The public street space we allow to pedestrians versus cars — genius.

"Pedestrians surrender a lot of public space to cars. It’s something society has accepted, but this clever illustration from Claes Tingvall of the Swedish Road Administration shows how extreme our allocation of public space has become, from the pedestrian’s point of view."

- Greater Greater Washington


Darkened Cities | Thierry Cohen | Via

At first glance, these images seem to be of fantastic nightscapes taken from some of the most celebrated cities in the world. They are that, but much more, both a poetic exploration by Cohen and a message about  these cities and how their  light and atmospheric pollution blocks the view of the skies above. 

For centuries the stars have guided human existence, whether explored through the study of our complex universe, or more artistically in poetry, painting, music and most definitely in photography. The night calls to us and we feel deeply moved by the stars and their trajectory across the sky. Wishes are made on them, sometimes we say our destiny is written in them, songs penned about them, and yes, of course, we dream of catching one or travelling on one. We look to the stars for guidance and inspiration. 

Jaywalking…is an invented crime. It was the product of a massive publicity campaign orchestrated by automobile companies and allied motoring interests in the 1920s. Ostensibly aimed to promote safety, the real purpose of this effort was to push pedestrians off the street so that cars would move faster and be easier to sell.
—  Injustice at the Intersection, by Benjamin Ross | Dissent Magazine, December 18, 2014
Architecture is the expression of every society’s very being. But only the ideal being of society, the one that issues orders and interdictions with authority, is expressed in architectural compositions in the strict sense of the word. Thus great monuments rise up like levees, opposing the logic of majesty and authority to any confusion: Church and State in the form of cathedrals and palaces speak to the multitudes, or silence them. It is obvious that monuments inspire social good behaviour in societies and often even real fear. The storming of the Bastille is symbolic of this state of affairs: it is hard to explain this mass movement other than through the people’s animosity against the monuments that are its real masters.
—  Georges Bataille, ‘Architecture’.

Inflato Dumpster | Department of Urban Betterment | Via

As public space in New York becomes increasingly privatized and commodified, The Inflato Dumpster seeks to counter that tendency by serving as an open, engaging street-level structure that acts as a mobile learning laboratory. For five days this fall, the temporary, dome-like structure will confront the tendency of city space to limit public exchange by serving as a large scale urban intervention in which workshops to create and explore the possibilities for smaller, targeted urban interventions will be produced and deployed from within.

We believe that the architecture of the Inflato Dumpster can act as a networked node of neighborhood information - using screens and sensors to produce constantly updating streams of demographic and subjective information regarding the local site - and then in turn produces a smaller constellation of satellite interventions created by locals and visitors alike. We envision the site as a hub for all, to create a gathering space where programs can be curated to the needs of the community.   

So… let the red light dance!

Crazy Expensive Treehuggers’ Bridge Approved for London

by Lloyd Alter

It really seemed like such good idea at the time. As I wrote last year, the Absolutely Fabulous actor and green activist Joanna Lumley teamed up with the Pretty Terrific architect Thomas Heatherwick to imagine this gorgeous pedestrian bridge across the Thames in London. It seemed like a long shot, but it just got approved by the Westminster Council on the north side of the Thames, and the Lambeth Council on the south. Mayor Boris Johnson is also in the tank for this, so this Treehugging wonder may actually happen…

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image by Thomas Heatherwick @ DesignBoom