Two in three men and three in four women in England don’t get enough exercise, but the good news is that the answer lies on our doorstep. CABE has long argued that the design of your neighbourhood really does influence whether you’re fit in the long term or whether you’re going to gradually just put on weight.
That’s because it’s regular exercise which takes and keeps the pounds off – but you are only likely to take that exercise if local streets and open spaces are inviting.
The case for investing in decent design for streets and open spaces is getting stronger by the day. This week saw the publication of both new government strategy and independent public health guidance into how active lifestyles can be designed into streets, towns, and cities.
Read more @ CABE ‘Design steps up in the fight against obesity’
A showcase for experimental gardens by top landscape designers, Cornerstone is the first outdoor gallery of its kind in the US. Visitors looking for neatly planted rows and ornamental cherubs will be disappointed. Cornerstone is highly irreverent and playful, from American landscape designer Ken Smith’s “Daisy Border” – a display of candy-coloured plastic pin-wheels that both mocks and pays homage to the classic floral border – to Mexican architect Mario Schjetnan’s “A Small Tribute to Immigrant Workers”. With its regimented boxes of vegetables and rusty metal walls, Schjetnan’s garden delivers a strong political message about the plight of immigrant workers in California. Even the upcoming installation of a 1,000 ft-long fence around the perimeter of the site is expected to defy conventions. “It’s a white picket fence with a twist,” says David Aquilina, general manager.
Read more @ FT.com – Outlandish landscapes by Chloe Veltman
If art school was in our future we might opt to study under, or on top of, the amazing green roof at the School of Art, Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. This 5 story facility sweeps a wooded corner of the campus with an organic, vegetated form that blends landscape and structure, nature and high-tech and symbolizes the creativity it houses.
Read and See more @ Inhabitat » Amazing Green Roof Art School in Singapore.
Over the last two decades China has become known as the factory of the world; “Made in China” has often come to symbolize cheapness, sub-standard quality and lack of originality. More recently however, thanks to a booming economy, political deregulation and social development, China has witnessed the gradual evolution of a free-thinking generation of creative individuals who have broken free from the system to express themselves in profound and innovative ways.
As part of this movement, growing numbers of Chinese architects, emboldened by the general fervor currently gripping China’s artistic community, are designing buildings which are slowly but surely imprinting a new identity on the Chinese built landscape.
At the forefront of this architectural revolution have been Ma Yansong, a young US-educated Chinese architect, and his Beijing-based architectural agency MAD, founded in 2002. MAD took the international architectural scene by storm in 2006, as the first Chinese studio ever to win an design competition outside China. The “Absolute Tower” in Toronto, Canada, is scheduled for completion in 2009.
Read more @ Trend: Creativity Made in China – MAD Architects | CScout TrendBlog.
Agriculture is traditionally associated with the purposeful production of food and fibre commodities in rural areas. Agriculture in the 21st century, however, is actually much broader than this — it also includes such diverse items as environmental horticulture, planning the use of green space, control of insect and rodent pests, wildlife management, and even food production by city dwellers. Urban agriculture is a broad term to describe agricultural activities and livelihoods in an urban setting. It means more than maintaining farms or gardens in an urban environment. It also includes livestock raising, water management and organic waste management. After all, it includes small- and large-scale activities in horticulture, livestock, fodder and milk production, aquaculture, and forestry — where several activities may be carried out within one enterprise.
Read more @ The Daily Star ‘An alternative way of livelihood and environmental protection’ – by Masud Parves Rana.
When is a public square not a public square? When it’s designed and built in Los Angeles, circa 2008. Our city–which has lacked plazas and other open-air gathering spots for so long–is now building them in a number of high-profile locations. Yet none of these spaces is fully civic in the traditional City Beautiful sense. Each one is shaped, controlled or compromised by private, commercial or other interests. Arguably, of course, that makes them right at home in Los Angeles, the most private metropolis ever devised.
Next month, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art will unveil the much anticipated first phase of its expansion, designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano. He is probably best known for the Pompidou Center in Paris, which opens onto a square that, despite its popularity with mimes, ranks as one of the world’s great public gathering places.
Read more @ L.A. Squared – Los Angeles Times – Christopher Hawthorne
In the early days of modern architecture, its alien forms were sold to the public using science. Architect Richard Neutra’s “Health House” – designed and built between 1927-29 for physician Philip Lovell in the Griffith Park neighbourhood of Los Angeles – was featured in newspapers and magazines all over the world.
Mr. Neutra’s four-storey, steel-framed and stucco-clad house was graceful in the way it clung to its hillside site. But far outweighing any discussion of architectural merit were reports of its fresh-air sleeping porches, large areas of glass (to allow life-giving sunlight to penetrate), exercise and sports areas and the water-purification and juicing facilities in the kitchen.
Even before that, in 1923, architect Le Corbusier wrote: “A house is a machine for living in.”
Read more @ globeandmail.com: In architecture, as elsewhere, sex sells.