Sasaki and Olympic Green – LA TIMES

Christopher Hawthorne wrote an interesting article about the Olympic Architecture and was interesting to read about his conversation with Sasaki about the Beijng Olympic Green as follows:

“I was put through to Dennis Pieprz, the president of the firm, who oversaw its work on the Green. After I asked him whether he would be in the capital during my visit and available to give me a tour of the results, there was a long pause.

“Well, I haven’t been to Beijing in quite some time,” he finally said, explaining that Olympic officials had taken over and modified the Sasaki plan so extensively that the firm now basically disavows the final product.

And there it was, plain as day on the firm’s website, when I went back to check: “Sasaki had no involvement in the design and implementation of the final landscape for the Beijing Olympics.”

So much for signature Olympic architecture. This is something closer to the reverse: A firm anxious to scrub its name from the official record before the Games get underway.”

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times – Chinese architects the winners in Games – .

$400m windfarm approved

Otago Daily has reported that a $400m NZD ($295m USD) Mahinerangi windfarm proposed by Trustpower has been approved by the Environment Court.

Read more @ the SOURCE: Otago Daily

Shirley Hoy announces departure as City Manager of Toronto

Toronto City Manager Shirley Hoy today announced that she will leave the position of City Manager effective October 6, 2008.

SOURCE: Toronto Cty Council Press Release – Shirley Hoy announces departure as City Manager, Commitment to public service her hallmark.

Moving Downtown to save on car costs

The Associated Press and other news outlets have reported over the last few weeks on the growing trend for young people and empty nesters moving downtown in major cities across the USA to save on fuel costs and to reduce their travel time.

The other growing trend is more people opting to use public transport to get to work whether it be driving to a station and riding to work.

Both of these shifts in commuter patterns is due to fuel however it is not solely in the USA, across Europe and Asis are changing their habits however many governments have been left lagging on public transport as they never anticipated a huge spike in oil. 

Let’s hope this shift to downtown living and use of public transport stays for the long term and creates more livable walkable cities.

The reference SOURCE: Associated Press – Renters go downtown to save on gas, commuting

New plan to give middle class cheap home loans

Kenyans who earn at least Sh40, 000 a month, who are also considered to be the majority of the emerging middle class, could soon have the chance to get a loan to buy a house in a decent part of Nairobi.

The Government has over the decades failed to make good housing plans to cater for the majority of the residents, who are middle and low-income earners but several urban renewal projects underway could help reduce the acute housing shortage in Nairobi.

The shortage has been caused by poor urban planning by both the Government and the City Council, which have neglected to maintain houses and develop new ones.

SOURCE: Business Daily Africa – the international window into East African business opportunities – New plan to give middle class cheap home loans.

The rise of the urban shepherd – Society – The Guardian

It’s not often you go from your day job to turning a sheep over and inspecting its hooves,” says Brigitta Richards. A nursery nurse, Richards is one of a growing number of volunteer shepherds recruited by Brighton and Hove city council as part of an initiative to reintroduce grazing to its urban parks, after an absence of more than 50 years. “It gets me out and about, and you’re doing something to protect and conserve the environment as well.”

SOURCE: The rise of the urban shepherd – Society – The Guardian.

The Landscape Institute and the Trees and Design Action Group

Championing the value of large trees in the urban environment

The environmental, economic and social benefits of trees are well documented. Members of The Landscape Institute routinely work to ensure that trees form an integral part of the urban landscape and public realm. However, the valuable contribution made by large-growing trees in particular is often compromised or precluded by negative perceptions relating to maintenance, nuisance or safety and associated costs.

The Role of the TDAG
The Landscape Institute is a member of the Trees and Design Action Group (TDAG) – a multi-disciplinary group of individual professionals and organisations from both the private and public sectors who have come together under The London Tree and Woodland Framework to collaborate in achieving an increased awareness of the role of trees in the built environment. Its other members include representatives from the GLA, Design for London, Urban Design London, Transport for London, the City of London and other London boroughs, the London Trees and Woodland Framework, the Forestry Commission, Royal Parks, the Tree Council, Trees for Cities, various leading developers, representatives of the insurance and utilities industries and design consultants.

SOURCE: LI – The Landscape Institute and the Trees and Design Action Group.

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