New ‘Future Cities Laboratory’ for Singapore

ETH Zurich, a Swiss University and the National Research Foundation of Singapore have signed an agreement for the “Future Cities Laboratory”. This set the seal on the structure of the new platform for urban development in Singapore.

In this project, it is collaborating closely with scientists from the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University. An agreement was signed in Singapore on 19 March 2010 forms an important link between the NRF and ETH Zurich as they build up their joint research activities. The plan is for the interdisciplinary research platform for sustainable urban development in Singapore to be staffed by September 2010.

The research focuses on three key scales: sustainable building technologies, the city as an urban system, and the relationship between urban and rural environments. The new strategy of the “Future Cities Laboratory” consists of combining these key points in an appropriate way and researching their interactions. The architects, planners and scientists see and design the city as a dynamic system in which people interact and in which resources such as energy, water, space, capital, materials or information are constantly in flux.

[SOURCE: ETH Zurich]

NBBJ and Chan Krieger Sieniewicz to merge

NBBJ, a global architecture and design firm, and Chan Krieger Sieniewicz, internationally-known for urban design and architecture excellence, announced today a merger of the two firms that will create an integrated team of over 700 architects, landscape architects, urban designers, planners and interior designers.

The Chan Krieger Sieniewicz team, including its five principals, will continue in their current roles. As part of the transition to the NBBJ name, the Cambridge office will operate as Chan Krieger NBBJ.

The merger gives NBBJ, which already operates a project office in Boston, a larger presence in New England. The Seattle-based firm has offices in several U.S. cities, including Columbus, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Seattle. Overseas offices include London, Beijing, Shanghai and Dubai.

SOURCE: NBBJ.com

Underpass Park unveiled

Before-after-Underpass-Park_West-screen-res

A derelict area beneath a series of overpasses in the West Don Lands is going to be transformed into the most extensive park to ever be built under an overpass in Canada, and the first in Toronto.

Located within the West Don Lands – home to the 2015 Pan American Games Athletes’ Village – Underpass Park will cover a total of 1.05 hectares (2.5 acres) under and around the Eastern Avenue and Richmond/Adelaide overpasses, between Cherry Street and Bayview Avenue.

Designed by renowned landscape architects Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg in association with The Planning Partnership, Underpass Park embodies design excellence and is the epitome of innovative urban park design.  The design creates a socially-engaging park for community members of all ages and abilities by incorporating public art, recreational space, playful climbing structures and play areas, flexible community space, community gardens, and public gathering places.

Before-after--Underpass-Park-Rendering-evening-screen-res

[IMAGE SOURCE: Waterfront Toronto]

UK Survey finds shortage of landscape architects

Green space skills: 2009 National employer survey findings, a survey commissioned by CABE and English Heritage, is the first to reveal the full extent of skills shortages in the green space sector in the UK. The report has found that 14.9% of national employers found landscape architects hard to recruit due to skills shortage. Landscape architects were also on top of the table as the hardest to recruit out of all the green space skills.

22% of  respondents from the Private sector stated that it was harder to find landscape architects whereas only 8.5 of respondents in the Public Sector  found it hard to find landscape architects due to a skills shortage.

Green space skills shows an urgent need to address the skills shortfall to tackle climate change. Planning, design and management are what are needed to help to adapt green spaces to a changing climate, and these were exactly the skills which employers felt their staff most lacked.

The report also identified several priorities to counter the shortage including:

- Develop and maintain a strong evidence base to make the case for investment in green space skills

- Improve the availability and quality of training, including continual professional development

- Increase awareness of the sector and the opportunities it offers, to encourage more people into the sector

Download the report at the [SOURCE:  CABE]

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White House launches Urban Affairs website

The White House launched the Office of Urban Affairs website including a blog and Innovations and Ideas page where US citizens can submit ideas and best practices. This is a follow up to the Urban Tour which included 9 city centers and the Inter-Agency working group on urban policy.

The OUA blog states that the launch of the website is to

This effort is an important addition to our ongoing conversation on the Future of America’s Cities and Metropolitan Areas. We have already met with many urban stakeholders, elected officials, and academics; and we’ve been around the country visiting places that are on the cutting edge of urban innovation. But today we are establishing a more direct relationship with you – the American people. You are the ones that are innovating every single day – you are the innovators. You tackle government bureaucracy with creativity and leadership; you overcome a slow economy with public-private partnerships; and you turn distressed neighborhoods around with determination, hope and, above all, hard work.

The President knows that government doesn’t have all the answers. He knows that the best solutions come from you in places like Auburn Gresham in Chicago, South Lake Union in Seattle, and the small city of Flagstaff, Arizona – just to name a few. We know there are many more out there and we want you to share them with us.

Submit your idea or best practice (US Citizens)

[SOURCE: Office of Urban Affairs Blog - Announcing the White House Urban Affairs Website]

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