Ecological Urbanism Book Launch Reception at Harvard GSD

Ecological Urbanism book launch will be on the night of May 3  at Back Yard 6:30pm – 8:30pm

While climate change, sustainable architecture, and green technologies have become increasingly topical, issues surrounding the sustainability of the city are much less developed. The premise of the book is that an ecological approach is urgently needed both as a remedial device for the contemporary city and an organizing principle for new cities. Ecological Urbanism approaches the city without any one set of instruments and with a worldview that is fluid in scale and disciplinary approach. Design provides the synthetic key to connect ecology with an urbanism that is not in contradiction with its environment. The book brings together design practitioners and theorists, economists, engineers, artists, policy makers, environmental scientists, and public health specialists, with the goal of reaching a more robust understanding of ecological urbanism and what it might be in the future.

With contributions by Homi Bhabha, Stefano Boeri, Chuck Hoberman, Rem Koolhaas, Sanford Kwinter, Bruno Latour, Nina-Marie Lister, Mohsen Mostafavi, Matthias Schuler, Sissel Tolaas, Charles Waldheim, among others

For more information visit: Ecological Urbanism on Lars Muller Publishers site

Marsa Al Nejoum unveils master plan

Marsa Al Nejoum has unveiled the master plan for its waterfront Nujoom Islands project in Sharjah.

The master plan of phase one has been approved by Department of Survey and Planning, Sharjah. The developers have completed a major part of the infrastructure including the dredging works and all water canals for the Nujoom Islands, a cluster of natural islands located strategically on the coastline of Al Hamrya in Sharjah, and outside the residential area of the emirate.

Nujoom Islands is considered the northern gateway to the emirate of Sharjah, spanning an area of over 60 million square feet.  95 percent of the landmass including the islands is natural. The blue sea water flow and circulation will give a unique 36 kilometers of waterfront ambience for resident and visitors to the Nujoom Islands.

[SOURCE: Albawaba.com]

The New Bund in Shanghai

With only 12 days to the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai you have probably seen images of the new Expo site with its amazing pavilions. But there is more going on in Shanghai in the last 2-3 years than the construction of Expo. Last month the main promenade in Shanghai known as the Bund or Waitan was recently reopened after a two years of renovation which involved removing the main elevated expressway onramp and constructing a new traffic tunnel under the fill length of the road and the pedestrian promenade was widened and extended.

The Bund is a historical piece of the city that has dramatically changed from in the last century from a mud flat riverbank with wooden planks for baording boats and ships whilst overlooking the opposite bank of farmland to becoming a thriving pedestrian promenade in front of buildings dating from 1880’s to 1930’s now overlooking a modern metropolis of contemporary architecture; most of which was built in the last decade.

The renovated Bund is 2000 metres long (1.25 miles) with three levels – roadside, promenade and lower level plazas beside the river. The new Bund has done away with the concrete upstand walls replaced with a curved balustrade which is more comfortable to lean against and watch the ships, barges and ferries go by whilst looking across at Lujiazui, the modern financial district.

The new expansive bund is accessed by long ramps that  create dramatic sense of arrival to the promenade which is paved in light coloured large unit granite paving and timber paving replacing the small sized pink ceramic tile (installed in a 1993 renovation). The new design also includes some new wave like glass sculptural roofs that give a different architectural dynamic although they are placed at the south end to ensure an unobstructed view of the historical buildings.

The renovation of  the Bund also includes renovated and new ferry terminal & jetties, a renovated weather station, thematic lighting and water sprays into the river. The lower roadside promenade and plazas are to include commercial shopping and restaurant areas.

The slideshow above can be enlarged to full screen by clicking on the four-arrow button (right side)

If you are coming for Expo or the 2010 IFLA Congress in Suzhou – the Bund is an interesting place to visit and take in the city. We will be featuring other posts about the changes that Shanghai has undergone in the last few years including Expo.

by Damian Holmes (Resident of Shanghai for almost 5 years)

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Harvard changing the profession

Karen Weintraub recently wrote an article for the Boston Globe – At Harvard, landscape architects reinvent roles, link disciplines in which Weintraub interviews Charles Waldheim on how the profession of landscape architecture is changing by winning and managing development projects as the chief consultant.

Waldheim is cited making some great statements about the profession and its future

“There’s an increasing sense that landscape architects are really able to better manage complex urban change over time’’ than people in other professions, he said. Landscape architecture “now ends up being a place where the arts, questions of urbanism, and questions of ecology can connect.’’

Waldhiem also cites work by department member Michael Van Valkenburgh and his role in changing the profession.

Van Valkenburgh’s development of Brooklyn Bridge Park, along the East River waterfront, for instance, reclaims previously industrialized land, knits together development and nature, and provides public space.

The article also cites other staff at Harvard and the role of landscape architecture.

I find the article interesting although stating most of what most in the field know it is great to see and article in the Business section of the major newspaper website discussing the role of landscape architecture in relation to development and climate change.

Read the full article by Karen Weintraub article at the [SOURCE: Boston Globe – At Harvard, landscape architects reinvent roles, link disciplines]

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Cream rises to the top for The City + The Arch + The River International Competition

The international design competition for the reinvigoration of the area surrounding the world renowned landmark the Gateway Arch has move on to the third and final design phase with Five Teams selected. When you look at the first list of nine teams announced back in February 2010 for the second stage it was the Who’s who of design but now that list is down to five teams; its the cream of the crop and the winner of the next stage will be a hard decision for all those involved and I guess we all have to wait until late September to find out the winner.

PRESS RELEASE

The leaders of the design teams entering the third and final stage of the competition are:

· Behnisch Team led by Behnisch Architekten – Stuttgart, Germany, Los Angeles
· MVVA Team led by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates – New York City
· PWP Landscape Architecture, Foster + Partners, Civitas – Berkeley, Calif.
· SOM, Hargreaves, BIG – Chicago
· Weiss/Manfredi, Architecture/Site Design/Urbanism – New York

“The goal of the first two steps of the process was to identify design teams with the talent, capacity and commitment to create thoughtful design solutions addressing the complex issues of the site and its relationship to the city, the river and the Illinois side. With this selection, that goal has been accomplished,” said Competition Manager Donald J. Stastny, of StastnyBrun Architects. “The selected teams represent local, national and international perspective, and we look forward to working with them over the next few months as their visions evolve and they create their designs.”

“Having this level of architectural, engineering and landscape design power focused on such a visible urban park is exciting,” said Tom Bradley, superintendent of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. “We are committed to incorporating our parks into the life of their surrounding communities. I look forward to seeing the designs in August.”

The five teams will begin now and work through the spring and summer on design concepts, which will be put on public exhibition on Aug. 17, 2010. Details will be provided closer to that date.

The eight member jury – which counts a Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic, a professor in the humanities, a former deputy director of the National Park Service, a real estate economist, a museum curator, renowned architects and renowned landscape architects among its members – presented its decision to competition managers after meeting with the nine teams that competed in Stage II of the competition.

The final jury pick will be announced Sept. 24, 2010. The project will be constructed by Oct. 28, 2015, the 50th anniversary of the completion of the Arch.

The public is invited to meet the design teams on April 28 at the Roberts Orpheum Theater downtown. Joe Buck will moderate a discussion about how their past work will influence their efforts to win this competition.

The “Meet the Design Teams” event will begin at 7 p.m. It is free and open to the public. Preregistration is helpful and available through the competition Web site,www.cityarchrivercompetition.org.

St. Louis native Joe Buck is the top play-by-play man for Major League Baseball and the National Football League on FOX Sports.

“I am looking forward to moderating a forum that promises to be informational, educational and exciting for the future of our community,” Buck said.

Buck will be joined in hosting “Meet the Design Teams” by Stastny, the competition manager.

The Roberts Orpheum Theater is located at 416 North 9th Street in downtown St. Louis. Public parking is available across the street.

Also while in St. Louis, the teams will explore the competition area, be briefed on project issues and the values of the national park, and get to know the region and its people.

To help the teams understand, from a personal standpoint, what the Arch stands for and the values it represents to our region and our nation’s history, members of the public are invited to share their thoughts, stories, photos and video. Competition organizers will post selections to the Web site and include them in a presentation to the competitors. This will help the teams in their effort to meet the design goals. Submissions can be posted to the Community Connections page of the Web site or to the City Arch River facebook and Twitter accounts.

Continuing education credits, HSW, will be awarded by the American Institute of Architects St. Louis for the April 28 event.

[SOURCE: City+Arch+River competition]

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