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Latest Articles in Urban Planning

Picnurbia pop-up park Vancouver Art Gallery

Pop-up Parks

Eager for public space, communities re-create their streets as temporary cafes, playgrounds, and bike lanes.
May 18, 2012
Urban park plan illustration by Röllerhaus Pictureworks & Design Co.

Seattle's Next-Wave Design Firm?

A year and a half ago, while on sabbatical from Olson Kundig Architects, Kevin Scott conceived of Röllerhaus Pictureworks & Design Co. A mix of design firm, artist/designer collective, and advanced illustration company, Rollerhaüs is trying to blaze a new trail for what a design firm can be. "The practice type I’m trying to create doesn’t exist so I don’t have any sort of model I can work from," says Scott. "What I’m trying to do is blend a kind of idea-based practice, as embodied by an IDEO, with the artistry and communication of a visual effects firm (like Industrial Light & Magic) that operates primarily in architecture and urbanism." Curious to learn more about Scott's work and vision, I asked him a handful of questions—about his eclectic background, his favorite rendering tools, and Seattle's design scene.
May 7, 2012
Urban writer and author Jane Jacobs

Jane Jacobs Video

I was so pleased to come across this video recently on the website Grist—a nearly ten-minute film about creating healthy neighborhoods, narrated by the late, great urban writer and activist Jane Jacobs and produced by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. I've read Jacobs before (she is best known for her classic tome The Death and Life of Great American Cities) but I've never heard her speak. Here, in her later years, she endearingly discusses the impact on automobiles on neighborhoods and our health; how to create dignified places where people will be proud to live (and how to do it affordably); and why cities should provide places for skateboarders "to do their weird skateboarding thing."
April 30, 2012
KAC SporanoMooney sky

Kimball Art Center Finalists

Last week I was in Park City, Utah, home of the Kimball Art Center. Founded in 1976, and housed in what was once the Kimball Bros. auto garage, the Kimball is a living museum offering the people of this sleepy ski town (unless you show up for the Sundance Film Festival) gallery space, classes, education, and community engagement. And it's about to nearly triple in size thanks to its Transformation Project. Five architecture firms out of a shortlist of some 200 have been selected by the Kimball to design the extension it hopes to open by 2015. Check out the slideshow to see which designs have made the cut and to learn more about how this particular architecture competition works.
January 25, 2012
ff aaron 010612

Friday Finds 01.06.12

We're back this New Year with the first Friday Finds of 2012. Scroll down to find out more on New York's lost subway stations, Dutch designer Thomas Eyck, an art installation made up of thousands of stickers, and a clip from one of our favorite IFC shows.
January 6, 2012
Ganzenhoef1 path in Geldershoofd, Amsterdam

Walk This Way

No path? No problem. The desire lines in this Dutch photo essay prove that people are quite comfortable going their own way.
November 14, 2011
Touring Basel Switzerland part 2

Touring Basel, Switzerland, Part 2

Last month I traveled to Basel, Switzerland, a European city first founded during the Roman Empire and still boasting beautiful buildings constructed more than 1,000 years agos. In Touring Basel, Switzerland, Part 1, I explored the city's historic downtown, which is a mix of neo-Gothic cathedrals, knit graffiti, ancient bridges, and Richard Serra sculptures. In Part 2, we share the fun to be had in and around the Rhine and travel outside the city to the Vitra campus and the Laufen bathrooms factory.
October 12, 2011
Touring Basel Switzerland part 1

Touring Basel, Switzerland, Part 1

At the end of September, I hopped across the pond to visit Basel, Switzerland, and the nearby Laufen bathrooms factory and showroom. Basel is bisected by the Rhine and sits just south of the intersection of Switzerland, France, and Germany. In the ancient city, first settled during the days of the Roman Empire, you find a mix of soaring neo-Gothic cathedrals, Serra sculptures, knit graffiti, and more.
October 10, 2011
Amirah Shahid biking Cycle China

Cycle China: Week 5

In this special five-part series, we're riding along with SWA Group landscape designer Amirah Shahid as she cycles nearly 800 miles from Beijing to Shanghai (find the previous posts here). Join us as she tells about her journey and files exclusive photos from the road in an attempt to better understand China's urban and rural biking culture. Week Five: Back in the USA...   After three weeks of cycling from Beijing to Shanghai, landscape designer Amirah Shahid is back on U.S. soil. She traveled on dirt roads and newly paved national highways, around cows and drying bark on the road, on a ferry to cross the Yangtze River, and more. We caught up with Shahid over a cup of coffee, her first in weeks, to recount the 800-mile journey.
October 5, 2011
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