Florence says no to new tramline; city says it will be built anyway – International Herald Tribune

Residents of the city that gave birth to the Italian Renaissance voted against a plan to build a controversial tramline through the historic center, but they will probably get one anyway, officials said Monday.

Of about 120,000 residents who voted in the referendum over the weekend, 53.5 percent voted against the tram while about 46 percent voted in favor. Despite the rejection, after a campaign that brought out fewer than 40 percent of eligible voters for the nonbinding poll, city officials said they would proceed with construction of the €560 million, or $820 million, project as planned.

Read more @ International Herald Tribune – Florence says no to new tramline; city says it will be built anyway by Elisabetta Povoledo- .

The monstrosity next door

The City Council is considering a proposed ordinance that would curtail “mansionization.” If the measure passes, the maximum allowable size of a house on many residential lots would drop from about 7,000 square feet (excluding garage) to about 3,000.

The use of the word “mansion” here is not complimentary. It’s meant to conjure up a scenario in which a residential street of, say, 1920s cottages or 1950s ranch houses suddenly gets a new neighbor — a 3,500- or 4,000-square-foot house with two full stories. Though meeting the required setbacks, the building’s bulk makes it more visually prominent than the older houses on the street. What’s more, it may have an architectural style or features that some find ugly — or simply out of place on the block. The result: unhappy longtime homeowners bemoaning the changing character of their neighborhood — loss of privacy, sunlight, views or charm — and demanding that City Hall do something.

Read more @ Los Angeles Times – The monstrosity next door – Todd Gish.

Oases in the sky are a growing trend in our concrete jungles

Scientists and property developers say green roofs on commercial buildings are good for the environment and good for the soul.

“Green roofs reduce energy through insulation, reduce stormwater run off and benefit individuals and communities,” says Green Roofs Australia president Geoff Wilson. “But Australia is behind the rest of the world. We have to act soon. Climate change is a fact.”

read more @ theage.com.au – Oases in the sky are a growing trend in our concrete jungles | .

Architecture and Landscape Competition – 21 January 2008 – 10 March 2008

This competition invites you stand on the shoulders of giants like Frank Gehry and gaze into the far reaches of imagination and technology. We challenge you to create the most awe inspiring architecture and landscape – to stretch the envelope of human experience and to dazzle the senses.
What we want.
Awe inspiring fusions of architecture and landscape – that simple. The emphasis is on imagination and artistic expression.
What we don’t want.
Technical marvels that are cold and devoid of artistic merit and beauty.

Deliverables – Submitting your entry
One image per entry must be uploaded prior to March 10th 2008.

Images must be 2560 x 1600 JPEG images – at least 90% JPEG quality.

Entrants must be members of CGTalk or CGSociety. The entry process will walk you through a free signup if you are not already registered.
NVArt – artspace | Architecture and Landscape

The new feminine face of architecture

The new feminine face of architecture
Architecture is being feminised. Amanda Levete of Future Systems discusses soft swoops, flowing loops, and why hard-edged modernism is so over

Read more @ The new feminine face of architecture – Times Online.

Vietnam – Coastal tourism taking off

In late 2007, the Vietnam Import-Export and Construction Corporation (Vinaconex) kicked started its project at the Cai Gia – Cat Ba – Hai Phong Tourism and Urban Area by developing the infrastructure for Tung Thu artificial beach.

Tran Ngoc Quang, Director of the Management Board, said the project covers an area of 171 ha within Ha Long Bay. It is estimated to cost $600mil and will take 8-10 years to be completed.

Speaking on Vinaconex’s ambitious plan, Mr. Quang said this will become the new tourism center in the North and give Cat Ba Island both regional and global recognition and fame.

Read more @ VietNamNet – Coastal tourism taking off.

Hands off Greenbelt, urban planner says

Ottawa needs to redevelop to improve the lives of city residents but growth should not be in the Greenbelt, says Larry Beasley, one of Canada’s top urban planners and a senior adviser to the National Capital Commission.

The chairman of the NCC, Russell Mills, recently sparked controversy by saying that the city might want to build on some of the less vital parts of the Greenbelt, a 20,000-hectare ribbon of land owned by the federal government that encircles central Ottawa.

Read more @ Ottawa Citizen – Hands off Greenbelt, urban planner says.

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