Catherine Seavitt Nordenson says environmentally friendly ‘soft infrastructure’ mitigates flood damage without sending harm elsewhere. The flooding caused by Superstorm Sandy prompted calls from New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other officials to consider building storm surge barriers to protect Lower Manhattan from future catastrophes. But, such a strategy could make things even worse for outlying areas that were hit hard by the hurricane, City College of New York Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture Catherine Seavitt Nordenson warns.
In Venezuela 93% of the population live in cities, half of which inhabit urban slums. Upgrading initiatives to date have tended to focus on housing solutions to improve living conditions. However, graver issues affect the livelihood of slum dwellers on a daily basis. Alarmingly high homicide rates, frequent adolescent pregnancies and very high school dropout rates compromise every slum dweller´s quality of life and condemn them to a perpetual cycle of poverty. Health issues and low self dignity associated with living in severely degraded environmental conditions also diminish their livelihood. Improving the situation, therefore, goes beyond supplying mortar and brick to build better houses; it requires a holistic approach that seriously considers social and environmental deficiencies.
SWA Group recently won an invited design competition for Suzhou Center, a 26.5-hectare site located in Suzhou’s still-developing Central Business District, with office, hotel, residential buildings, retail corridors, transit, roof gardens, canals and waterfront parks adjacent to historic Jinji Lake. The landmark Suzhou Center design, which is planned to break ground in April 2012, creates a signature city-center of urban offerings, greenspace and lakefront amenities along an approximately 2-km visual corridor reminiscent of the Washington Mall, Champs Elysees in Paris and other grand urban spines. A striking 88-story arched Gateway Tower, now under construction toward completion in late 2012, anchors the Suzhou Center development. Its arch shape encases the visual corridor connecting Old Town and the city’s other urban center, Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) Central Business District.
KCAP Architects & Planners presented their vision for NEO Brussels, the redevelopment of the Heysel plateau, to the political arena, the press and the public. The team, KCAP working together with advisors Arup and Fakton, won the international design competition in September 2010. The area is one of the most strategic locations in the Brussels Metropole Region. The design for NEO Brussels aims to strengthen the significance of the Heysel, and to qualify it within a framework for sustainable development.
Marking 10 years since the Eden Project opened in a disused quarry they are looking to setup more projects in other places around the world. Tim Smit said they are currently talking to various places in China about creating an Edn Project it could start in 18 months. They are also looking at an interactive project in Singapore where people have to make decisions about Singapores ecology and habitat.