Speck: Cars are a greater risk than crime to pedestrians

Jeff Speck of Speck Associates recently gave a presentation at the University Park Alliance as apart of the Urban Innovators Speakers series. Speck  stated that “Most American cities have been shaped around the automobile” and “Cars are a greater risk than crime” to pedestrians. He also spoke about the need to create thriving cities and that cities need to be designed for people.

Read more at [Ohio.com]

The Advantages of High Density

High Density cities have there advantages include convenience, access to transport, reduction in services & infrastructure. Prathima Manohar has outlined more advantages & challenges in a recent post – The Advantages of High Density at Urban Vision

Toronto: Can it break free from the Sprawl

Christopher Hume, Architecture Critic for Toronto Star writes in Hume: Resisting the Call of Sprawl

Though suburbia has failed to live up to the promise, its appeal isn’t hard to understand. The damage inflicted on cities during the last 50 or 60 years went a long way to make them unlivable. Even now, the suburbanization of Toronto continues.

Hume looks at various players and how they are enabling each others behaviour.

Read more at [thestar.com]

Land News 15 Nov 2010

Can We Ditch Our Cars and Embrace High-Speed Rail? – [LAist.com]
LAist blog looks at the work of Roger Sherman co-director cityLAB in relation to High Speed Rail (HSR) and the planned billions to be spent across on HSR across USA.

Downsizing the American Dream: The shrinking house [USAToday]
A look at how the size of the median USA home has dropped in 200 square feet since 2007

Look to Vancouver, town planners told [ABC Online]
Comments from John Norquist from the Congress for the New Urbanism at the City of the Future: Australian & US Perspectives conference currently being  held in Brisbane.

London’s Cultural Strategy: We must continue to invest in creativity [Mayor of London]
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London) at the launch of his Cultural Strategy which will be published after public comment.

Public gets a say on Peavey Plaza – [Star Tribune]
Landscape architect candidates seeking to be lead designer for the renovation of Peavey Plaza ( will be interviewed on Tuesday. The renovation is expected to cost $5-6million USD. Originally constructed in 1975 and designed by M. Paul Friedberg has numerous maintenance issues over the years. The renovation of the plaza as Minnesota Orchestra prepares for $45 million hall renovation and expansion in 2012.

Designs for Santa Monica Parks Discussed at Joint Meeting – [The LookOut News]
Landscape architect James Corner and members of his New York-based design team unveiled the latest version of their plan for a pair of adjacent parks to members of Santa Monica’s community on Saturday.
[We will try and get images and post them on World Landscape Architect]

National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) in Uganda gives away part of city wetland – [New Vision]
NEMA has given National Housing and Corporation housing estate part of Bugolobi wetland situated between Kampala city and Lake Victoria . The Bugolobi wetland cleanses water that runs into Lake Victoria, one of Africa’s Great Lakes.

Henn Architekten to design Wenzhou’s CBD – [Bustler]
Henn Architekten was last week awarded 1st prize in an international design competition to design an area of Wenzhou CBD.Wenzhou, a city of 1.4 million people (urban population) situated on the East Coast of China. The 5 towers of  400,000m2 mixed use space was designed based upon the Wenzhou river delta where the Oujiang river flows into the East China Sea.

LAP students create vision for future of downtown Muncie [BSUDailyNews.com]

Ball State’s College of Architecture and Planning, 40 fifth-year students, led by landscape architecture professors German Cruz, Malcolm Cairns and Simon Bussiere, participated in the renovation design of Main Street between Madison and Walnut streets.
[We will try and get images and post them on World Landscape Architect]

Second Rate Urbanism – [landscape+urbanism]

Jason King takes a second look at Duany’s comments in the The Man who Reinvented the City

Prunings LXI – [Pruned]
Looking at Global Distribution of Aerosols

Infrastructure Gives Societies the Ability to Connect [Triple Pundit]
FedEX take on Infrastructure=Access

‘Art, Architecture, Scandal and Class in America’s Gilded Age’ review: Firm remade the urban landscape [NJ.com]
Book Review by Kathleen Daley of ‘Triumvirate: McKim, Mead and White: Art, Architecture, Scandal and Class in America’s Gilded Age’ by Mosette Broderick  (Pubished 26 October 2010)

Spotlight on trams: Helsinki [Guardian]

George W. Bush Presidential Center begins construction – [SMU Daily Campus]

TD Bank a step back for urbanism at RI Ave [Greater Greater Washington]

We are always on the lookout for more links and information for readers – email them to damian@landreader.com

For more Links from Todays news

Continue reading Land News 15 Nov 2010

Lansdowne Park Design Competition entries revealed

*UPDATE*
Seems who ever wins of June 4 when the winner of the Lansdowne Park Competition will have to deal with a large amount of consultation with stakeholders and be ready to compromise on parts of there design as Parks Canada and Ontario Heritage Trust raise concerns about some of the design – Read more at the
Ottawa Citizen – Lansdowne makeover hits new snags

Recently the City of Ottawa revealed the five designs submitted by design firms for the redevelopment of the Lansdowne Park area. The designs where labeled as anonymous entrants (although if you have seen prior work of the entrants you can guess who’s design is who’s). The entrants included the following design firms:

  • Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates
  • Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg
  • SWA Group
  • West 8
  • Williams, Asselin, Ackaoui & Associates

What is encouraging is that 5 firms developed differing designs and approaches to the space, often competitions can fall flat as the designs can mimic each other. This also shows that the competition brief was not too restrictive in its design constraints on entrants. The entries all offer different approaches but it is great to see entrants have given thought to the integration of  storm water, heritage, planting, public art with some being more resolved and effective than others.

The design presentations are all of good quality and show that as landscape architects we can produce amazingly presented design work. However, some of the presentation graphics where more polished than others; this may have to do with the size of the firm or there international resources and will be seen if this made a difference when the design firms for each entry are revealed.

The design entries are interesting with many different approaches to spatial arrangement, program & function, circulation, aesthetics, seasons, public art, water, budgets. However, I feel that the all the designs have the same issues which is true of much of current landscape architecture. These issues are compartmentalization, under programming (lack of cross programming) and international design style.

Compartmentalization and under programming are interlinked in that when designing we draw a bubble around an area and state this shall be X and this is Y. Programming should be cross programmed and programs should be allowed to extend beyond the boundaries of an area to create a more dynamic design. Some of the greatest cities and designs in the world are when two uses and/or programs intermingle to create an interesting and energetic place.

International design style which has in recent years grown more pronounced as the globalisation of landscape architecture services takes place. In some ways international design can be beneficial as firms can offer a unique perspective on the area and use their experience of other cultures and designs. However, often the culture of the place can be lost or represented with the token piece of public art or a local sport placed in the design. The design entries presentations sometimes fell into this ‘international design style’ in which the design could have been anywhere in the world or northern hemisphere. How we improve on this is yet to be determined and will be one of the many issues that as landscape architects we face as we design landscapes across the globe.

I also found it interesting that only one of the design entries featured French text for a design competition held for a site in the capital of an officially bilingual country. Maybe it wasn’t a request of the brief; however I find it interesting to see what language was used when presenting a design in a different country and culture from the design firms.

Overall to decide on a winner will be hard and will require deliberation, resident feedback and evaluation of budgets. I hope that the winning design is implemented in its entirety over a well staged implementation. Congratulations to all the teams for producing amazing presentations that shows that landscape architects can produce high-quality world class designs.

Below are the plans and one image from each design. If you would like to see all the designs and presentations go to the City of Ottawa – Lansdowne Park.

IMAGE SOURCE: City of Ottawa

IMAGE CREDITS: All images are copyright of the entrants – currently anonymous

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