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Posts Tagged ‘public space’

FeedToronto: A vision for growing food in public spaces

Posted in Visions by Kate Archdeacon on May 7th, 2012


© Drew Adams, Fadi Masoud, Karen May, Denise Pinto, Jameson Skaife

FEED TORONTO: GROWING THE HYDROFIELDS is a prize-winning design proposal by students in the Masters of Architecture and Masters of Landscape Architecture at the University of Toronto, Canada.

Awards:

  • 2011 Toronto Urban Design Award of Excellence
  • Finalist, ONE PRIZE Mowing to Growing Competition, 2010

Designers: Drew Adams, Fadi Masoud, Karen May, Denise Pinto and Jameson Skaife

“The hydro corridors of Toronto are sprawling lengths of continuous, mostly vacant land. They are unusual terrain: both physically sparse but culturally intense. Stippled with electrical towers, planted in acres of mowed grass, they hold the promise of light, energy, and power. They have immense cultural equity, but with an underwhelming physical existence. Rather than pursuing the transformation of a complex network of privatized lawn landscape to create productive greenspace, this project takes on the proposition of finding the greatest and most immediate place for urban agriculture by using public lands. Growing hydro corridors can be done across North America, as they are a staple of most cities. If made into a standard this practice would not only circumvent the need for the buy-in of countless individual land owners, it would also also align the ground of the site with its significance as a place of energy production—this time through food. FeedToronto is proposed as a force of fiscal, ecological and social productivity. It re-imagines over 6,000 acres of mowed lawn as an abundant urban green that generates affordable, nutritious, local food.” From the submission

Read about the project and see more images on the Adams-Masoud site:

http://www.adams-masoud.com/index.php?/projects/feed-toronto-growing-the-hydro-fields/


Traffic Roundabout: Award-Winning Civic Space

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on February 1st, 2012

Source: City Parks Blog

Photo: Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects

From “A Design that Celebrates the People”: Normal, IL Traffic Circle Wins Smart Growth Award as New Civic Space” by Colleen Gentles:

[In December last year], EPA announced the winners of the 2011 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement. We are excited to report that Normal, Illinois is the recipient of the award in the Civic Places category for their traffic roundabout.

We’ve written before about how the town’s new traffic circle has successfully managed traffic flow at a busy five-way intersection, diverted thousands of gallons of untreated stormwater away from the nearby creek, and become the town center by bringing residents together in an attractive public space. The more recent news is how the traffic roundabout is spurring local economic development with the construction of a multimodal transportation station adjacent to the circle, courtesy of a U.S. Department of Transportation grant. Both the transportation hub, which will eventually have high-speed rail service and create an estimated 400-500 new jobs, and the circle take advantage of the town’s existing infrastructure, bus service, and the historic central business district to attract even more residents to the new town center.

“The one-third-acre roundabout does much more than move cars. It invites pedestrians with shade trees, benches, lighting, bike parking, green space, and a water feature. People have lunch, read, and play music, and the open space invites community gatherings such as a holiday caroling event. It is the anchor for a community-wide revitalization and is part of Uptown Normal’s LEED-ND Silver recognition.

A popular rails-to-trails conversion, the Constitution Trail, leads to and around the roundabout, helping both to revitalize Normal and to bring people from surrounding areas to Normal’s central district. A new Children’s Discovery Museum on the edge of the roundabout already receives over 140,000 visitors per year, and a hotel and conference enter have recently opened nearby. One indication of the success of the redevelopment is that property values in the district have increased by about 30 percent since 2004.” Smart Growth Awards

According to the short video, this traffic circle was almost banned to pedestrians. It’s a good thing town officials fought back. [Watching the video, it looks like there are weekly farmers markets held on the roundabout too.  KA]

Read more about the project here, as well as the other winners from the 2011 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement.

The roundabout was designed by Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects.  Check out their site for more photos and project details.

Photo: Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects


Human Microphones: Mass Word of Mouth

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on October 19th, 2011

Via No Tech Magazine


Photo by Mat McDermott via flickr CC

From We Are All Human Microphones Now by Richard Kim:

Anyone who’s been down to Occupy Wall Street and stayed for a General Assembly will instantly recognize the call and response that begins, and frequently interrupts, each meeting.

“Mic check?” someone implores.

“MIC CHECK!” the crowd shouts back, more or less in unison.

The thing is—there’s no microphone. New York City requires a permit for “amplified sound” in public, something that the pointedly unpermitted Occupy Wall Street lacks. This means that microphones and speakers are banned from Liberty Plaza, and the NYPD has also been interpreting the law to include battery-powered bullhorns. Violators can be sentenced for up to thirty days in prison. Further complicating the matter is the fact that Liberty Plaza is not actually a public park. It’s privately owned by Brookfield Office Properties, landlords to Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, and in addition to amplified sound, they’ve also sought to ban sleeping bags, tents and other equipment from what they call “Zuccotti Park.”

So despite all the attention given to how Twitter, Facebook and livestream video have helped spread the word, the heart of the occupation is most definitely unplugged. But the protesters aren’t deterred one bit; they’ve adopted an ingeniously simple people-powered method of sound amplification.

After the mic check, the meeting proceeds:

with every few words?/?WITH EVERY FEW WORDS!

repeated and amplified out loud?/?REPEATED AND AMPLIFIED OUT LOUD!

by what has been dubbed?/?BY WHAT HAS BEEN DUBBED!

the human microphone?/?THE HUMAN MICROPHONE!!! (jazz hands here).

The overall effect can be hypnotic, comic or exhilarating—often all at once. As with every media technology, to some degree the medium is the message. It’s hard to be a downer over the human mic when your words are enthusiastically shouted back at you by hundreds of fellow occupiers, so speakers are usually pretty upbeat (or at least sound that way). Likewise, the human mic is not so good for getting across complex points about, say, how the Federal Reserve’s practice of quantitative easing is inadequate to address the current shortage of global aggregate demand (although Joe Stiglitz valiantly tried on Sunday), so speakers tend to express their ideas in straightforward narrative or moral language. […]

Read the full article by Richard Kim.  Check out Occupy Melbourne.


Edges and Social Spaces: City Design

Posted in Models, Opinion by Kate Archdeacon on September 28th, 2011

Source: Sustainable Cities Collective


Photo by Chuck Wolfe

From “Confronting the Urban Mirror” by Chuck Wolfe:

To my mind, one of the most compelling features of a provocative urban environment is a place where people watch people—which becomes a small-scale human observatory. Such places are often indicative of safe public environments, including active streets, corners and squares. They are particularly prevalent in cultures where neighbors readily interact, and the seams between public and private are softer than zoning setbacks, while still allowing for a private world.

[…]

The sustainable cities we seek should include small places, where, as here, when the bustle of life begins in the morning and evening, people interact with facets of the city around them. I suspect that workable density, in the city of the future, will abound with the types of spaces readily ascertainable from cities of the past. We need places where we sit on the edges of the public realm and look in the mirror, to be reminded of who we really are.

Read the full article and check out the delightful photos by Chuck Wolfe on Sustainable Cities Collective.