After the athletes have gone and the flame has moved on, the biggest public park in more than a century will emerge from the site of the 2012 Olympics in London.
Its designers hope the 270-acre park (pdf), which will open in 2014, will capture the spirit of the great Victorian parks whose creators hoped to counteract the urban squalor of the industrial revolution.
Source: The Guardian – Olympics will leave east London an open space to rival Hyde Park
The dark side of this surreality is that the places far from these hallowed urban cores are experiencing unprecedented decline and, according to some experts, threaten to become tomorrow’s slums.
We’re not talking about mean inner city streets getting meaner, we’re talking about the pristine, newly built developments of four-bedroom, three-bath dream homes produced in the last housing boom becoming ghettos for the poor and the disenfranchised.
Slumburbia? After decades of middle class flight from the cities in search of safe neighborhoods and good schools — a flight that continues today even from gentrified cities like San Francisco — it’s hard to conjure the image of a truly derelict suburbia. Will all those manicured lawns sprout weeds and broken bottles like a Baltimore back alley? Will drug dealers take over the local cul-de-sac? Will squatters set up camp in the neighbor’s McMansion?
Source: SFgate.com – Is Suburbia Turning Into Slumburbia?.
Urban planning a factor in rising obesity rates, says new report
By Isabela C. Varela, ExpressNews Staff
Kim Raine, director of the University of Alberta’s Centre for Health Promotion Studies
March 13, 2008 – Edmonton – If you and your family are fighting the battle of the bulge, look around you: your environment may be partly to blame. Research led by the University of Alberta and funded by the Canadian Institute for Health Information confirms there are links between our urban surroundings and how likely we are to struggle with overweight or obesity
Source: ExpressNews – University of Alberta – Urban planning a factor in rising obesity rates, says new report –
A temporary but important change will take place in Bat Yam next month. The city’s residents as well as visitors will be given a map by the organizers of this year’s biennale, which identifies 18 new sites that are also called “outdoor rooms.” Each of the sites will house an installation created by landscape architects and artists, which treats the urban landscape as a space for hospitality. The exhibits will be on display for two weeks, in a project by the Bat Yam International Biennale of Landscape Urbanism, which will kick off on April 13. Both local and foreign artists and architects have worked on the installations. The organizers’ aim is to keep at least some of the works, including an urban nature site that will be set up in an open space on Bialik Street, which has been neglected and abandoned.
Source: Haaretz.com Green Cities / Green-thumbed in Bat Yam
Daniel Ben-Ami writes a thought provocating essay on China that debunks some of the generalisations that we have read over the years about China and its disregard for the environment
The possibility that China could become a fully industrialised and urbanised society, with living standards akin to those in the West, has become the ultimate environmentalist nightmare. Whereas China under Mao was sometimes called the ‘red peril’, and before that was sometimes referred to by Western racists as the ‘yellow peril’, contemporary China is often viewed as a ‘green peril’.
Source: spiked – The Chinese: from Yellow Peril to Green Peril? .