June 12, 2009

Would a car-free suburb foster carefree living? This week's picks from around the Web look at a planned community in California that aims to ditch driving, a skate park in Uganda, a backwoods office outside Madrid, and more...

woods office

Aaron: SelgasCano's Woodsy Workspace

I've often dreamt of working in the woods, not as a logger or forest ranger, as a magazine editor who just happens to hike to his work. Imagine my delight when I came across a new office the Spanish architecture firm SelgasCano's designed for itself in the woods just outside Madrid. Owners of perhaps the coolest work environment I've seen all year (and also the most maddening useless website selgascano.com), SelgasCano now look out the window directly into a grove of trees. I don't complain about the view out my own window (the TransAmerica Pyramid) but SelgasCano must be in heaven. (via Dezeen)

Miyoko: Planning a Car-Free Suburb

We've been busy talking about what constitutes the "new American home" and what the future holds for us and the ways we live. So it was especially poignant to read an update about the car-free suburb planned in the East Bay in this week's San Francisco Chronicle. The Vauban car-less suburb in Freiburg, Germany has proven successful since it was completed in 2006, giving hopes that the 1,000-unit Quarry Village development might be able to do the same here in the United States if it becomes a reality.

Jordan: Elsa + Sam

I adore dishware. If you too get a thrill from checking out hand-crafted ceramics and gazing longingly at glassware, take a quick click over to Elsa + Sam. The Portland-based boutique sources some seriously fantastic stuff, and their online shop offers a huge range of, well, pretty much anything you could ever want: bowls, cups, plates, vases and more. The shop just celebrated their one year anniversary and started a blog, so you can keep up to date with the latest tableware.

skater

Kathryn: Kitintale Skate Park

I've been working on a personal project for a while now, which currently involves researching photography in Northern Africa. One night this week I stumbled into Yann Gross's beautiful shots from Kitintale, Uganda, where the kids have crafted the first (and only?) skatepark in East Africa. As Yann's writeup says: "With no assistance from government or large NGO’s, kids from Uganda took significant steps to overcome boredom and poverty through skateboarding. Built from the bottom up, the grassroots construction of the first skatepark engenders a sense of pride and empowerment in the community of Kitintale...By learning how to skate, the kids developed a sense of belonging to a community and realized a dream. Skateboarding keeps the youth busy and combats the developement of negative habits."

The kids' ingenuity is inspiring, and Yann's photography is exquisite. Don't miss the rest of his gorgeous portfolio!

(And for sk8rs a little closer to home, check out our piece on Anthony Bracali's Philly skate spot, Love Park.)

Images: Dezeen, Elsa + Sam, Yann Gross

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