urban planning & design


Tianjin Binhai Library by MVRDV + Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute

MVRDV in collaboration with local architects TUPDI has completed the Tianjin Binhai Library, a 33,700m2 cultural centre featuring a luminous spherical auditorium around which floor-to-ceiling bookcases cascade. The undulating bookshelf is the building’s main spatial device, and is used both to frame the space and to create stairs, seating, the layered ceiling and even louvres on the façade. Tianjin Binhai Library was designed and built in a record-breaking time of only three years due to a tight schedule imposed by the local municipality. Next to many media rooms it offers space for 1,2 million books.

City Solarpunk vs. Country Solarpunk

So lately it occurred to me that it seems like you could split people’s ideas about Solarpunk into two categories: “City” Solarpunk and "Country” Solarpunk.

 “City” Solarpunk:

 Tends to focus more on the idea of cities as humanity’s future, and how to improve them to that end. Better urban design/planning, apartment living, walkability, better streets, better communities, etc. Want to make cities “greener” in both tech and look.

"Country” Solarpunk:

 More of a focus on the idea of Earthships and the Homestead, as well as a preference for smaller communities closer to nature. Preference for self-sufficiency for the household and the community. 

Both of these outlooks are perfectly valid! (Though I’m partial to City Solarpunk myself) In my opinion, any realistic future is going to include a little of both. This is also very much based on my own observations and ideas, so take this with a grain of salt. I just find the differences in what people think about when they think of Solarpunk very interesting. 

Capybaras grazing in Barigui Park, Curitiba


Both of these films look at the influential regeneration of Brazil’s Southern Capital, where mayor Jamie Lerner led major changes to waste management, transport, and green infrastructure. His interventions were an attempt to increase civic pride and quality of life, but also a decisive move against the top-down, car-oriented approaches to planning popularized by Brasila. The charismatic Lerner is well known for prioritizing sustainable modes of transport over private vehicles, at a time (the 1970′s) when doing so was a particularly controversial strategy. He is also an advocate for a proactive, organic, and low-budget approach to regeneration - “Many cities end up putting off things because they want to understand everything. They don’t understand that innovating is about starting. Taking care of a city is a process that you start, and then give the population space to respond. (Image:Wikipedia)

The question of what kind of city we want cannot be divorced from that of what kind of social ties, relationship to nature, lifestyles, technologies and aesthetic values we desire. The right to the city is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city. It is, moreover, a common rather than an individual right since this transformation inevitably depends upon the exercise of a collective power to reshape the processes of urbanization. The freedom to make and remake our cities and ourselves is, I want to argue, one of the most precious yet most neglected of our human rights.
—  David Harvey, The Right to the City

I came up with an idea for a stylized fantasy dancing rhythm rpg. A bit crazy but whatever, I’m into it. This squid maiden would help you on your journey through the game, teaching you special ritual dances and probably have a story arc about needing to discover an ancient ritual dance to save her beach shrine. She’s pretty rad though.

The 51st State

The relief traffic map above indicates approximate average density of traffic on the interstate highway system - a dense linear territory between city, state, and countryside. 

“Fed by the prosperity of the last decade, the 46,567-mile network of limited-access roads that make up the Interstate System is a linear economy-on-wheels, a distinct and self-sustaining 51st state, in a sense, that generates life and commerce …”

Peter T. Kilborn
The New York Times
July 14, 2001

The system is the destination.

First life, then spaces, then buildings. The other way around never works.

Jan Gehl


This film looks at humanistic urban design through a very specific lens - the work and ideology of Danish practice Gehl Architects. There are many other designers working with similar agendas, and this may not offer them a lot of new insights. However, it does provide an interesting look at the responses of different cities to a variety of planning challenges. The above quote reflects the film’s essential message, which may be familiar, but still cannot be stated often enough.

What up, disabled tumblr! My dream in life is to create tiny-house style, sustainable, and accessible housing and space, specifically in cities. If you have the time and energy to do so, I would LOVE it if some of you would message me about what you find lacking in the tiny house community, things you’d like to see to make spaces accessible, etc. And of course, if there is some huge textpost or something that goes into all this already, please point me in that direction! Thanks so much in advance!

Mental-health issues can’t be solved by psychologists alone—city design can help, too

The world’s cities aren’t very mentally healthy.

People who reside in cities are more likely to develop depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia than those living in the countryside. No matter where you live, at least one in four people will have a mental illness in their lifetime, and everyone suffers from mental-health problems such as low mood, loneliness, stress, and anxiety at some time or another. These kinds of problems can affect everything from our relationships and housing to our social capital and resilience.

But mental health is not just an individual issue: It affects the whole city. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), economic costs associated with mental illness amount to 4% of national GDP. Mental illness increases a city’s costs of health and social care and puts people at higher risk of physical-health problems. There are also indirect costs to the city: People with mental-health problems can become disadvantaged in education and employment, and their opportunities for economic and social participation may begin to decline.

In these ways, mental-health problems affect a city’s ability to remain thriving, resilient, and sustainable. But while many of the more physical aspects of health have been addressed using urban design—for example, some cities have created walking and biking infrastructure that encourages physical fitness to reduce obesity, while others have separated pedestrians from motor-vehicle emissions to reduce urban air pollution and prevent respiratory diseases—most cities have not taken the same intentional approach with their citizens’ mental health.

The solution for mentally healthy cities

But urban planners can design the urban environment in ways that systematically address mental-health opportunities. For example:

  • Expanding access to green spaces—such as parks, street trees, or even office-window views of nature—has been proven to benefit mental health.
  • “Active design” is not simply a physical health effort: Because regular exercise can be an effective way to address some forms of mild depression (as well as reducing anxiety and some of the symptoms of dementia, ADHD, and even schizophrenia), interventions like creating walking circuits in a park or installing safe cycling infrastructure can have substantial mental-health benefits.
  • Positive social interaction increases self esteem and feelings of belonging as well as mitigating loneliness and anxiety. In order to encourage this, public spaces can install features like benches and chess tables to facilitate social interaction and provide settings for community activities.

When people are experiencing mental-health problems, individual and group interventions by mental health professionals are essential. But when it comes to promoting good mental health and preventing disorders, there are myriad untapped opportunities. When we shift the scale of innovation from the individual to the city, we can create long-lasting solutions that make our cities more enjoyable—and mentally healthy—for all.

The city is a conscious work of art, and it holds within its communal framework many simpler and more personal forms of art. Mind takes form in the city; and in turn, urban forms condition mind.

Lewis Mumford

THE CITY (1939)

Influential documentary condemning the de-humanising urbanity of the industrial revolution, and proposing the establishment of “green cities”, designed to achieve a greater balance between living, working, and nature. Despite some later misinterpretation, it advocates a mixed-use Garden City model, and not a car-based suburb.

cullenski  asked:

Hey, could I get a post about cool libraries please? I sorta have a thing for them

Check out the many previous posts about libraries! Including these feature posts:

Here are some recent library projects:

Musashino Art University Museum & Library Sou Fujimoto

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