New Oxford Circus opens in London

Europe’s busiest diagonal crossing was unveiled today by London Mayor Boris Johnson following a £5million makeover which has seen Oxford Circus get the X factor.

For the first time ever shoppers will be able to cross the busy intersection diagonally in an ‘X’ as well as straight ahead – meaning the junction will be able to handle double the number of pedestrians and ease overcrowding.

Taking a lead from Tokyo’s famous Shibuya crossing, renowned for allowing large numbers to cross with ease, Oxford Circus, the gateway to London’s premier shopping destination, has had its barriers and street clutter ripped out and remodelled, giving the 200million shoppers and workers that visit annually around 70 per cent more freedom to move around.

SOURCE: Youtube – Tgear2009 (footage from BBC)

Marina in Chennai gets a makeover

The Hindu reports

Clutter-free and aesthetic walking spaces are an important aspect of urban design. By redesigning the promenade along the Marina beach front, the Corporation of Chennai has taken a step in the right direction. Two years since it went on stream, the project is nearing completion. “Everything has been done. It is time for Nature to take over and make the lawns verdant,” says K. Raghuraman, the landscape architect who has given the promenade its unique contours and character (K. Raghuraman Landscape Architects has been engaged in the design of 10 other beach promenades around the coasts of South India).

Read more at the [SOURCE: The Hindu: Marina gets a makeover]

International urban heritage conference in Riyadh, 2010

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will host next April (2010) the First International Conference on Urban and Architectural Heritage in Islamic Countries (FCUAHIC) at the Saudi capital of Riyadh to discuss the role of urban heritage in the cultural, social, and economic development in the Islamic countries.

For more information: www.islamicurbanheritage.org.sa

Ideas blossom on Berlin Wall death strip

The area that bounded the Berlin Wall stretches for 155km(96miles) known as No-Mans Land and the death strip is a vast green oasis running through Berlin, some watchtowers remain.
The AFP article tells us that

Dutch landscape architect Joyce van den Berg has set herself such a task, saying secret gardens, art installations and recreational spaces could flourish in what she calls a “trauma landscape”.

She sees her work as a race against time, and her ideas range from the fanciful to the highly promising.

Read more at the [SOURCE: AFP: Landscapes, ideas blossom on Berlin Wall death strip]

UMass plans to open urban design center in downtown Springfield

MassLive.com reports

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst will open an urban design center downtown early next year, marking the school’s first step to locate programs in Springfield.

Plans call for the design center to open on Feb. 1 and to provide a variety of programs in architecture, landscape architecture, conservation and regional planning, officials said.

SOURCE: MassLive.com – UMass plans to open urban design center in downtown Springfield

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