architect Gail Peter Borden. The project consists of two parts: the “igloo”-looking segment, seen above, is what Borden calls an enclosed “chapel,” built out of translucent vinyl plastic and perfect for meditation. The second is a hand-assembled dome—its triangulated metal structure completely exposed—resting at the entrance to the gallery’s courtyard.  Together they resemble, perhaps, the love child of an Eskimo and Buckminster Fuller. Or at least that’s how this strange mind sees it. Read More

Philly Considers Times Square′s Forbidden Fruit

East
Monday, November 29, 2010
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Proposal for Philly's East Market Street (Courtesy Philly Daily News)

Proposal for Philly's East Market Street (Courtesy Philly Daily News)

Philly’s East Market Street could offer a small slice of Times Square’s neon nightlife if a proposed “commercial advertising district” makes it through City Council.  Developers and billboard proponents are betting that digital advertising signs will keep tourists shopping – and spending – downtown, but the Philadelphia Daily News says not everyone is going along for the ride.

More: If you build a billboard, will they come?

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A Thousand Drops of Light in Madison Square Park

East
Monday, November 29, 2010
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Scattered Light installation by Jim Campbell (Photo by James Ewing courtesy Madison Square Park Conservancy)

Scattered Light installation by Jim Campbell (Photo by James Ewing courtesy Madison Square Park Conservancy)

Upon first stumbling across this massive array of 2,000 LED lights encased in standard light bulbs in Madison Square Park a few weeks ago, I thought holiday decoration had come a little early to the Flatiron’s front yard, but as shadowed figures began moving across the field of light, it became apparent that this installation by artist Jim Campbell was something special.

More info and a couple videos after the jump.

Remembering Louis Sullivan, Seed-Germ Savant

Midwest
Monday, November 29, 2010
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Louis Sullivan set out to invent an architecture of democracy. (Courtesy Whitecap Films)

There’s been no shortage of worthy architectural documentaries in recent years, but you’ll want to make room on your DVD rack for the latest look at a major American figure: Louis Sullivan: The Struggle for American Architecture. Recently given its New York premiere courtesy of the good people at Docomomo New York/Tri-State, this touching and tragic film offers a portrait of the man who perhaps more than anyone aspired to create an American style of architecture, yet was left behind by a nation on the cusp of a century that Sullivan himself did much to define. Read More

Biennale Finale

International
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
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This is the last Venice Architecture Biennale post for 2010–I promise! The organization that oversees all the Venetian biennales (art, film, music etc.), la Biennale di Venezia, sent us a press release with the numbers from the just concluded architecture exhibition. It claims that 170,000 people visited the event, a 31% increase over the last architecture exhibit in 2008  (which had 129,323 attendees). It should be pointed out however that the older and more established art biennale had 375,702 attendees in 2009. The exhibition included the participation of 53 Countries and 20 Collateral events sponsored by international institutions and organizations and located in various venues in and around Venice. Read More

Urban Planning as a Psychoactive Drug

National
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
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Manhattan and Central Park (Courtesy jmac1963 / flickr)

Manhattan and Central Park (Courtesy jmac1963 / flickr)

CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta points out a University of Michigan, Ann Arbor study suggesting that city dwellers harbor more stress than their suburban counterparts, but says access to parks could be the cure. Researchers have found that spending time in parks or park-like settings can help reduce cognitive effort and promote relaxation.

While that may seem obvious, check out the rest…

Getting Ready For The Big One

West
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
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Earthquake damage in Haiti.

It sounds like a summer blockbuster, but it’s actually one of the most important symposia this year. Imminent Danger: Earthquake Disaster and Risk Reduction In U.S. Cities. It’s being held on December 1 at UCLA, and features engineers, physicists, geologists, architects, and public officials getting together to discuss how to best prepare for the inevitable ground shaking disasters that will hit our cities in the near future. Thanks (unfortunately) to recent quakes in Haiti, Chile, and China, the group has a lot of new input to discuss. “Every time there’s a large seismic event we learn more,” said Gensler principal Rob Jernigan, who is one of the event participants. He adds that the conference is also a way for  architects, engineers and other experts to come up with innovative earthquake-proof buildings that don’t look like large bunkers: “We have to design for lateral movements without making giant, clumsy joints. We can develop a level of refinement,” he said.

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