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]

The new urban India

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article – Re-Imagining a New Urban India (subscription) written by Jaydeep Mody and Divya Dwivedi. The article looks at how urbanisation and economic growth go hand in hand and require macro and integrate planning.

Jaydeep Mody writes

Urban centers have the advantage of economies of scale and scope in offering a range of services to the citizenry that are simply uneconomical to provide in the vast rural hinterland……

Divya Dwivedi wrote

The concept of urbanization in India has been mostly oriented towards major cities, leading to the evolution of ‘two Indias’ – the rich urban India and the poor rural India…..

Read more at the [SOURCE: Wall Street Journal - Re-Imagining a New Urban India] (subscription)

Extreme Urban Makeover: Detroit

DAVID WHITFORD at TIME magazine reports on the appointment of star urban planner named Toni Griffin who is soon set to start her new assignment of Detroit’s downsizing and urban makeover. However, I don’t think this will be a one week project filmed for a one hour special on TLC or HGTV.

According to the article Toni Griffin who is Adjunct Associate Professor of Urban Planning at the Harvard GSD Department of Urban Planning and Design will be working within the city planning department but her role and other consultants will be funded by the Kresge Foundation.

The project will draw worldwide attention as many cities in the USA and Europe are going through the same process of planning the renewal and revitalisation of former industrial power house cities that have reduced in population but not size.

Read the TIME article at the [SOURCE: TIME - Downsizing Detroit]

RELATED STORIES:
Detroit taps planner for downsizing effort – Detroit News

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]

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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